Why local pro Daniel Summerhays came out of retirement ahead of Utah Championship
Farmington, UT (July 26, 2021) — Daniel Summerhays likes to joke that he’s retired as much as Michael Jordan, Brett Favre or any number of on-again, off-again professional athletes.
He’s probably got a ways to go to catch the NBA legend or Green Bay Packers gunslinger who extended his career with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.
But he might not be too far off. And most importantly for fans of local golf, Summerhays is back.
After initially retiring following the 2020 Utah Championship, the 37-year-old former BYU golfer will tee it up again in next week’s Korn Ferry Tour stop in his home state.
“If I could play this one tournament for the rest of my life, I’d do it,” said Summerhays, who will tee off Aug. 2-8 on his home course at Oakridge Country Club. “It’s part of me, and these guys have opened so many doors for me.
“I love golf, and golf has been really good to me. I’m looking forward to giving back however I can to the game.”
Summerhays qualified on points, making easier the task of handing out sponsors’ exemptions for the event that will take place at Oakridge Country Club, where Summerhays’ family have been members for years.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done, if I had to vote in Danny,” Utah Sports Commission CEO Jeff Robbins joked during a press conference Monday where he appeared with Summerhays and former BYU golfer Patrick Fishburn ahead of the event’s 30th season.
Summerhays shot a pair of blistering rounds on the weekend last year in Farmington to force a three-way playoff at the Utah Championship before bowing out on the first hole. Kyle Jones, won the title with a final-round 68 and a birdie on the second playoff hole to win his first career title on Tour.
Summerhays will give a jolt of local star power to Korn Ferry Tour stop that will welcome back spectators for the first time since closing the Oakridge grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago. Other local golfers will be available to qualify this weekend, but one returning local won’t be Preston Summerhays, the nephew of Danny who is playing an amateur tournament in Michigan next before heading off to college at Arizona State.
The longtime PGA Tour pro was content to ride off into the sunset, and even took a job at his alma mater Davis High School, where he taught leadership principles, sports marketing and lifetime activities and was head coach of the Class 6A state runner-up Darts’ boys golf program.
“Now I’m retired from that; I’m a bright, shining burnt-out star in that,” Summerhays joked. “But I gave it my all and learned so much from it. I just don’t think it was my best fit for my current state in life. I wanted to do it so well that I put so much time in it.”
Summerhays dipped his toe back into competitive golf at the BMW Championship pro-am, and even made the cut on the Korn Ferry tour’s most recent TPC Colorado Championship. He earned full status on the Korn Ferry Tour with his second-place finish in Utah last year, and were it not for surgery to repair a broken left navicular bone in January — a foot fracture on which he played 72 holes at Oakridge a year ago — he might have given more tournaments a try.
But he’s ready to give it another go.
“I still love to play,” Summerhays said. “Do I want to continue to try and play full time in the future? I can’t tell you that yet … but I am so looking forward to this coming week at the Utah Championship, and I’ll play Omaha the week before the Utah Open at Riverside.
“From there, school will start for my kids, and I’ll take some time to figure out what my next step is.”
That left three spots for sponsors’ exemptions, which Robbins announced Monday. The first went to former Oklahoma golfer Quade Cummins, a former NCAA first-team All-American coming off the 3M Open last week on the PGA Tour.
North Carolina native and Ohio University grad Peyton White will take another sponsors’ exemption in Utah after earning full-time status on the PGA Tour Canada.
Andre Gonzales will return to the state of his 2014 Utah Championship on sponsors’ exemption seven years after the Olympia, Washington native’s last career victory.
“He’s one of the good ones,” Summerhays said of Gonzales. “They don’t come any better than him.”