How Graeme McDowell’s wayward shot helped one fan make a life-changing diagnosis

PGA Tour pro Graeme McDowell and golf fans Jared Doerfler and his dad on golf course

Graeme McDowell met Jared Doerfler and his dad this week at the QBE Shootout.

@DoerflerJared on Twitter

Twitter is often a place filled with anger and hate, even in the golf sphere, but once in a while it provides us with a feel-good story to lift our spirits. Yesterday was one of those days.

The positivity comes by way of Jared Doerfler, the man behind the Perfect Putt golf newsletter, and 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.

Way back in 2010, amid McDowell’s triumphant U.S. Open campaign at storied Pebble Beach, Doerfler was in the crowd watching the action alongside his father.

At one point during the tournament, as Doerfler shared on Twitter, McDowell hit a wayward shot toward where Doerfler’s dad was standing in the gallery. The seemingly insignificant moment gains significance when you hear the next detail from Doerfler’s tweet:

“My dad fell trying to get out of the way,” Doerfler writes. “It was his first sign something was goofy that lead to an MS diagnosis.”

MS, or multiple sclerosis, “is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body,” according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The long list of potential symptoms includes “numbness, tingling, mood changes, memory problems, pain, fatigue, blindness and/or paralysis.”

While there is no known cure for MS, treatment can help sufferers manage the symptoms and slow the disease’s progression, which is why diagnosing the illness is so important.

At this week’s QBE Shootout, the PGA Tour connected the Doerflers with McDowell, and Doerfler expressed his gratitude on Twitter, calling it an “unforgettable experience,” and writing, “For [McDowell] to spend time with my dad on the range this week was incredible.”

McDowell also seemed to treasure the experience, replying to Doerfler’s tweet with his own message: “Just amazing to spend time with you and your dad Jared. He truly is an inspiration. Look forward to talking more about MS and how we can help other people. See you soon.”

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham Editor

As managing producer for, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.

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