By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- William McGirt has a very understanding wife.
Five days after delivering their first child, a son named Miles Cameron but destined to be called Mac, Sarah shooed her husband out of their house in Boiling Springs, S.C., so he could fly across the country to practice and play some golf.
McGirt says leaving his wife and their son, who clocked in a 19 3/4 inches and 8 pounds, 7 1/2 ounces when he was born on Jan. 2, was the "hardest thing I've ever done -- and the bad thing is everybody tells me it only gets harder." But such is the life of a PGA TOUR pro, and there was work to be done.
McGirt is playing extremely well at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, too. He opened with a 68 on the Palmer Course and shot 66 at La Quinta on Friday to move into the top 10 on the leaderboard.
Evenings have been reserved for long-distance chats via Facetime. That way McGirt gets to at least watch Mac, who he says is "real active with his hands -- it's just hilarious." He plans to play three of the next four weeks before heading home, and he's looking forward to the Florida swing when his family starts traveling with him.
McGirt, who says he doesn't "do blood," was surprised he didn't pass out during the delivery, which he calls "the most amazing experience of my life.
"It's hard to believe you can love somebody that much," McGirt said as he thumbed through photos on his smart phone. "At the end it was like, OK, he's been in there for nine months. OK, buddy, come out. I'm ready to meet you. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. I cried like a baby. I cried more than he did."
So during those five days before McGirt left for the West Coast, he made sure there was plenty of daddy time. He says he changed just about every diaper and hated to let Mac out of his arms.
"I kind of ruined him," McGirt said. "I held him so much and he feel asleep in my arms all the time. Now you put him down and he doesn't want to go to sleep. I don't think (Sarah's) real happy with me about that but I knew my time with him was real short and I just wanted to hold him as much as I could."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: North Carolinian William McGirt has proven to be a quick study on TOUR, improving 34 spots in the FedExCup Playoffs and more than doubling his earnings in his sophomore campaign. Those three top 10s have given him a taste of what it's like to be in the hunt that could serve him well in 2013.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: A week after posting his first career top 10, McGirt was tied for the lead with two holes remaining at the RBC Canadian Open. He ended up in a tie for second after a bogey on the 71st hole but the back-to-back performances set the stage for a strong finish to the season. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: He shot 63 in the opening round of the RBC Canadian Open and took a shot at the victory before finishing T-2nd. He’s a very good athlete, could have been a professional baseball player. That hand-eye coordination helps with timing. McGirt ranks fifth on TOUR on approaches outside 275 yards. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Got after it early from the reshuffle and managed to make 30 starts. Consecutive top fives near the end of the Regular Season secured his card for 2013. Impressive splits in greens in regulation and strokes gained-putting project for a continuation of success. He'll take his lumps like everyone else, but his style for scoring fits multiple tracks. Now that he's exempt from the reshuffle, he can freewheel it. Mid-round value, although he'll probably slide a bit given he's entering just his third year on TOUR and he's already 33 years old. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
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2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||T-2nd||RBC Canadian Open|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 18
Rounds played: 96
Top-10 finishes: 3
Money List rank: 74th
Driving distance: 138th
Driving accuracy: 107th
Greens in regulation: 65th
Strokes gained-putting: 46th
Scoring average: 76th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for William McGirt in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
A year ago, Justin Rose chipped in for birdie on the penultimate hole of the BMW Championship and held off John Senden by two shots to win the BMW Championship. The victory moved Rose from 34th to third in the FedExCup standings and punched his ticket to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Those outside the top 30 in the standings entering this week are hoping for a similar fate. Six players moved outside the bubble to inside it in the first week of the FedExCup Playoffs, and nine turned the trick last week.
Who, if anyone, will move from outside the top 30 and advance to East Lake in two weeks? Here’s a closer look at five players who I think could bust this week’s bubble. Fill out the form below and let us know which players from outside the top 30 you think will advance.
Bud Cauley (No. 33): For the second straight year, Cauley is playing his best golf when the pressure has been on. Last season, Cauley finished third at the Frys.com Open and 15th at the McGladrey Classic to lock up a card and avoid q-school. This year, Cauley has three finishes in the top 4 in his last six starts. One of those was a tie for 10th at The Barclays. Only four rookies have reached the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola since the inception of the FedExCup in 2007, but if Cauley can putt the way he did at Bethpage, I think he’ll advance. Click here for FedExCup Tracker
Seung-Yul Noh (No. 38): In Noh’s last 10 events, he’s finished outside the top 30 just twice (and one of those was a 31st-place finish). He tied for 13th last week in Boston, 21st at the PGA Championship and a season-best fourth at the AT&T National in July. Noh is also long off the tee, averaging just over 300 yards, and ranks in the top 25 in greens in regulation. He’s also pretty good with the flat stick (60th in strokes gained-putting). I think Noh not only advances, I think he flirts with the top of the leaderboard at Crooked Stick.
