Morris, on the green to beat cancer: “Only on the pitch I don’t think about pain”

He is competing in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship of the PGA Tour. Terminally ill, he has received an invitation from a sponsor to play

“Only when I’m on the pitch don’t I think about pain.” This was stated by Brian Morris, a titular professional at the Ocean View Golf Course, in Devonshire (Bermuda Islands), now competing in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Never again would he have thought he would be able to play a tournament on the PGA Tour, one of the first of the 2021-2022 season that began in mid-September, with a prize pool of 6.5 million dollars. The competition field (the Port Royal in Southampton) is not far from his, but the idea was light years away, because he had a modest game as a club professional and, above all, because he was overwhelmed by the events of the last two years. That is a brain tumor removed in December 2019 with a three month life span, bad news and treatments continue to follow, the disease progressed to the esophagus, stomach, neck. Now he relies on an experimental cure, what he considers his “last shot”, the last shot to play.

What strength

Brian is 53, with little strength left (“I find it hard to stand for more than half an hour but, you know, I’m past my due date,” he says). However, in the middle of the storm he has never been far from golf, because “when they tell you that you are dying this is what you think every day … but when I play I don’t have time for it, I am also focused on a short putt, I don’t want to To make a mistake. Golf for me is a great outlet, it is thanks to this sport that I can feel better than expected “, he wanted to emphasize.

He had started playing at 12 and already wanted to turn pro. But when his father died in an accident he was 19 and reacted by throwing a bag and sticks into the sea from a cliff (“Golf without my father meant nothing”). He returned to the field ten years later and in 2003 he turned professional. Over time, it has raised over $ 200,000 for the families of cancer patients. Like? Playing 180 holes three times in 24 hours. Among his students also Patrick Swayze, Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas. Brian Morris had tried to qualify for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship but failed, then an invitation from a sponsor (“An incredible gift that allows me to compete at the highest level of the game alongside the best”) and the ability to use the cart. Today first round and last start for him (at 14.05 local time, five hours behind Italy), with suspension and resumption of the race due to rain and strong wind.

The joy of being there

Nervous at the start? “Yes, of course, for the competitive position, not for the performance; in any case, never as much as I am at the controls in the hospital”. How much will his score count at the end of the four rounds? A lot for the will to do well that a professional puts every time he gets on the tee of hole one, nothing compared to the joy of being there and the much greater challenge he has to face. The blue Guido Migliozzi is also on the field in Bermuda.

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Morris, on the green to beat cancer: “Only on the pitch I don’t think about pain”