Harry Higgs delivered 2 shocking victories. Then came a touching speech

Harry Higgs at the Visit Knoxville Open.

Harry Higgs at the Visit Knoxville Open.

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First came the golf.

You wouldn’t have seen this coming two weeks ago. Not when Harry Higgs finished T50 at the PGA Tour’s opposite-field Myrtle Beach Classic and stayed just inside the top 500 in the world.

But then Higgs, a longtime fan favorite, delivered an incredible win at the Korn Ferry Tour’s AdventHealth Championship. It was incredible because it was Higgs’ first win in five years, incredible because it was his first top 10 on any tour in over a year and incredible because it required a hole-out eagle from 83 yards to book his spot in a playoff, which he then won with a birdie on the first extra hole.

That was last week.

This week brought the Visit Knoxville Open, where Higgs opened with 64-65 to keep the good times rolling. He entered Sunday one shot back of the lead but reeled off five birdies in his first six holes and played the rest of the round even par to post 19-under 261. That number was equaled by Frankie Capan III, who birdied the last to force a playoff.

So Higgs went to extra holes for a second consecutive week. And for a second consecutive week he made a spectacular eagle, this time from 37 feet on the second playoff hole to secure his second consecutive victory.

It was the first time in Korn Ferry Tour history that a player won back-to-back weeks. More importantly for Higgs it catapults him to No. 2 on the KFT’s points list, all but ensuring he’ll be promoted back to full status on the PGA Tour for next season.

“It does eons for confidence, but there’s a reason why I won,” Higgs said post-round. “Taking care of my body, my mind. Obviously I stuck to the exact same routine as last week and it worked again this week, so that’s probably not going to change much.”

Nor should it.

Then came the speech.

Higgs admitted he had a tough time getting to sleep Saturday night. He was running through what might happen if he won — and what he might say if he did. The tragic death of Grayson Murray weighed heavy on his mind. His playoff eagle afforded him the opportunity to address the crowd.

Here’s what he said:

“I just have a message, so forgive me if things get a little deep,” Higgs began. “We lost, yesterday, one of our own. I don’t know if you guys heard the news, but somebody who went through a lot of difficult things, somebody that was open and honest about it. And I thought last night, I didn’t sleep worth a darn. And I’m really good at sleeping. I thought about this moment and how to maybe remember Grayson.

“Everybody that’s here, one, thank you so much for receiving me and congratulating me and cheering me on throughout. But this golf stuff and the result, it’s lovely, sure. But it’s just — it’s just not that meaningful.

“One thing that I kind of thought of last night, especially laying in bed, I would challenge everybody here, and I’m going to do this myself as well, each day, is to say something nice to someone you love. And also make it a point to say something nice to somebody you do not even know. The world is a very difficult place. The world is difficult and only getting more difficult. I’ve been blessed with great parents and a great support system, and I haven’t had, other than some frustration at times, any battles mentally. But Lord knows how many people do and it’s only ever increasing. So everybody here could be a difference. The difference. Brighten up somebody’s day, it could mean the world.

“The challenge — I’ll start. I’m sure I’ll say some great things to people that I love, hopefully here very soon. But the second part of the challenge, say something nice to people that I do not know, I’d like to address each and every one of you guys that are here: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Knoxville, you guys were warm and gracious hosts. This will mean the world to me as I think back on it, but I will just remember the great people that I met here in Knoxville. So again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Let’s all try to put some good out in the world.”

Well said, Harry. Challenge accepted.

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