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Young golf fan's legacy lives on at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

The special 7-year-old superfan has had a tremendous impact on the golf community, especially Rickie Fowler.

"It's an emotional week but it's also very lifting," said Jim Connell, Griffin's dad.

For Jim Connell, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is about much more than golf.

"Every year would culminate with this week," said Connell.

It’s a reminder of his son, Griffin, because nobody loved golf like him.

“He always rallied so he could make it out here to the Phoenix Open," said Connell.

After he was born with a rare airway disorder, doctors gave Griffin a 10 percent chance of survival. He defied those odds, in part thanks to golf and this tournament.

“It kept him going. It gave him an opportunity to look forward to something," said Connell.

After fighting for seven years, Griffin passed away just days before the Phoenix Open in 2018. Last year, Rickie Fowler dedicated his play to his young friend.

“Griffin was a special kid. We had a good time with him in the years that we got to spend with him out here," said Rickie Fowler.

But this year, although Griffin is gone, his spirit is still alive. Now, his parents have started the Fore Griffin Foundation to provide opportunities and support for other kids like Griffin.

“When Griffin was born, I think it was always something in the back of our minds. We always wondered what doors these would open for us to help others," said Connell.

As for Fowler, he may not have Griffin by his side, but he does have Griffin’s brother Cameron bringing him luck working as his sign bearer Friday.

“He's always going to be with us. We know he's watching us this week. He's a special guy. He definitely touched a lot of people's lives," said Fowler.