The American Junior Golf Association presented Tobin Niblett, 16, of Austin, with the Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award Sunday at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet at PGA National Resort & Spa. The honor is bestowed each year to one junior golfer who displays exemplary sportsmanship and integrity in the game of golf.
“This is very special and I am very honored to get this award,” Niblett said. “It was very unexpected and getting this is just really special to me.”
Through his own trials and tribulations with health and golf, Tobin realized the importance of dedication and perseverance. When Tobin was younger, he suffered an injury that resulted in one leg growing longer than the other. With surgery and extremely intense physical therapy, Tobin found his passion to give back on his way back to the golf course.
Through the Leadership Links Birdies For Charity program, Tobin has committed to raising $5,000 for The Paley Foundation financial assistance program. The foundation’s ability to provide financial assistance can be the deciding factor for a family being able to afford treatment for their child. In 2013, Tobin’s first season back on the course after surgery, he has raised nearly $4,300 with 47 birdies.
“It’s going to be so awesome,” Tobin said about presenting a donation check to The Paley Foundation following this season. “To be able to see the expressions on those kids’ faces and just being able to help people, it’s going to be really, really great.”
While a patient at The Paley Institute, Tobin attended the 2012 Polo Golf Junior Classic to watch his friends compete in the event. After being cleared to get back on the golf course to practice, Tobin shared with one of those same friends his goal for 2013 was to compete in this year’s Polo Golf Junior Classic. When the first round of the event tees off Monday morning, Tobin will be one of the 78 boys vying for the title. This is only the beginning for Niblett, as he is already setting his goals high for 2014.
“In 2014, I hope to just keep playing my best and make it to more AJGA Invitationals.”