By Caley Beachum and Tim Jackman (@AJGAJackman), AJGA Communications
The players at the Under Armour® / Hunter Mahan Championship got some motivation from two professional athletes before the tournament ever started. PGA TOUR professional and Tournament Host Hunter Mahan stopped by to interact with players, and United States Olympic Bobsledder Johnny Quinn spoke at the Players/Parents Meeting about his journey as an athlete.
Mahan hosted a clinic on the driving range where he gave some golf and life advice to the players in attendance. Juniors had the chance to ask questions about his career, and get some advice on how to handle pressure as a junior. After wrapping up the clinic, Mahan faced off against four juniors in a 65-yard chipping competition on No. 18.
Mahan is one of five Under Armour® PGA TOUR players who host a tournament with the AJGA. He loves giving back to the AJGA because of the opportunities it gave him as a junior.
“I played my first AJGA event when I was 14 or 15 in Texas and it was the premier junior series at the time. To be part of it again, so many years later as a pro, is really neat. It’s an honor to be a part of it and it’s exciting to bring in my partners like Under Armour® and PING,” Mahan said.
For the players, Mahan’s involvement in the tournament is what makes it so unique. The opportunity to meet and get advice from a professional is rare, and the juniors appreciate the effort Mahan puts in to make the experience memorable.
“I want to thank Hunter Mahan and Under Armour® for helping put on this event,” said Girls Division Champion Courtney Dow. “Without their support this event wouldn’t be possible.”
After Mahan’s clinic and chipping challenge, Quinn, who grew up 20 minutes from Stonebriar Country Club, spoke at the Players/Parents Meeting about his struggles and triumphs as an athlete. Quinn played high school football in McKinney, Texas, then went on to play to at University of North Texas before he was signed and cut by two NFL teams. This led him to consider other options to continue his athletic career. At age 30 he made the United States Olympic Bobsled team and participated in the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
His speech about finding success in strange places gave the juniors and parents a fresh outlook on athletic journeys headed into a weekend of tough competition.