At first blush, Peter Malnati is the typical journeyman pro. He turned pro in 2009 and has spent the aughts bouncing between the PGA Tour and minor-league Web.com circuit. A Tour win at the 2015 Sanderson Farm Championship gave Malnati, 30, a modicum of job security, but he begins the upcoming wraparound season once again having to fight for his job. There are a lot of Peter Malnatis on Tour: pleasant, hard-working pros who toil in the shadows, largely anonymous to the fans and media who fixate on the game’s biggest names.
Last Sunday, Malnati decided to step out of the shadows into crossfire of our culture wars. Upset by President Trump’s “son of a bitch” comment and knowing that that a polarizing response was coming from the NFL players who were targeted, Manati posted on his Twitter feed an impassioned, thoughtful statement about the ongoing controversy. He wrote: So when players take a knee today during the national anthem, and the gut reaction of so many people is to call them a “son of a bitch,” I ask you, what do you stand for? As for me, I stand for freedom. I stand for “justice for all.” I stand for equality, for empathy and for compassion.” Given the silence of every other player in the game, it was a particularly powerful sentiment.
I spoke with Malnati on Monday night, as he was still processing the strong reaction to his comments.