T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
PING presents Mahan with gold-plated putter for newborn
In late July, Hunter Mahan famously left the RBC Canadian Open -- while leading -- moments before the start of his third round to head home to his wife, Kandi, in Texas after learning she had gone into labor with the couple's first child.
Mahan made it home in time to witness the birth of his little girl, Zoe Olivia.
As a gift to the Mahan's, PING (Mahan's club sponsor) presented Hunter with a gold-played Scottsdale TR Anser putter on the practice green Tuesday at Liberty National, where the Barclays Championship is taking place this week.
Ping Golf, maker of all 14 of Mahan's clubs, traditionally presents the winner of professional events with a gold-plated replica of the putter used to earn the victory. (Solid gold putters are given for wins in majors.) However, to celebrate the Mahans' joyful arrival, the company decided to give Hunter a gold-plated Scottsdale TR Anser 2 putter on the practice green Tuesday at Liberty National Golf Club, site of this week's Barclays Championship.
"We'll never know if Hunter would have held on to win that week," said John Solheim, Ping's chairman & CEO, in a statement. "But the circumstances were so unique, we wanted to create a lasting memory for Hunter, Kandi and Zoe that would forever remind them of that special day. The birth of a child is a win any way you look at it, so we thought we'd have some fun with it."
Another gold-plated Scottsdale TR Anser 2 putter also will permanently reside in Ping's gold putter vault – along with more than 2,800 Ping putters – inside the company's Phoenix headquarters.
"This goes way above and beyond, guys," Mahan said when Chance Cozby and Matt Rollins, Ping's head PGA Tour reps, gave him the club. "Way above and beyond."
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.