Hal has impacted the game of golf to have an academy bearing his name in the Big Easy Ranch. After a well distinguished career on the PGA Tour. Suttons decision has been influenced by his ideals on a career retirement in competition not teaching or learning.
After his second hip replacement surgery procedure, he missed several tours and took to teaching young golfers. Woods recent tournament success exacerbated his decision for return. Hal said, he began to realize that regret in July, at the funeral for Bruce Lietzke, where other players of his generation told him how much they missed seeing him each week in Birmingham or Naples or Newport Beach and went further to say “I have felt that torment,” he says of Woods’ own struggle to return. “In my estimation, I quit the game as a failure,” he says. “It’s time to quit the game correctly.”
His career has been blissful as he won the 1980 U.S. Amateur the summer after his senior season at Centenary College in his home state of Louisiana. He was the PGA Tour rookie of the year in 1982. He won the 1983 PGA Championship at Riviera and 13 other tournaments through 2001. He endured a slump during which he went nine years without winning. He played on four Ryder Cup teams. No one played better golf on the 1999 squad that rallied to win on that stupendous Singles Sunday at Brookline.
He captained the U.S. in 2004 at Oakland Hills. He paired Woods and Phil Mickelson in four-ball play. They lost, the team trailed by six points after two days and the Americans lost the Cup by nine. Sutton was criticized roundly.
Then he all but vanished. Sutton made two cuts in 10 starts in 2005. He played just once in 2006. He joined the senior circuit in 2008 without much success, and then had that heart attack in 2014 during the first round of the Ace Group Classic. He withdrew and had a stent implanted. He’s made six starts in the last two seasons. But he lacked the conviction he feels now. He hasn’t won a tournament since the 2001 Shell Houston Open.
In addition, he said, “It wasn’t the successes that brought me back,” he says. “It was the failures.”
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