Pro To Make PGA Tour Return After Living In Costa Rica Jungle

After a debilitating disease took hold of his career, a former World Amateur No.1 took matters into his own hands. Now he's back

Morgan Hoffmann hits a bunker shot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Morgan Hoffmann returns to the PGA Tour for the first time since 2019, where he will tee it up alongside five of the top-10 players in the world at the RBC Heritage.

Hoffmann has three starts left on a major medical extension following the diagnosis of muscular dystrophy; an incurable and genetic muscle disorder in which the muscles of the face, shoulder blades and upper arms are among the most affected. In Hoffmann’s case, the deterioration of his pectoral muscle significantly reduced his quality of life and caused a drop of over 10mph in swing speed. 

After the official diagnosis in 2016, the American began working with specialist Doctors and, in his own words, they had failed him. He took inspiration from those already suffering with the disease and found that some had made drastic dietary changes that halted, and in some cases even reversed, symptoms. 

The former World Amateur No.1 turned his back on the PGA Tour and embarked on a self-improvement quest that saw him living in the mountains in the jungle of Costa Rica - an area attributed to health and longevity of life. Hoffmann has since given up all animal products and embarked on a raw diet where nothing is processed and nothing is cooked. 

In a feature with Golf Digest, Hoffmann recalled tales of eating only grapes for a 17-day period prior to disembarking on his Costa Rican adventure. He joked, "Each morning I’d go to the Whole Foods in Jupiter right when it opened to clear out the grape section,” he remembers with a laugh, “and they’d be like: ‘There’s the grape guy!’ They knew me pretty well".

The American, who is a private person by nature, went public with his diagnosis in 2017 where he penned a heartfelt open letter in the Players’ Tribune. He revealed the extent the injury had on his life and career as well as his determination to overcome the condition. He wrote: “This disease won’t keep me from achieving my dream on the PGA Tour”. 

The 32-year old is welcomed back with open arms this week and it would seem his new way of living has given him one more chance on the PGA Tour. The American needs 238 FedEx Cup points in his next three starts before the end of the season in order to regain full status. 

In August 2021, Hoffmann was awarded the PGA Tour Courage Award for his work with the Morgan Hoffmann Foundation, which helps those suffering from debilitating diseases. The award is presented to a player who, through courage and perseverance, has overcome extraordinary adversity, such as personal tragedy, debilitating injury or illness, to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the game of golf. Introduced in 2012, Hoffmann is the fourth recipient of the Award, joining Erik Compton, Jarod Lyle and Gene Sauers.

James Hibbitt
James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.