How this pro forgot to cash a $1.2 million (!!!) winner’s check

Some people forget their wallet. Some forget their credit card. But only a select few people can claim to have forgotten a million-dollar check. One of those people is James Hahn.

The PGA Tour journeyman is not an inherently forgetful person. Nor is he careless about money. But in 2015, after he won the Northern Trust, a slip-up left the 39-year-old’s $1.2 million winner’s check sitting in the glove compartment of his car (!).

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Hahn explained the backstory, which he said began in college.

“Back in college, I read a book called The Secret,” Hahn said. “For me, one of the things that I got from it was to visualize a million-dollar check coming to my house. That was all I wanted from my life. I just wanted the actual, physical check. So my whole career to that point was just ‘Oh, I want a check.'”

As a result of the book, Hahn never bothered (nor cared) to set up direct deposit for his winnings. He kept in pursuit of that million-dollar check, an effort that eventually resulted in a brilliant performance at the Northern Trust, and, at long last, the check he’d waited forever to receive.

James Hahn looks on at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
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“So I win the Northern Trust. Got the physical check for 1.2 million,” Hahn said. “Took a picture with it. It comes time to deposit the check and I’m like, ‘Oh, I put it in my glove compartment. No big deal.'”

But then, a few weeks went by, and the check still had not cashed. Hahn’s wife began to grow wary.

“My wife’s like, ‘How long does it take for it to clear a million dollar check?'” Hahn remembered. “And she’s like, ‘You went to the bank like two weeks ago and it still hasn’t hit our account.’ I’d left a million-dollar check in my glove compartment in my car for two weeks and I’d totally forgotten about it.”

In a mild state of shock, Hahn immediately ran to the bank.

“So I go to Chase Bank and the first thing [the teller] does is laugh at me, and she says, ‘You wrote a million dollars on this, the decimal is wrong,'” Hahn said with a laugh. “Then I realized I forgot my ID, so I go straight to the car, and by the time I return there are two guys in suits and they’re like, ‘Hey Mr. Hahn. How are you doing? We’re from Chase private strategy, on the investment side.’ And I’m like, ‘Hey guys, I just want to cash the check.'”

Eventually, the check cleared, and it was a lesson learned for Hahn.

“Since then, I’ve gone direct deposit, because it is a lot easier,” he said. “But losing a check in the glove compartment doesn’t sit well.”

To hear the rest of Hahn’s Subpar interview, including the time a restaurant server roasted him after a big win, check out the video below.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.