Gene Sauers picked up his first win in Augusta. He didn’t need his clubs, and he didn’t have to battle to inclement weather either. Sauers won the Ben Hogan award, for the courage and commitment he displayed, in both his comeback to professional golf, and his ability to come back from a disease that almost took his life.
If you didn’t know, Sauers had a debilitating illness called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. He was originally misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis, and he only had a twenty-five percent change to live.
Sauers spent 7 weeks in the hospital, and had to have several skin graphs to repair the damage to his legs and arms. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a disease that destroys the blood vessels in the arms and legs and the skin was burning off Gene’s body from the inside.
During his stay in the hospital, there were many thoughts running through his mind. One of those thoughts was, he didn’t think he was ever going to make it out of there. Lucky for him, his wife, Tammy Sauers was the positive driving force behind his survival.
When Gene would get depressed, Tammy was there to inspire him. Gene also laid in the hospital bed thinking about his golf swing. Night after night, he would go over his swing in his head. Sauers had already given up his profession of playing professional golf, before the disease hit him.
Somehow, he keep thinking of his golf swing, and then when he recuperated, he would give the game of golf another look as a career. In his first tournament back he finished in the top 25.
In 2016, Sauers would go on to win the Senior U.S. Open, by one shot over Jimenez. Last week Sauers showed the same courage he showed while battling the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, when he got off to a not so good start in the last round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
He started the round with a one stroke lead over Jimenez, but would play the front 9 in 2-over par to lose the lead. He would play the back 9 making 5-birdies and only 2 bogies, and would find himself in a play-off with Jimenez when the end of regulation came and both men were 13 under par.
Sauers would lose in a play-off after one, but that didn’t detour him from making the trip to Augusta this week, to pick up his win.
After accepting the Ben Hogan award, Sauers would give credit to his wife Tammy. He told the packed house, “She also helped save my life”. “She is the back-bone of our family”. “People would go to her with problems not me”.
His three sons, Dylan, Geno & Rhett were also in attendance. Gene Sauers has shown the world that anything is possible, if you put your mind to it. He is an inspiration to many, and week after week while playing professional golf on the Champions Tour, the fans come and let him know, how inspired they are by him.
Congratulations on the win Mr. Sauers. I hope this is the first in many to come. You deserve it!!!
Filed under: PGA Tour Golf