McGirt (66) playing way out of 'rookie' status


KAPALUA, Hawaii – Last season was a transformative year for William McGirt. After five productive, if not particularly notable, seasons on the PGA Tour, the 37-year-old won the Memorial for his first victory.

That victory was rewarding on many levels, including its ability to open doors that had previously been closed, beginning with September’s Tour Championship, which he played for the first time.

This week’s SBS Tournament of Champions, where he is tied for fourth place after a third-round 66, is another first for McGirt, as will his start at the Masters later this spring. In a strange way, the last few months on Tour have almost felt like a rookie campaign.

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“A little bit, yeah. We don't have any past experiences to go on on this golf course,” he said. “I keep asking [his caddie], ‘Hey, what do you think this putt does?’ He's like, ‘I have no clue.’

“After this season, we'll have pretty much all the tournaments knocked out, so I can't say I'm a rookie anymore.”