William McGirt (No. 39): By his own admission, McGirt has been watching the FedExCup standings since the week after the U.S. Open. He responded, too, finishing 13th at the Travelers Championship before adding a fifth-place finish in Mississippi and a runner-up in Canada. In his first two Playoffs events, McGirt finished 10th and 26th, respectively. The latter moved him up seven spots, so he’ll probably need something slightly better to make it to East Lake. But if McGirt can roll it the way he has each of the last two weeks, he’ll have a good chance.
Jeff Overton (No. 40): The Indiana native could either collapse under the pressure of trying to perform in front of a hometown audience, or thrive in it. I’m going with the latter, especially with Crooked Stick being a big ballpark and Overton being a big hitter. He seemed to have found something last week in Boston, where he tied for seventh.
Vijay Singh (No. 49): Given his position, Singh is going to need a very good week to climb into the top 30. But the 49-year-old has also done a nice job of managing his schedule with a couple of weeks off in what’s been a very busy stretch of golf. Singh contended at the PGA Championship before fading on the weekend, and he’s done the same for the most part in each of his last two starts -- which is certainly a concern. But the big Fijian played his way to East Lake last year with a tie for third at The Barclays after failing to reach the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola each of the previous two years, and I could see him doing it again this week at Crooked Stick.
Got a question for William McGirt? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a PGA TOUR pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats with McGirt, who is playing in his first major championship this week at Kiawah Island.
McGirt has even more reason to be fired up for his first major -- it's taking place in his home state of South Carolina. McGirt makes his residence in Boiling Springs, near Spartanburg, a few hours up I-26.
If you’ve been wanting to ask McGirt a question, now is your opportunity. Just fill out the form below.
Also, we are now taking video submissions of questions. If you would like to send a video of you asking your question, please email the video to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep video to 20 seconds or less, shoot landscape style, and include your name and where you’re from in the text of your email.
Direct Connect video is posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM, so please check back then for the McGirt interview.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
William McGirt was in uncharted territory.
Only a week earlier, he finished a career-best tie for fifth. Sunday, he had a chance for his first career victory.
Instead, McGirt bogeyed two of his final four holes, losing a one-shot lead to finish one back of winner Scott Piercy.
"I had trouble getting the butterflies to fly in formation,” McGirt said. “Seemed like I had a lot of 30, 35-footers all day.”
If there is an upside for McGirt, though, it’s that he locked up his card for next season and guaranteed himself a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs.
“Being able to draw on what happened today in the future is going to be huge,” McGirt said. “I'll take a lot of positives away from this week. My No. 1 goal coming into this week was to make sure I locked up getting in the Playoffs. My second goal was to make sure I locked up my card. I accomplished both of those today. I would have loved to have won the golf tournament, but I played very well all week.”
We’ve reached the back nine at Hamilton G&CC, where William McGirt is leading by one.
Will he hang on for his first career victory on the PGA TOUR?
Well, here are two key statistics about his week so far: He hasn’t made more than one bogey in any one round, and he’s an amazing 55-for-55 on putts inside 10 feet.
Since missing the cut at the U.S. Open and AT&T National, Scott Piercy has reeled off 10 straight rounds in the 60s, including a 62 and a 67 the first two days of the RBC Canadian Open.
During that 10-round stretch, Piercy is a combined 39 under (he tied for 12th at The Greenbrier Classic, was third at the John Deere Classic and has a share of the lead going into today’s third round).
Piercy’s best streak of sub-70 rounds prior to his current run came in 2009, when he played the last two rounds of the Bob Hope Classic and the first three rounds of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in the 60s. With 10 rounds under his belt in this event, Piercy has yet to post a score worse than par -- his even-par 72 he shot in the final round in 2009 his worst performance.
As for William McGirt, with whom Piercy shares the lead with, he earned a spot in the field this week thanks to a tie for fifth at last week’s True South Classic in Mississippi.
That was his best finish in 56 previous starts on the PGA TOUR.
After enjoying four under-par rounds at Annandale Golf Club in Madison last week, McGirt added his fifth and sixth consecutive under-par rounds with his 63-66 start at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
The two will play in the final group of the day at 12:38 p.m. ET, along with Robert Garrigus, who is a shot back. How do you think they will fare? Discuss below.