Muscular dystrophy (MD) can be a devastating illness, robbing people of their independence, mobility, and in severe cases, the ability to speak. But MD is no match for passion for a favorite hobby, pastime, or sport. David Finn, who has MD, is an intense golf fanatic—so much so that he travels around the nation to watch PGA golf tournaments, so he can enjoy his favorite game as often as humanly possible.
Of all the amazing athletes who have mastered the game, Phil Mickelson stands tall as David’s favorite golfer, and the recent U.S. Open was a very special time for David. This year Mickelson invited the 21-year-old and his father John to be his special guests on Sunday, June 22, inside the ropes. Mickelson may not have turned in the winning performance for which he hoped, but he certainly made the day for 12-year-old David.
Because of his muscular dystrophy, David is confined to a wheelchair. Despite this, he has pursued his passion for golf, making a lot of friends along the way. The pair met Mickelson at the PGA Championship tournament in 2005. At that tournament, Mickelson approached David, thanked him for attending, and gave him a signed glove. He took the time to be sure that David would have his photo taken with the trophy.
Thus began a long acquaintance. Mickelson said, “They have gotten pretty close to me and Bones (Mickelson’s caddy) over the years. They’re just wonderful people, and I love seeing guys like that support the game and love coming out.”
David’s list of celebrity acquaintances from his travels over the years is nothing short of astounding, and even the most avid celebrity follower would be envious of the names he’s racked up, which include not only Mickelson, but golfer Hunter Mahan, NBA-great Michael Jordan, President George W. Bush and many others.
David loves both men’s and women’s golf—he just follows the sport. John Finn, David’s father, enjoys the trips with his son immensely and doesn’t mind navigating a wheelchair over the difficult terrain on the golf courses in hot and humid Southern climates. It means that he gets to spend real quality time with his son, and he savors every single moment.
“When you have something terrible happen to you,” John says, “you can do one of two things. You can accept it and make the best of it, or you can let it defeat you. You can see what choice we made.”
In the video below, David and his dad are following pro golfer Hunter Mahan on the course. If you could follow any star athlete from game to game or tournament to tournament, who would it be?