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Hunter Mahan of the U.S. tees off on the 17th hole at the Canadian Open golf tournament at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, July 26, 2013. (FRED THORNHILL/REUTERS)
Hunter Mahan of the U.S. tees off on the 17th hole at the Canadian Open golf tournament at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, July 26, 2013. (FRED THORNHILL/REUTERS)

In praise of golfer Hunter Mahan choosing family over $1-million prize Add to ...

Hunter Mahan made a decision on the weekend that, despite some negative reaction, was smart for him and should be celebrated.

He left his lead spot at the RBC Canadian Open to fly to his wife’s side when he heard she was going into labour.

Baby Zoe wasn’t expected for another month, so it caught Mahan a bit by surprise. Without a second thought, he was on a plane headed for Dallas to be present for the birth of his first child.

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And we should all applaud – not berate him as so many are doing online.

Sure, there are reasons why this isn’t the craziest thing a professional golfer has ever done. We could argue that Mahan, who’s made $2-million (U.S.) this year on tour and $24-million over the course of his career, really didn’t need RBC’s $1-million from the tournament to support his family.

It’s true that not all people have the luxury of walking away from potentially life-changing money, but that still doesn’t give us the right to judge him for deeming his family more important than a golf tournament.

On Sunday, Mahan tweeted: “What a whirlwind of a day, but I'm happy to announce the birth of my daughter Zoe Olivia Mahan born at 3:26 am. Thanks for all the support!

“Both Baby and Mom are doing great. Thanks to all to my sponsors who appreciate what's important in life and all my fans for being Awesome!”

It’s refreshing to see a golfer in the spotlight who cares about and values family.

Goodness knows the sport needs it.

Also, Brandt Snedeker, the eventual winner on Sunday, isn’t complaining – he announced that he would be getting Zoe Mahan a nice baby gift after winning the tournament.

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