Every year, the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption allows one golfer representing a minority background to play at Riviera, with Hall this year’s choice following in the footsteps of current PGA Tour players Harold Varner III (2014) and J.J. Spaun (2016).
Hall, now 34, lost his hearing shortly before his third birthday after contracting meningitis and, after taking up golf at the age of nine, quickly progressed in the game.
In May 1999, Hall attended a golf clinic at Glenview Golf Course in Cincinnati hosted by Tiger Woods and the Tiger Woods Foundation.
“Tiger told me to have a wider extension on the take-away,” he recalled to PGA Tour. “It helped me hit the ball further and straighter. Tiger then looked at me and said, ‘See you on Tour someday’.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to tee it up with the best players in the world and compete in such a prestigious event as the Genesis Open on behalf of the late Charlie Sifford.”
In addition to receiving swing tips from Woods, Hall participated in the 1999 Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego and attended Ohio State University on an academic and athletic scholarship.
Once there, Kevin Hall became the school’s first African American to play golf on scholarship and was named a team captain during his junior and senior seasons.
He led the team to the conference’s individual championship in 2004 and, following his graduation from Ohio State, he turned professional and is currently playing as a member on the SwingThought Pro Golf Tour and the Advocates Pro Golf Tour.
I look forward to rooting for him
“Kevin’s determination and drive to do the unexpected represents the best of us at Genesis and I look forward to rooting for him,” said Erwin Raphael, general manager of the Genesis brand in the US market.