Mykhailo Golod: Golf neighborhood rallies to assist teenage Ukrainian golfer escape to US

However his arrival within the US — whereas it assured his security — got here at a worth.

His mom would quickly return to Ukraine to be along with his dad, who needed to stay on account of martial regulation, and his grandparents. Though Golod thinks his grandparents and mom will journey to the US, he is not sure when he’ll subsequent see his father, Oleg.

Though he appreciates his security, having the vast majority of his household again in Ukraine within the midst of Russia’s invasion of the nation has weighed closely on him.

“It’s totally devastating, however fortunately, all of them have Wi-Fi and a supply of web, meals, water, and I can nonetheless speak to them and ensure they’re protected,” he informed CNN’s Jim Sciutto. “And I do know that when every thing is over, I will positively carry them right here to be with me.”

Golod added: “My father will solely be capable of depart as soon as the martial regulation ends. And in any other case, he’ll have to remain in there and we’ll hope for the most effective.”

Mykhailo 'Misha' Golod stands for a photo in front of the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass during the final round of the Players Championship.


Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Golod and his household did what many different Ukrainians did and bunkered down in Kyiv with the hopes it will all be over quickly.

Golod informed CNN that he spent every week and a half within the Russian “bombardment” of Ukraine’s capital as a result of the “explosions weren’t that near our home.”

“However… the second we knew that the bombardment was in our city, we knew we needed to depart and get me out after which my mother and father would come again to get their mother and father out,” he defined.

And it was Golod’s ties to golf that supplied him a method into the US.

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The 15-year-old is likely one of the finest younger golfers in Ukraine and has participated in competitions around the globe.

Simply final 12 months, Golod turned the primary Ukrainian to compete in the USA Golf Affiliation’s (USGA) US Junior Newbie, which befell on the Nation Membership of North Carolina final summer time.

After a grueling 5,000-mile journey, which started in a automobile and ended when he landed in Orlando, taking roughly 54 hours, it was a visa he had obtained from enjoying in a match within the US which helped him re-enter the nation.

And safely within the US, Golod condemned what is going on again in his homeland.

“One thing that is occurring in Ukraine shouldn’t be occurring in the midst of Europe within the 21st century,” he stated. “Youngsters are dropping their houses, they’re dying, they’re dropping their lives.

“And it is devastating, and folks ought to know the reality as a result of there’s loads of pretend information going round. However in actuality, what’s occurring is the entire nation’s being destroyed. It is not demilitarization or denationalization, it is really being destroyed by (Vladimir) Putin, and it must be stopped.”

Worldwide recognition

When he was nonetheless in Kyiv, Golod’s plight started to be circulated broadly on the web after an interview with Golf Digest highlighted his and his household’s dire state of affairs.

And the interview led to members of {the golfing} neighborhood galvanizing to try to assist his state of affairs.

Jim Nugent, board member on the American Junior Golf Affiliation, and golf teacher David Leadbetter started the method of offering assist.

Nugent informed CNN Sport that studying about Golod’s story “performed to my soul just a little bit” which is why he and Leadbetter supplied their assist.

“And so I referred to as (Leadbetter) and we talked about it and he stated: ‘Properly, we have got to do one thing about this.’ And I stated: ‘What do you keep in mind?’ He stated: ‘We’ll get him out of Ukraine. We’ll get him into my academy in Orlando, Florida, and I will get him at school and he’ll start a brand new life,'” Nugent defined, saying at first he thought the plan was “a bit farfetched.”

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And so, they set about doing what they might to assist Golod and his household with their journey.

Nugent explains that he hung out on the cellphone getting monetary commitments from the USGA and the Nation Membership of North Carolina to assist his journey from Ukraine.

He additionally began a fundraising page to permit folks to donate to Golod’s trigger. On the time of writing, the web page has nearly raised $35,000.

Seeing this outpouring of assist “means the world” to Golod, says Nugent.

“I do not know that it is truthful to say that we have saved a life, however actually the arc of his life has been modified without end extra,” Nugent defined to CNN Sport.

“For me, it is simply reaffirmation of one thing that I believe is absolute. And that’s in instances of want, this recreation, this {golfing} neighborhood, as you simply referred to, at all times steps up; it at all times has, and it at all times will. And that is simply in my thoughts reaffirmation of that very absolute reality.”

Golod poses with Harold Varner III at TPC Sawgrass during the Players Championship.

Having arrived within the US, Golod spent his first few days acclimatizing, organizing a cellphone, checking account and different requirements for all times out of the country.

His mom, Vita, helped with getting her son settled in earlier than touring again to be along with her husband a number of days later.

Leadbetter and his golf academy have supplied lodging for Golod, with the younger golfer staying along with his assistant as he continues to adapt to life within the US.

Though he’s not sure about his long-term future within the US, Golod says he’ll go to varsity within the nation after ending the ultimate years of highschool there.

And Nugent believes that Golod’s talent with a golf membership will assist him and his future within the US.

“Leadbetter has seen him swing and says this child has actual potential,” he defined. “And so I believe the aim goes to be to try to use his capability to hopefully go to varsity in America and play golf. I do not know if which means a big-time faculty faculty or if you happen to’re speaking one thing smaller or extra modest.

“However he does seem to have sufficient talent to earn some type of monetary assist, monetary scholarship for an American faculty. And so, I believe that is going to be the aim.”


Golod’s life has been turned the wrong way up along with his transfer the world over.

However makes an attempt are being made to make his time within the US as satisfying as attainable given the state of affairs.

After the PGA Tour examine Golod’s story, they organized for the younger golfer to journey to the Players Championship — one in all its marquee occasions — for the ultimate day of play on Monday, March 14.

Throughout his time on the occasion, Golod met a number of the sport’s largest gamers, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and even managed to stroll with some teams contained in the ropes, providing him an unimpeded view of the best stage of golf.

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Golod described it as “the most effective day of his life.”

Golod poses with Rory McIroy during the Players Championship.

However it did not cease there. Nugent defined that Golod was lent a set of golf golf equipment — as a result of “his nonetheless have not arrived,” in accordance with Nugent — and really performed the well-known TPC Sawgrass course.

Going by means of what he has is unimaginable for many, and whereas he is protected, his household isn’t removed from his ideas.

“I am very grateful for everybody that contributed to me being right here and it is nice that I can proceed to pursue my objectives academically and athletically. However on the identical time, it’s extremely, very nerve-wracking having my entire household again in Ukraine.”

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