UF's Banks receives award for overcoming adversity


University of Florida junior Eric Banks on Tuesday was named the recipient of the David Toms Award for overcoming adversity in the game.

Banks, of Truro, Canada, underwent open-heart surgery in June 2012 but has returned to the Gators’ golf team.

During a freshman physical at UF, cardiologists heard a second murmur in Banks’ heart. It took nearly a year to diagnose the problem, but the doctors discovered that he had Atrial Septal Defect – essentially, there was a hole in between the two sides of his heart.  

Banks, then 19, underwent open-heart surgery and needed three to four months to recover. He didn’t play competitively for nine months.

Banks returned to school in fall 2012 and began qualifying for tournaments over the next few months. In his first start, at the Gator Invitational, he tied for 10th while playing as an individual. He competed in every spring tournament.

Banks has played in four tournaments this season, finishing in the top 20 twice. 

“It’s a great honor,” he said Tuesday on “Morning Drive.” “I’ve been through a lot, but with the support of my family, coaches and friends back home, I was able to overcome it.”