How Sam Humphreys overcame one of the difficult faculty careers ever
The school-golf careers of many seniors across the nation got here to a sudden finish on March 12 when the NCAA determined to cancel all remaining athletics due to the COVID-19 pandemic. GolfChannel.com will spotlight a few of these seniors and their tales.
Sam Humphreys has seen all of it throughout his faculty golf profession.
Receiving an 11th-hour scholarship.
His workforce folding after his freshman season.
Discovering out he had most cancers.
Beating the illness, just for his senior 12 months to be minimize quick due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I believe I might need extra trials than different folks have had, however everybody has their very own trials,” mentioned the Edmond, Oklahoma, native. “You simply should hold a optimistic mindset and have religion, succeed and have enjoyable each single day since you by no means know what’s going to occur.
“… As a lot because it sucks, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Even previous to stepping foot on a university campus, Humphreys had bother cracking the beginning 5 at powerhouse Edmond (Okla.) North Excessive. It wasn’t for lack of expertise; the workforce Humphreys’ senior 12 months featured a handful of Division I gamers, together with Nick Heinen, Hayden Wooden, Austin Eckroat and Tyson Reeder, who would all go on to play at Oklahoma State, and Griffin Pierce, who headed south to play at Oklahoma.
“It was like being on a university workforce earlier than faculty,” Humphreys mentioned. “Out of any golf workforce I’ve ever been on, even in faculty, that was essentially the most aggressive golf workforce I’ve ever been on.”
Overshadowed, Humphreys did not obtain a scholarship supply till the day earlier than the early signing interval started in November 2013, when he acquired a name from then-Tulsa head coach Invoice Brogden. Staying near house was essential for Humphreys, so he accepted.
After redshirting his first 12 months, Humphreys surged to the highest of the rebuilding Golden Hurricanes’ lineup. Life was good. Little did he know what was coming. Nobody did. That March, just a few weeks earlier than the convention championship, Brogden known as a workforce assembly. The gamers figured Brogden, who was retiring on the season’s finish, was saying his alternative.
As they filed into Brogden’s workplace, Humphreys and his teammates began to get texts and see tweets that Tulsa had minimize its males’s golf program.
“I simply went house and I had no clue the place I used to be going for the entire summer time,” Humphreys mentioned.
Whereas again at his house course, Oak Tree Nationwide, a buddy tipped him off about J.W. VanDenBorn and the College of Missouri-Kansas Metropolis. After a brief telephone name, Humphreys was off to his subsequent journey with the Roos.
“Sam simply wanted a bunch to imagine in him,” VanDenBorn mentioned. “Sam is a fighter and a competitor, a gamer. He all the time has one thing to show.”
As a sophomore, Humphreys began sluggish however completed T-13 on the WAC Championship, the place the Roos positioned second. Life was once more trying brilliant for Humphreys.
“That led into the very best summer time and 12 months of my life,” mentioned Humphreys, who certified for U.S. Open sectionals that June. “I used to be enjoying actually good golf after which it simply led in to that faculty season, and that’s after I performed the very best golf of my life.”
Humphreys’ junior season featured a career-low 66, one top-10, two top-20s and a MAC Championship title for UMKC, which afforded Humphrey the possibility to play an NCAA regional at Jimmie Austin Golf Membership in Norman, Oklahoma, simply 40 miles from the place he grew up.
The season ended there, and Humphreys once more headed again house for the summer time. A couple of weeks later, whereas making ready for the state’s stroke-play championship in Tulsa, Humphreys stepped on the face of a membership to choose it up, as he’d finished many occasions earlier than, when the shaft rocketed into Humphreys’ groin.
The ache by no means subsided.
“You could have testicular most cancers.” Humphreys will always remember these phrases as his dad, Craig, simply off the telephone with Humphreys’ physician, instructed him to arrange for surgical procedure the following day.
