If you’re going to make a living on the PGA Tour, you have to know how to make a save.
The up-and-down out of a greenside bunker. The par save from the trees when most of us average hackers would make double-bogey or worse.
Former Zurich Classic of New Orleans champion Jason Bohn got the save of his life earlier this season while playing in the Honda Classic in Florida — and it indirectly saved his mother’s life as well.
The cold figures of PGA Tour statistics are woefully inadequate when it comes to telling what happened to Bohn that week back in February: 71-72—W/D. It means he shot a 71 in the first round and a 72 in the second then withdrew from the tournament.
Bohn didn’t just pull out because of a pulled muscle or a bad back. He was hauled away from PGA National that Friday in an ambulance after suffering a heart attack.
Doctors discovered he had 99 percent blockage in his left anterior descending artery. That kind of blockage is commonly known as “the widowmaker.”
Bohn, only 42, had his artery widened with a stent and was put on an aggressive cardio rehab program. Remarkably, he missed just six weeks, returning to the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, two weeks ago.
Bohn tied for 69th, a modest finish by conventional standards. Considering where he’d come from, it had to feel like a major championship victory.
“I was very happy I got to play four rounds,” Bohn said Tuesday. “That was obviously a big start. The more rounds you can play is good, even though it was a challenging weekend for me.”
Bohn has gone through the range of second-chance emotions — a golfer might refer to it a mulligan — that one has after a near-death experience like his.
“The little things — hugging my kids, telling my wife I love her, calling my parents and telling them I love them,” Bohn said. “Those have become big things to me.”
The biggest thing to come out of Bohn’s heart attack was the fact it prompted his mother, Carol, to get her heart checked.
The results were almost as shocking as Jason’s diagnosis.
“She’s a very healthy woman, age 72. All her lipids looked good, everything was really good,” Bohn said.
“She went in for a stress test ... and they wouldn’t let her out of the hospital.”
Carol Bohn had triple-bypass surgery two Mondays ago. Everything went well, and she’s back home resting now, no doubt eager to catch her son on TV in the Zurich Classic.
“If it saved my mother’s life,” Bohn said, “it would probably be the greatest thing that could ever happen to me.”
Bohn said his game still feels rusty, but he knew he was getting back in a proper frame of mind at the RBC Heritage when he stopped admiring the scenery and started getting irritated with his game again.
“I told my caddie, ‘I don’t know where my game is; we’re just going to have some fun,’” he said. “Saturday, I was cussing the game already.
“It didn’t take long for me to get the frustrations back that golf can drive you to.”
Bohn was enjoying a great season before his heart attack.
He opened the 2015-16 campaign with a tie for third in the Frys.com Open in California. A week later, he tied for second behind former LSU golfer Smylie Kaufman at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. In November, he lost in a playoff to Graeme McDowell in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico.
Despite the health-imposed gap in his schedule, Bohn still ranks 29th on the FedEx Cup points list, keeping him on track to finish among the top 30 players who get to compete in the season-ending Tour Championship in September.
Of course, being back in New Orleans brings back memories of another week in his career, the week he won the Zurich Classic in 2010.
The thoughts of that victory, one of Bohn’s two on the PGA Tour, coupled with his health scare made it an emotional trip as his shuttle van turned off Lapalco Boulevard and onto the TPC Louisiana grounds Monday.
“I got the chill bumps,” Bohn said. “It’s weird when you come back to a place where you have won, even though it’s been a long time. It’s been six years, but I remember every shot and everything. I’m just really glad that I could have that experience again.
“I mean, I love the great state of Louisiana, to be honest with you. It’s one of my favorite places that we come.”
It would be an incredible story if Bohn could win here again this week, one of those beyond a Hollywood script kind of happenings.
That almost doesn’t matter, though. He already got a win coming through the gates, just being able to continue his life and career. Just to still be with the people, all the people, that he loves.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter,@RabalaisAdv.