HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Morgan Hoffmann has been on a journey unlike any other from the day in 2017 he learned he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. From treks the world over searching for alternative cures involving non-Western and ancient treatments, to his current residence with a view of the ocean but no windows or doors in the mountains and jungles of Costa Rica, to back to the PGA Tour with his former fellow peers.
Along the way, with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy deteriorating his patience and ravaging his body, the former muscle-bound World No. 1 amateur who turned pro in 2011 ate 800 grapes per day for 17 days, went through urine therapy that included using his excretion as mouth wash when he spent 90 days in Nepal, and spent four days absorbing an ancient mishmash that contained the potent hallucinogen DMT.
“On paper it’s definitely interesting, it’s a crazy story, for sure,” the 32-year-old said Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s start of the RBC Heritage at Harbor Town Golf Links. It will be his first action on the PGA Tour since the 2019 Shriners Children’s Open.
“Any athlete in this position or anybody with a drive for health would do something similar as well and I don’t think I’m special in any way. I think I have been put in this position for a reason and I just want to help people believe in themselves and get through really anything that they’re going through.”
Hoffmann’s tale was reported recently in a fascinating piece by Golf Digest. But it’s an account that deserves to be retold many times over. And with his improved health, the latest chapter in his story involves golf again.
“I knew that golf has always been something that I love and I wanted it to be fun again,” he said. “And I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself and I think that’s why on Tour previous to this was the reason why I didn’t reach my potential, at least in my mind. So I just wanted the main goal when I came back to be fun.”
Hoffmann said since he left Nepal about three years ago, his body has slowly gotten stronger. While his swing speed continues to gradually improve, he has been in the states for the past 10 days honing his skills.
“There hasn’t been any more atrophy, which has been amazing,” Hoffmann said. “And now, my right pec was the worst, it just, it kind of got down to my ribs, where all you could see is bone, and now like when I put my hand here and I flex, I can feel it again, which is pretty cool. It’s been improving slowly and now I’m in kind of the testing process of pushing it back in the gym again to see how hard I can go. I’m back in the gym every day and getting stronger. It feels really solid.
“I’m being subdued to the excitement of seeing muscle firing again right now.
“Every day is a success.”
For the most part, his days have been a success since he moved to Costa Rica in 2020 where he and his wife, Chelsea, live with three dogs and two cats. Daily meditation and surfing are often on his agenda – he let his hair out and resembled Jeff Spicoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” He’s at peace and cherishes his soul-searching exploration to discover what makes him feel better fighting an incurable disease.
In 2017, he and his wife established the Morgan Hoffmann Foundation to help the fight against muscular dystrophy. The two’s goal is to build a wellness center in Costa Rica, tentatively called Nekawa, which is awaken backward. The cost, he estimated, would be around $1 million; Hoffmann earned $6 million on the Tour, plus sponsorship money, and currently has other investments.
“Now that I’m having some success with my health I can show people who are interested and who have questions on what I’ve done to heal something that has been deemed incurable,” Hoffmann said. “How to do it naturally and I think there’s many paths to health and it’s really exciting to give that advice to someone and not just say, oh, there’s just this one way. Because I found there’s so many.”
His mind, however, is on the task at hand this week in the RBC Heritage. He was aiming to return for the Honda Classic in February, but on the way to the gym in Costa Rica in December, he crashed his motorcycle on his steep driveway and wrecked his shoulder and cracked two ribs. But he’s healthy again and back on the PGA Tour.
“I’ve been telling everybody I feel like a little 12-year-old kid again playing an AJGA (event) out here,” he said after his practice round at Harbor Town. “Just playing this course is very euphoric for me. It’s one of my favorite courses in the world; you got to be very creative around it and my game is the creative type.”
And what does he expect?
“Some smiles,” he said. “Some golf on a beautiful course. That’s really about it. I’ve been practicing hard and my game actually feels pretty solid. I have a great caddie on the bag this week and my clubs are dialed in, so I feel good. I don’t really know. Obviously, you come to tournaments to win and I’ve never done that before, so might as well shoot for the stars, right?”