When you hear the name of golf pro Harry Higgs, your first reaction is probably Harry Higwhoda, reminiscent of Danny Kaye’s Griwhoda declaration in a movie of yesteryear (yes, I’m so old I remember well my pet dinosaur Rex!). But Harry surprisingly has quite a following, and he’s ranked eighth in the race to the FedEx Cup. His story is one worth taking a closer look at.
First, let me say that Higgs is no DeChambeau or DJ. His idea of working out is probably lifting a beer mug a few dozen times on an average weekend evening. And Harry could easily be confused with PGA journeyman Tim “Lumpy” Herron, the Minnesotan whose last visit to a gym was when he mistakenly entered one in Bemidji and asked what kind of jimmies they served with their ice cream sundaes.
No, Harry is no Charles Atlas, but this boy can play this daunting game. I’d name him the recipient of the Mindless Golfer of the Year award (with DJ polling a close second), and I say that in a most complimentary way. For when he addresses a golf ball, he’s done all his calculating and clears his mind to a refreshing zilch, zip, zero, nada, satori. He is one with the ball, a regular Zen phenom. And if the result fails to meet his approval, he might scuff his hooves in the dirt for a moment of two, but, like Buddha under the Bo Tree, a smile quickly replaces any discontent.
Higgs is 28, 6 ft, 2 in, 238 pounder, born in rough and tumble Camden, New Jersey. Harry grew up in Kansas City where he played high school golf, then college golf at SMU, where his teammate was Bryson DeChambeau, before making his way to the Korn Ferry Tour. He won on that Tour in 2019, and was Rookie of the Year there, thus earning his PGA Tour card. And he’s done well so far, as his FedEx Cup standing shows. In 2020, he was one of eight PGA Tour rookies to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs and one of four to advance to the BMW Championship, ending the season at No. 55 in the FedExCup standings–a season that included seven top-25s, highlighted by a runner-up at the Bermuda Championship and a T9 at the Farmers Insurance Open. He made 16 cuts in 25 starts. Bermuda was only his sixth career start on the PGA Tour and he finished second to Brendon Todd at 20-under 264. Higgs held a share of the 36-hole lead and a two-stroke 54-hole lead, topping the field in Scrambling and Par-4 Scoring Average.
At the start of the 2021 season, he contended and placed solo second at the Safeway Open just behind Stewart Cink, getting considerable air and commentator discussion time as a result of a sweet 62 in the second round, punctuated by a rare albatross on the par-5 ninth. He’s also been a standout on social media, earning him mucho faithful followers.
HIs driving average is 307, hits a lot of greens, and he’s kind of a read it, roll it, and hole it putter. Unlike his former college teammate, and despite his ample girth, he moves right along as well. Keep your eye on Harry. He’s fun to watch and has a great attitude toward the game. Good reminder for all of us.
Reid all about it! Brit Mel Reid won her first LPGA event on Sunday at the Shoprite Open in Atlantic City. After which, this well-liked player was doused with champagne by more of her competitors than I’ve ever seen douse a winner. She’s won six times on the Ladies European Tour, but since her Mom died in a car crash in Germany while she on her way to see her daughter play in 2012, 33 year old Melissa has never been quite the same. Reid quickly–perhaps too quickly–returned to golf but her performance declined rapidly in the ensuing years. In September 2015, Reid told ESPN that her life “was a mess … I wasn’t coping, I was rebelling. I was spending time with people who partied. I was hitting the self-destruct button. I was with a lot of people, but I was lonely.” On 10 December 2018, Reid came out as gay in a media interview.
Mel Reid is a fighter. She’s a tough, gritty competitor. Two weeks before the Shoprite, she came close to winning that event. Watch this attractive, former Solheim Cup member. She’s broken the ice in America, is another fun player to watch, concentrates intently when she’s playing, smiles broadly when she wins, and, I expect, will continue winning on the LPGA.
Will Zalatoris, a 24 year old, 6 ft, 2 in, 165 pounder from San Francisco was a U.S. Junior Amateur winner in ’14, attended Arnold Palmer’s Wake Forest where he was named ACC Player of the Year in 2017, was a member of the U.S. Walker Cup team in 2017, where he was teammates with future PGA Tour winners Collin Morikawa and Cameron Champ, was a winner on the Korn Ferry Tour at the TPC Colorado Championship by one stroke, and, most recently, made some huge waves at the 2020 U.S Open by ace-ing the fifth hole in the first round, making the cut, and finishing in a tie for 6th with World Number One Dustin Johnson. It was his first top-10 finish in a major championship. Then, just to show he was no flash-in-the-pan, he followed that up with a T8 at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship this year.
Will’s another fun to watch up-and-comer with a solid, all-around game and a possible long and successful PGA career ahead of him. That’s the consensus of several Golf Channel pundits as well.
Well, look who’s back on top: 40 year old–yes, 40–Sergio Garcia won the Sanderson Farms event this past week, his first Tour win since 2017, coming from behind and toughing out a shaky final round. Congrats to Sergio. Good to see this ball striker supreme from Spain back in the winner’s circle. Another Masters win on the horizon? He obviously still has the skills.
Next on tap: The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the first of two event in Las Vegas. Defending Champ is Kevin Na. Other contestants include Bryson DeChambeau, Francesco Molinari, Collin Morikawa, Mathew Wolff, and, as mentioned above, Will Zalatoris. Enjoy!