At some point this week, Kevin Hall will step onto the tee box at No. 18 at Pebble Beach Golf Links. For Hall, 23, the world has been silent for more than 20 years because of a severe case of H-flu meningitis that he contracted at the age of two. While Hall was lucky enough to survive the virus, his ability to hear didn’t.
This week, Hall will be making his third appearance on the PGA Tour when he tees it up for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Last summer, Hall made his debut on the tour, playing in the U.S. Bank Championship on a sponsor’s exemption.
Hall, who also played in five Nationwide Tour events last season (his best finish was a tie for 30th at the Xerox championship) and is sponsored by Phonak Hearing Systems, communicates by relying on an intricate system that includes using his Blackberry, reading lips, gesturing and simply writing notes on a piece of paper.
“Most of the time I try to read lips. Then again, I try to communicate any way I can,” said Hall, who stated the five things he’d most like to hear are his parents’ voices, applause on the golf course, music, laughter and the sound of a golf ball rattling in the cup after a good putt. “One of my biggest challenges in being deaf has mainly been trying to understand different types of people. Some people are easy to understand, some are not.”