DJ Gregory Receives PGA TOUR Courage Award
DJ Gregory, who was born with cerebral palsy and has walked over 14,000 miles and 42,000 holes at PGA TOUR events since 2008 in support of his Walking For Kids Foundation, has been named the recipient of the PGA TOUR Courage Award.
The award is presented to a person who, through courage and perseverance, has overcome extraordinary adversity, such as personal tragedy or debilitating injury or illness, to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the game of golf. Introduced in 2012, Gregory is the fifth recipient and first non-PGA TOUR member to win the award, joining Erik Compton (2013), Jarrod Lyle (2015), Gene Sauers (2017) and Morgan Hoffmann (2020).
“D.J. has endeared himself to countless fans, players, staff and tournaments for over a decade on the PGA TOUR and is a tremendous example of perseverance and courage,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Our players have embraced D.J. over the years and continue to be motivated by his dedication to the Walking For Kids Foundation. We couldn’t be prouder of the impact he has made and the many lives he has touched in a positive way.”
The Courage Award includes a $25,000 contribution by the TOUR to a charity of the award recipient’s choice, which will be matched by world no.1 Jon Rahm, who will have Gregory walking with him this week at the WM Phoenix Open. Title sponsor WM and the Thunderbirds, the host organization of the WM Phoenix Open – which, like all PGA TOUR events, have been strong supporters of Gregory’s – will also each match the $25,000 donation to Walking For Kids in support of his amazing work.
Gregory was presented with his award by Rahm at a surprise ceremony held at WM Phoenix Open on Tuesday. “He’s an inspiration to a lot of people,” said the world no.1. “He was not dealt the best hand in his life, and he made something wonderful out of it and the fact that he goes out there and walks as much as he does with the difficulty he has to walk, it’s very, very impressive. He’s captured a lot of hearts of us players – definitely mine.”
Gregory, who has walked an average of 45-48 events each year since 2008, has also walked with players on PGA TOUR Champions and the Korn Ferry Tour. Since 2008, he has walked over 14,000 miles at TOUR events alone, which is 60 percent of the way around the globe. He is estimated to have walked over 42,000 holes at PGA TOUR events in that time, all with the knowledge that doctors once said that he would never walk and be confined to a wheelchair his entire life.
Gregory said: “I’m very fortunate because even though I have a disability, I don’t look at it as having a disability. I look at it as I could do anything you could do, but it might just take me a little bit longer. “I don’t work out. I don’t life weights. But once I decide I’m going to do something and I put my mind to it, I’m going to do it no matter what.”
In his first year on TOUR in 2008, Gregory used up to eight bandages on his feet every round for the entire season. By the second year his body adjusted and the need for bandages diminished, but he would still go through nearly seven pairs of shoes each season. Gregory also kept track of his falls over the last 15 years; he fell 29 times in his first year on TOUR. The number of falls also diminished since then, and he’s proud to have only recorded one in all of 2021, which happened in the final event of the regular season at The RSM Classic.
Now entering his 13th season following the tour, Gregory shows no sign of wanting to take a break. “I don’t want to stop right now,” he said. “I think the foundation has so much great momentum and I have some of the best friends out here between players and staff and caddies and their families. I love what I do out here, but I also want to go out on my own terms. I don’t want to be asked to leave.”
Visit www.walkingforkids.org to donate to DJ’s cause.