Hunter Mahan has karma on his side this week at the Canadian Open.
It was at this event last year that the 36-hole leader withdrew before the start of the third round because his wife, Kandi, had gone into labor back home in Dallas. What followed was a dizzying 15-hour journey that culminated in Mahan being by his wife’s side for the birth of the couple’s first child, Zoe Olivia.
“It was a pretty incredible story,” he recalled Wednesday on the eve of this year’s event. “It’s always one of those things for golfers what if you had to go home and you were in the lead on Sunday or Saturday? It’s one of those crazy things you think about and discuss with your family and your wife, but most of the time it never really happens.
“It’s neat that we have the video of it all happening and going down and then the newspaper clippings and all that stuff. It’ll be a fun story to show her and tell her about how she entered the world.”
The newborn was dubbed the “Million Dollar Baby” – a nod to the first-place prize that Mahan, staked to a two-shot lead after rounds of 67-64, may have forfeited. Brandt Snedeker eventually won the tournament.
Mahan had just gotten to the range when his manager approached him with the news. It wasn’t a complete surprise – Mahan’s wife was three weeks early – but he withdrew immediately and tried to find the quickest way home. He saw the birth 15 hours later.
“The process of beginning to think your baby is coming didn’t really hit me until we were in the hospital,” he said.