Taylor’s PGA Tour Victory Is A ‘Huge Win For Us’
By Mason Kelley
If Nick Taylor is competing, Matt Thurmond is following along. Regardless of where the golfer is playing, his college coach does whatever he can to keep track of each hole Taylor plays.
Take last week for example. It was Sunday. Thurmond was in church, and his protégé was storming back from a four-stroke deficit at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Thurmond started his day quietly following along on his phone. But, as Taylor charged back for the victory – his first on the PGA Tour – Thurmond slipped out of the service a bit early so he could watch Taylor’s performance on TV.
As Taylor worked his way toward the top of the leaderboard, Thurmond started to realize the 26-year-old was in a position to become the first Husky to win on the PGA Tour during the coach’s tenure, the first since George Bayer won an event in 1960.
“I was reminded that it hadn’t happened yet,” Thurmond said. “I hadn’t really thought about it.”
Watching it unfold on TV, Thurmond started to realize, “This is a really big deal.”
After winning the event by two strokes to become the first Canadian-born citizen to win on the PGA Tour since Mike Weir in 2007, Taylor told PGATour.com his 6-under 66 final round was a “whirlwind.”
“I’m kind of in shock,” he said. “It’s surreal.”
Back in Washington, Thurmond spent Sunday spreading the word about what was unfolding in Jackson, Miss.
“Nick’s got it going,” Thurmond said, recounting his text messages. “Hopefully he can finish well. That would be big.”
Taylor made history for the Huskies by claiming a win in his 13th PGA event.
“It’s a huge win for Canada,” Thurmond said. “It’s a huge win for us, because it was our first and he’s a legend.
“There has been an outpouring from everyone in terms of support for Nick. He is so universally admired and liked. Anybody that knows him at all really, really likes him. He’s just a good guy.”
Thurmond and Taylor traded texts and voicemails during and after the tournament. In one message, Taylor told his former coach, “This definitely couldn’t have happened without you.”
Humble and grateful, Taylor makes sure those around him share in his success.
“It’s just cool that the first thing he wanted to say is it wouldn’t have happened without you,” Thurmond said. “That’s not true. He would have done it without me, but that’s how he makes people feel.”
The win was important for Taylor. It was special for Thurmond. It was meaningful for everyone close to the men’s golf program.
“So many people do so much for the guys we have in our program to provide them with opportunities and make them feel like these things are possible,” Thurmond said. “It is a victory for all donors, past players and fans of Husky golf. It’s pretty cool. Hopefully there will be a lot more.”