Morgan Hoffman returns to Harbor Town after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy

When professional golfer Morgan Hoffman was diagnosed, at age 27, with incurable muscular dystrophy in 2016, he quit the elite PGA Tour and disappeared into the depths of the Costa Rican jungle.

This week, after five years in the desert – literally – where he healed himself by experimenting with eating 800 grapes a day to drink his own urine, Hoffman, 32, will make his long-awaited return to the PGA Tour. On Thursday, he prepares for the RBC Heritage Tournament in Hilton Head, SC.

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The once-conservative preppy has become a fan of barefoot, shirtless hallucinogens – think Tarzan with an iron 2.

Hoffman is not your average golfer. Born and raised in New Jersey, he was, before his diagnosis, the next big thing in the game. Tall, lean, and handsome, he was a college golf star at Oklahoma State University, where he played alongside the PGA Tour star Rickie Fowler.

Turning pro in 2011, Hoffman soon found himself being pursued by sponsors and equipment manufacturers with pending checks. He has signed with Polo Ralph Lauren, Mastercard, Breitling and Titleist. With all that money in the bank, he also got his pilot’s license, buying a Piper Mirage plane to fly to tournaments.

He was also being chased by women – lots of women.

Morgan Hoffman was diagnosed with incurable muscular dystrophy in 2016.Source: Getty Images

“Every week there were three or four new girls. I was getting their numbers while I was playing. I used to ask my caddy to give them balls with my number on them, to go out every night,” he recalled in a recent interview with Golf Digest magazine.

At the 2014 BMW Championship in Cherry Hills, Colorado—a typical tournament for him—Hoffman finished strong, taking third place and a check for $544,000. “I had a BMW i8 that week. They were just giving us this shit,” he said. “We went to strip clubs; we were picking up chicks. I had three girls in this two-seater car. Life has changed.

That’s an understatement.

It was during his senior year at OSU that Hoffman first noticed something was wrong with his health. Although he felt no pain and his golf game was in great shape, he noticed a loss of muscle mass in his chest.

Three years have passed. By then, he was an established PGA Tour player, but his weakened pectoral muscles were now slowing his golf swing. An expert speculated that it was a trapped nerve. The Cleveland Clinic was blocked, as was the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He had CT scans, electromyography (EMG), and electrocardiograms (EKG), but no response.

In 2016, Hoffman was finally diagnosed with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, an incurable disease resulting in muscle wasting. The best he could expect, doctors said, was to try to maintain his mobility for as long as possible.

“I’m like, ‘What am I doing?’ He tells me I can go to therapy, but that’s about it,” Hoffman said. “It’s just going to get worse. I’m like, ‘Is that it?’ »

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In 2018, however, Hoffman took matters into his own hands. Desperate to find a way to manage his illness, he traveled to Nepal and lived off the grid for three months. It was there that he discovered urine therapy, experimenting with deep cleansing diets where he consumed no water or food for 10 days and instead only drank a cup of his own urine twice a day. day.

From Nepal, Hoffman and his wife, Chelsea, headed to the Nicoya Peninsula in western Costa Rica, an area with some of the longest and healthiest people living in the world. There, with the help of a local shaman, he underwent a four-day Amazonian treatment using ayahuasca, the intoxicating psychoactive brew containing the hallucinogen DMT, an experience he says opened his eyes. eyes on what could be achieved through alternative medicine.

Amid visions of vivid geometric patterns, gentle elephants and giant butterflies, Hoffman felt like nature was “injected into me like gasoline… It was beautiful,” he said. “I felt like the disease was coming out of me.”

This week, Hoffman was asked about the experience at a press conference in Hilton Head. “A lot of people call some of the things I got into hallucinogens, but the way I see them is so different,” he said. “I think it’s like a back door or a side door to different dimensions or different planes. I haven’t really got it yet; I still ask myself questions and I try to understand everything.

Hoffmann returns to the PGA Tour at RBC Heritage this week.Source: Getty Images

The Hoffmans bought a mountainside house in the jungle in Novara, Costa Rica, with an ocean view but no doors or windows (there are screens to keep bugs out). His next door neighbour, the golfer said, is a Spanish kung fu expert who rides around on horseback, dressed in a robe, with a sword in his hand and a joint in his mouth.

Hoffman’s healing continues; breathing, meditation, yoga – his days are like an endless retreat. He has given up all animal products and often tries raw diets. Once, over a period of 17 days, he ate only grapes, consuming over 800 on some days.

Hoffman also worked on his strength and, for the first time in years, can flex his pectoral muscles. “My right pectoral was the worst – it sort of went all the way down to my ribs where all you could see was bone and now when I put my hand here and flex I can feel it again” , did he declare. “It’s very, very exciting.”

His progress has been such that he is determined to help others benefit from what he has learned along the way. He now has the Morgan Hoffman Foundation and plans to build his own wellness center in Costa Rica, the working name being Nekawa – “wake up” backwards.

Hoffman still has three starts on a medical extension to his PGA Tour card due for use this year and hopes to perform well enough in those events to keep his playing rights for next year. He then intends to travel to a limited number of tournaments in Costa Rica, with the idea that any money earned will help fund the new center.

“It might be considered crazy,” he said this week, “but I think that’s kind of what most people see me anyway.”

This originally appeared in the NY Post and has been republished with consent.

Michael C. Ford