May 9, 2016
In the Godfather III, Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone famously remarks that just when he thought he was out, they pull back him back in.
In Cal alum James Hahn’s case, he seemingly always to find a way to pull himself back in.
A week after contemplating a future outside golf following his eighth straight missed cut at the Zurich Classic, the 34-year-old Hahn again returned from the abyss by winning Sunday’s Wells Fargo Championship in a sudden-death playoff.
Prior to the victory, Hahn hadn’t made it to Sunday at a PGA Tour event since the Waste Management Pheonix Open on Super Bowl weekend. He’d prevail on the first extra hole when Robert Castro hit his tee shot into the water.
“Once you start going five, six and seven cuts in a row, you start thinking about doing other things,” said Hahn, who earned $1.3 million with the victory. “It’s tough, it really is. The mind is a powerful thing and it was going bad for a while. Just didn’t have the confidence, didn’t believe in myself.”
For Hahn, it’s always been an uphill struggle. Following his playing days at Cal, Hahn envisioned himself making a killing on the PGA Tour. In reality, things were so shaky that he ended up as a shoe salesman at a Nordstrom.
In 2008, while competing on the Canadian Tour (now PGA Tour Canada), he nearly gave up his professional aspirations due to a lack of funds and desire.
It all seemingly changed when Hahn finally notched his first win at last year’s Northern Trust Open. But here he was again, not sure about where he was headed.
A heart-to-heart conversation with his caddie after missing the cut at the Zurich Classic turned it all around.
“My caddie and I, we just kind of had a talk that, ‘Hey, look, you just have to keep believing in yourself, keep grinding because it’s not always going to be like this,” said Hahn, who played at Cal in 2000-2001. “I try not to remember all that stuff but that was a week ago and now I’m here. So I constantly remind myself that I’m good enough that I belong out here. Was kind of chanting to myself that I can do this, I will do this and must do this. I mean, this is something that I look in my daughter’s eyes and say, ‘Hey, I can’t give up on you, I have to do this.’”
Every time it seems like it may be ending, he does.