North Carolina-William McGirt-June 7

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-June 7

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Sports can teach us a lot of lessons about life. This week news has been dominated by the death of Muhammad Ali and his many accomplishments. Ali’s life if you examine it will provide you many lessons on living. One simple one was make every day count.


On Sunday afternoon another set of lessons about life were unfolding just outside of Columbus, OH at a PGA Golf Tournament. A native of Fairmont, NC William McGirt was winning his first tournament at The Memorial a golf tournament created by Jack Nicklaus and televised by CBS Sports.

William McGirt

He demonstrated to all of us what persistence looks like. He had teed it up in 164 different PGA tournaments before this week. He had never won.

Even before he got on the PGA tour William showed persistence. The Robeson County, NC native graduated from Wofford College in 2001 and turned pro in 2004. He started banging around on minitours like a golfing nomad, doggedly pursuing the goal of making it to the PGA Tour. He spent almost 6 years playing several mini-tours and he spent 2010  on the Nationwide Tour. In 2010 he got a break thru he finished T-2 at the 2010 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament which secured his PGA TOUR card for the first time.

The persistence wasn’t complete. He finished 141st on the 2011 PGA Tour money list. That wasn’t good enough for him to keep his PGA Tour card. He went back to qualifying school. He qualified for the 2012 PGA Tour by finishing T13 in the 2011 Q-School.

For the past 6 seasons he has kept grinding, believing, and showing up.

On Sunday, his victory was worth $1.53 million. Jack Nicklaus was there at the end offering up congratulations.

Memorial Golf

Jack Nicklaus talks with William McGirt after McGirt won the Memorial golf tournament in a playoff, Sunday, June 5, 2016, in Dublin, Ohio.

He got a three-year exemption at the Memorial and spots in the Masters, the Tournament of Champions and the U.S. Open, which means that he didn’t have to demonstrate that value of persistence by getting up early on Monday and attempting to qualify. Trust me he would have.

William McGirt makes all of us from Robeson County proud and reminds us to keep pushing forward.






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