Ben Griffin’s grandfather was an avid golfer, always keeping track of round scores in local newspapers. Douglas Griffin lived in Hickory, North Carolina, the hometown of veteran PGA TOUR pro JT Poston.
“He was like, ‘I love following JT Poston,'” Griffin recalled. “‘But I want to see more of Ben Griffin.'”
Douglas Griffin died last July, with a line in his obituary: “Hit them long and straight.
At the time, Griffin was working as a mortgage loan officer. This line struck him and was part of a series of events that inspired him to return to professional golf.
Days after the death of his grandfather, Griffin flew to North Carolina to Missouri to compete in Monday’s qualifier for the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper – motivated to keep chasing his dreams childhood, and with the support of Highland Springs CC members who he had previously befriended. He successfully qualified with a 6-under 65, and although he missed the cut that week, the fire returned.
Griffin continued the momentum of the Korn Ferry Tour qualifying tournament this fall, successfully progressing through the first, second and final stages to earn guaranteed starts in 2022.
He didn’t look back. With a second-place finish at this week’s BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD Synnex, Griffin crossed the 875-point safety threshold to earn his first PGA TOUR card via The 25 at the end of the regular season at the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented. by Aetna in August.
It marks the achievement of a lifelong goal that began when Griffin was a youngster in North Carolina, born into a golf-loving family. The 26-year-old fondly remembers playing with his father and grandfather when he was 6 or 7 years old. He remembers the first time he beat his dad on 18 holes, carding 72 to his dad’s 75 in Myrtle Beach when he was 12. lists his father and grandfather as part of his dream quartet.
When asked to recall memorable golf moments, he thinks of his first TOUR-sanctioned title at the 2018 Staal Foundation Open on PGA TOUR Canada, when his father flew from Carolina North to Minneapolis and rented a car, driving 8 hours to Thunder Bay, Ontario to deliver victory congratulations in person.
Cowan Griffin once again surprised his son for the final round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am, where a place in the top nine would be enough to clear the #TOURBound safety threshold. Griffin started Sunday in second place and earned a 5-under 66 card at Thornblade Club, enough for a playoff with Robby Shelton.
Shelton won with a par on the second playoff hole, but Griffin and several family members and friends were able to rejoice nonetheless.
Many goals and dreams remain, but one is certain. Griffin earned a PGA TOUR card for the 2022-23 season.
“I’m really going back to what my dad always taught me, which is to have a positive attitude and do my best,” Griffin said of a key to recent success. “Really processing my thoughts and trying to remove the negativity and fear from them…and replacing that with more courage and more conviction, really is the key.”
Next season he will channel that mentality at the highest level.
This file will be updated in the coming days with a more in-depth look at Griffin’s journey to the PGA TOUR.