SILVIS, Ill. — At this point in his life, Morgan Hoffmann is taking things one swing at a time.
The professional golfer was able to play in the John Deere Classic on a last-minute exemption after another player's injury opened up a spot. For the New Jersey native, it's a chance, at a time when there's few others available.
"We were in D.C. when we got the call so we just had to like 15 hours drive west. It's pretty crazy," laughed Hoffmann. "But how good to be here! I'm so happy!"
And he has much to be grateful for.
Hoffmann took the last three years off of golf after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. The disease atrophies his pectoral muscles, which makes swinging a club a difficult task.
"For a whole 16-18 months I completely forgot about golf and just tried to focus on my health and my body," said Hoffmann.
During that time, he and his wife moved down to Costa Rica and got heavily involved in practicing and eventually teaching holistic wellness. Now, he's back and he's got a new outlook on life.
"A putt doesn't really matter anymore. You know, I obviously have goals and accomplishments that I think I can reach, but now it's like... I'm just looking at the trees, looking around and enjoying that. I'm on this side of the turf and I'm loving life," said Hoffmann.
As he played through the John Deere Classic, he had a crowd of followers. Some, knowing of his disease, were cheering on his progress and his comeback. But others, like Mitch Kaleel, were shocked to learn of Hoffmann's MD.
"He's playing great! I never knew he had that disease," said Kaleel. "He's playing great golf for his condition."
Others, like Mike Sapp, remembered Hoffmann from years ago and were excited to welcome him back to TPC Deere Run.
"He kind of disappeared, you know, and then I found out he was ill and it really turned out to be an interesting story," said Sapp. "You always want to see somebody make a comeback, especially with the potential that he had."
News 8 also ran into Greg Gorton, who purposely followed Hoffmann around with his daughter, inspired by his battles with MD.
"Anybody that's gone through what he's gone through, and still playing a sport that requires such great muscle memory and use of your full body to swing a golf club, it's inspiring," said Gorton.
A former coach for 24 years, Gorton said it's always encouraging to see anyone fighting through a physical barrier.
"He seems like a really great young guy and we're pulling for him," Gorton said. "It's why we love sports, right?!"