PACIFIC PALISADES (CBSLA.com) – An extraordinary African-American golfer who is taking the course at the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club this week is beating the odds in more ways than one.
Kevin Hall cannot hear his iron hitting the golf ball because he lost his hearing at age 2 1/2. An avid golfer since the age of 9, he has never let his inability to hear get in the way of his golf game.
“Life steps on you sometimes, but life gives you strawberries,” Hall told CBS2 Monday.
“A lot of things in golf, you have to overcome the fear, overcome the obstacles, same thing in life.”
The first deaf player on the PGA Tour, Hall is this year’s recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption, an award given to one outstanding minority golfer. Sifford was the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour. He won the Genesis Open in 1969.
“It’s an honor,” Hall said. “Awesome. A lot of history on this course, Tiger and so many golfers.”
Hall met Tiger Woods in 1999.
“He gave me a little tip how to drive that ball further, and after I hit that ball, he said ’Wow, I’ll see you on tour someday,’” Hall said. “I’m here!”
Hall’s mother Jackie is cheering him on every step of the way.
“I am in awe every time Kevin steps on the course,” Jackie Hall said. “I’m in awe of everything that Kevin does because he does not allow that hearing loss to stop him. He was raised and taught by his dad and I that the sky is the limit. The only limitations you have is what you put on yourself.”
Hall will tee it up against some of the best golfers in the world when the Genesis Open begins Thursday.