As he gradually moves up the PGA TOUR University ranks, Graysen Huff keeps a keen focus on only the things he can control – a lesson well learned after the Auburn senior’s plans were thrown out the window last season due to COVID-19.
Before the pandemic, Huff had hit his stride, being recognized as the SEC Golfer of the Week in late February. He was among the senior leaders of a star-studded Auburn team that had won three of their last four tournaments.
“It was a whirlwind of emotions,” Huff reflected of that time. “We definitely had our eyes set on the SEC. Our team had just shot a tournament-low in the final round to capture the title at the Tiger Invitational and we were literally waiting for the bus to take us to the next tournament in Florida. We ended up waiting for six hours. We went from thinking, well, we possibly won’t play in this event, to our season is going to be canceled. I thought I was done with collegiate golf. I had plans of turning professional after last season and I felt blindsided.”
While many of his teammates returned home once classes went virtual, Huff stayed in Alabama, intent on training as much as possible, as safely as possible. Then, in the beginning of June, the PGA TOUR announced the debut of PGA TOUR University, designed to strengthen and elevate the path to the PGA TOUR.
“It was really cool to see my name on that (rankings) list, along with (Jovan) Rebula’s,” Huff said. “In fact, I knew everyone on that list. Like on the TOUR, we’ve been competing against each other week in and week out over the years. There’s this mutual respect among us and often even friendships built.”
Huff currently sits at No. 21 on the PGA TOUR University standings, just six spots away from securing membership on one of the International Tours. The goal, of course, would be to finish among the top five and receive Korn Ferry Tour membership.
“Because of the pandemic, the NCAA granted spring sports another year of eligibility,” Huff said. “This allows us one more shot to prove ourselves at the collegiate level, before having to go and fight for TOUR membership and exemptions as any other amateur golfer does.”
As the summer started, Huff moved in with Rebula, one of his closest friends, and they spent the next few months playing in as many events as possible.
“Jovan is a great guy. He makes me better without even knowing; and I’d like to think that I make him better,” Huff said of Rebula, who is No. 10 in the PGA TOUR University rankings. “We are definitely competitors, but we will always be friends, as well. Having someone there that can push you, it builds a bond that not a lot of people get a chance to have.”
The SEC Championship was a perfect example of this. Huff and Rebula were tied for the top spot at the end of the regular competition. In the playoff, however, Rebula ended up edging out Huff to take home the title.