by Jeff Skinner
Last year there was an extra special story on the PGA Tour. It was a story of inspiration and courage. The story of D.J. Gregory and his year on the PGA Tour was as unlikely an adventure as anyone could imagine with a hero that was just as unlikely. D.J. had the idea that he wanted to walk every hole of every round of every PGA tournament for the entire year. A regular PGA Pro plays in 20-25 tournaments. Gregory wanted to walk them all. It was estimated that it would probably be around an eight hundred mile walk if he did it. This would be a task for anyone, no player, caddie or official ever walked so much, or would they want to. He was determined. He would do it no matter what. He saw no problem with the idea. It didn’t matter to him that he was born with Cerebral Palsy. It didn’t matter that he needed a cane to walk or that he often fell on uneven footing. He always picked himself up, he always kept going. He saw no obstacles. He would walk the tour.
He worked with the PGA Tour and some sponsors and through their efforts was able to get to every tour stop. The PGA Tour had a player ready each week for D.J. to follow and he made some great friends with the players and tour personnel. The players were impressed and inspired by D.J. and his positive attitude and determination. D.J. had an unforgettable adventure and he touched the hearts of the players and thousands of golf fans everywhere.
D.J. has put his season’s adventures into a book. He kept a blog on PGA Tour.Com and recorded his weekly journey. He walked over 900 miles in 44 tournaments, fell 29 times and traveled over 80,000 miles. His book “Walking with Friends: An Inspirational Year on the PGA Tour” will be available this week. Here is a brief excerpt:
Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Could I really be this lucky? Not only do I have the love and support of a great family; I am an entrepreneur who has experienced the thrills and perils of being self-employed and I’m in great health. I am eternally grateful for all those things. But that’s not why I feel so privileged; that’s not why, over the course of one extraordinary year, I woke up every morning laughing and shaking my head, knowing that I had to be the luckiest man alive. During an eleven-month stretch, beginning the first full week of January and going through the second week of November, I lived out a dream that would turn every die-hard sports fan green with envy. Even when my year was all but over, I would look at myself in the mirror and ask: Is this really happening? Am I really doing this?
The “this” was travel with the PGA Tour, not just to an event or two, but to all of them. From the first event of the year on the island of Maui through the season-ending tournament at Disney World, I lived out a sports fantasy unlike any other. Every week of the PGA Tour, I traveled to a golf tournament where I walked every round with the greatest golfers in the world, many of whom I am fortunate enough to call my friends.
D.J. Gregory and his season on the PGA Tour was something special. I can’t wait to read the book; all of the adventures and none of the blisters.