LAS VEGAS — It’s been a little over a month since William McGirt capped the best season of his PGA Tour career at the Tour Championship — and he’s been “having way too much fun at home” with his family since the season finale at East Lake.
The Fairmont native “didn’t really want to come out here” to Las Vegas this week for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, but much like the love for his family — and because of that family — he simply couldn’t say no to a tournament and cause so near to his heart.
“This tournament is very important to me because of what the Shriners do for kids,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “(My) dad (Curtis) was a patient at the Greenville, S.C. hospital when he was young. (My wife) Sarah and I are very blessed to have two healthy kids (Mac and Caroline) and (for me) to be able to do what I do for a living.
“I enjoy being able to give back and it’s enjoyable for me to help the Shriners. They are great people with huge hearts.”
McGirt opens his 2016-17 season looking to build on a year that featured a lot of firsts, including his first victory and a top-10 finish in a major championship.
As the 40th-ranked player in the world, McGirt had 13 top-25 finishes, including seven top 10s. His two best performances came in June at The Memorial — where he claimed his first PGA Tour title — and late July’s PGA Championship, where he made the cut at a major for the first time en route to earning a top-10 finish at Baltusrol. He also made the Tour Championship for the first time in his career, finishing in a tie for 17th and 24th in the final FedEx Cup standings, earning a career-best $3.6 million on the season to finish 17th on the money list.
McGirt said the “time off has been great,” but he knows his game is “very rusty, at best” heading into TPC Summerlin. Grouped with Matt Every and Brian Gay, McGirt will tee off from the opening hole at 7:45 a.m. Thursday.
“I played five rounds in five weeks, four of them last week — and two of those were Saturday and Sunday in Vegas,” he said. “(I’m) not sure what to expect this week to be honest.”
McGirt cashed in last season in Vegas, matching his career-low round of 62 on the final day to finish in a tie for eighth. Smylie Kaufman roared from a seven-stroke deficit with a 10-under 61 to win the event.
Hoping to keep the arrow trending upward on his career, McGirt said he hasn’t put much thought into his goals for this season as the year draws to a close. His final event of 2016 will be the RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga. beginning on Nov. 17.
“I’ll think about it more over the next few weeks,” he said. “I wanted to get away from golf completely and it was great to do so. I didn’t miss golf at all. It’s been a long year and I’m ready for the holidays.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached on Twitter @RoddBaxley.