Within the blink of an eye fixed, life modified for Humphreys, who a day earlier gutted out a T-7 end at Tulsa Nation Membership. As an alternative of staring down a monster par 5 on the golf course, Humphreys discovered himself in a head-on battle with most cancers, one thing most 22-year-olds do not even take into consideration.
“It is a name you by no means anticipate to obtain from one among your gamers, and definitely not one you’re ever ready for,” VanDenBorn mentioned. “I simply bear in mind feeling so helpless for Sam. He had already been by means of greater than most in his faculty profession, and now he was confronted with a most cancers prognosis coming into his last season.”
Humphreys went by means of the preliminary surgical procedure on June 14, 2018, with no problems. A month later, he was again enjoying golf. However that solely lasted just a few weeks. His newest CAT scan revealed the most cancers had unfold to his lymph nodes. Humphreys now needed to endure chemotherapy.
“I wouldn’t want that on anyone,” Humphreys mentioned. “It’s like having the flu and being hungover on the similar time. … I might get up and drink pickle juice and return to sleep to assist me cease throwing up whereas I used to be sleeping.”
However the ever-positive Humphreys clawed his manner again. Lower than 5 months after surgical procedure, check outcomes revealed Humphreys was cancer-free. He had overwhelmed testicular most cancers.
“I by no means heard Sam complain or say ‘why me’ as soon as,” mentioned Craig Humphreys. “I noticed Sam studying that there’s extra to life than golf. He skilled God’s therapeutic, rising nearer to God alongside the way in which, and I believe he discovered to understand life extra.”
Profitable the battle in opposition to most cancers was not simple. Humphreys returned to UMKC that January to begin his spring semester. “Simply to really feel regular once more,” he mentioned, however his physique was nonetheless recovering from the chemo.
Humphreys needed to take a medical redshirt.
When he rejoined the workforce within the fall for one final run with the Roos, Humphreys had labored onerous to attempt to regain the kind he had the earlier summer time. However most cancers had compelled him into the deepest of holes, and Humphreys was nonetheless making an attempt to dig his manner utterly out when he didn’t qualify for the workforce’s first two occasions this season.
He returned at Quail Valley and tied for 53rd. The subsequent occasion, he practically cracked the highest 30. At UMKC’s spring opener, the Border Olympics, he shared 90th. The comeback wasn’t going to be simple, however Humphreys, like he had finished many occasions earlier than, was decided to not hand over.
This time, although, he had no alternative. On March 12, Humphreys and his teammates have been making ready for his or her subsequent match, the Louisiana Classics, because the COVID-19 outbreak continued to worsen.
“We’re pondering we’re nonetheless going to have our common season,” Humphreys mentioned. “The Louisiana match emailed our coach and mentioned we’re nonetheless on for this weekend. So we’re pondering we’re nonetheless at the least going to have our common season.”
Then got here the gut-wrenching information: the NCAA had determined to cancel the remainder of their season, and successfully the ultimate months of Humphreys’ faculty profession.
Whereas seniors might doubtlessly obtain an additional 12 months of eligibility, per an NCAA announcement, Humphreys would not need to keep for what can be a seventh 12 months. He is able to strive his hand professionally, regardless of the uncertainty on the subsequent stage. With most tournaments within the subsequent couple of months being canceled or postponed, Humphreys hopes to play on the All Professional Tour, which continues to be holding occasions.
As has been the case for a lot of his novice profession, Humphreys would not know what the long run holds. However he is been by means of the wringer, and he is able to sort out no matter comes subsequent.
“My complete factor all through all of that is you simply should be optimistic all through all of it. A more durable mindset is a optimistic mindset,” Humphreys mentioned. “That’s the one manner I acquired by means of most cancers. That’s the one manner I acquired by means of not even figuring out the place I used to be going after Tulsa. That’s the one manner I acquired by means of not figuring out the place I used to be going to signal till the day earlier than I used to be going to signal.
“It’s the one manner I’m getting by means of it proper now.”