PGA Tour

Bermuda leader will take extra 'heart' into his bid for first PGA Tour win while honoring beloved pro who died

November 11, 2023
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Alex Noren is sporting a three-hearts pin on his hat that honors late Bermuda pro Brian Morris.

Gregory Shamus

Heading into this week’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship, Alex Noren had 161 starts registered on the PGA Tour. He’s earned a whopping $11.7 million. He’s posted 11 top-5 finishes. And yet the 41-year-old Swede had never lifted a trophy on the PGA Tour. Incredible, really, considering Noren has 11 international victories.

He’s that talented. And now Noren has another extremely good chance for a breakthrough, with maybe a little extra karma in his back pocket.

Noren goes into Sunday’s final round at Port Royal Golf Course alone at the top of the leaderboard after shooting four-under-par 67 on Saturday to reach a tournament-record 19 under through 54 holes. Trailing him by one is Camilo Villegas (65), who is rightfully a fan favorite for the tragedy with his daughter the Colombian has endured and overcome since his last victory in 2014.

Noren is among the players this week who chose to make a heartfelt statement about a person who was dear to Bermuda golf. Brian Morris, the head pro at the island’s Ocean View Golf Club, died at the age of 55 in January after a battle with cancer. In 2021, Morris got to play in his only PGA Tour event when he was given a sponsor’s exemption into the Butterfield.

Morris was known for signing his emails with the phrase “One Love,” accompanied by three colored hearts—red, golf and green. Tournament organizers decided to make pins available with the three hearts for the tour players to wear this week.

“When Brian left in January, we thought the best way that we can honor him is by putting his emblem in as many places as possible,” assistant tournament director Jevon Roberts told Bermuda’s Royal Gazette. “… We miss him, we are thinking about him and we know he is with us.”

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Michael Sims hits a shot during the Bermuda Championship.

Gregory Shamus

Morris’ cousin, Michael Sims, a professional golfer from Bermuda, was in the Butterfield and went bigger than the pins by wearing a hat with the hearts emblazoned on the front. Sims missed the cut, but was honored to represent the love for Morris.

“He exuded life. He shared a lot of love and it didn't matter if he was hard or anything on you, it all came from a place of love,” Sims told the Royal Gazette. “He wanted the best for everybody around him. He’ll forever be there.”

Not all the players in the field are wearing the pins, but Noren attached one to the side of his hat. He is relishing the chance he has on Sunday to achieve a career milestone.

“I think it's more excitement actually because I'm very happy with life in general, so wonderful family,” said Noren, who lost an overnight playoff to Jason Day in the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open. “I'm not as nervous as I would have been maybe when I was more on my own 10 years ago."