Person of the Week: D.J. Gregory

D.J. Gregory set a goal to walk every round, every hole of the PGA golf tour.

November 14, 2008, 2:48 PM

Nov. 14, 2008&#151; -- D.J. Gregory's journey began with challenges. Born with cerebral palsy, underdeveloped lungs and his legs entangled, Gregory was told that he would never walk.

Doctors told Gregory's parents about his future in blunt terms.

"I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life," Gregory said. "And my dad and my mom, both my parents, wouldn't take that for an answer."

For the first few years of his life, Gregory could only crawl around the house. He had endured five surgeries on his legs by the time he entered first grade.Eventually, Gregory learned to walk with a cane.

"For me, a challenge would be something that possibly nobody would think I could do, but in my own mind, I know I could do it," Gregory said.

Like most kids, Gregory grew up loving sports, especially golf.

Watch the full feature on D.J. Gregory on 'E:60,' Nov. 17, at 11 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.

"The low point was that ... he's really into sports, and he couldn't actually play," said his mother. "He couldn't play basketball or football, but he can play golf."

Nine-year-old Gregory picked up the sport and taught himself a one-handed swing, using his other hand to balance on his cane. He followed the professional golf tours with a passion.

For Gregory, golf was a constant, and from his passion came an idea. Though he couldn't compete professionally, there was one thing he could do: walk. He set a goal to walk every hole of every round of every event on the 2008 PGA tour.

"What I kept telling him is there's not a player out here that walks every round of every tournament," said his father, Don Gregory. "There's nobody. I mean, nobody does this."

The PGA Tour gave Gregory his chance to walk every tournament. Each week he shadowed a different player along the course, interviewing them and writing a blog about his experience.

Striving to walk 44 tournaments in 45 weeks, across more than 900 miles, Gregory persevered, defying expectations.

"His toes overlap," his father said. "So the pressure and all is unbelievable."

Gregory had to put seven or eight Band-Aids on his feet to minimize the blisters and impact from all the walking.

"I'm going to fall; it's just the way it is," Gregory said. "I'm going to do it. So you know what? You get back up, and you learn from your mistakes, and you don't do it again."

Gregory's determination inspired those he came across on the tour.

"How can you see a kid struggle around the golf course, and then you're out there complaining playing golf?" said Kenny Perry, a PGA golfer who developed a bond with Gregory, encouraging him to push forward. "I mean, it just really changed my perspective about my life, and about my golf game and about what I was doing."

On Nov. 9, after 11 months, Gregory completed his year-long mission, walking more for more than 180 rounds, 3,256 holes, and 988 miles.

"I will have achieved my goal -- something I wanted to do," Gregory said. "I'll have achieved my goal."

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