The American Pat Perez, who finished the first round three strokes off the lead, was one of the players wearing a leftover yellow ribbon. So was Ian Poulter of England, who had breakfast with Perez before Thursday’s round.

The pair struggled for words, Perez said.

“You just don’t even know what to say. It’s so horrible,” he said, adding, “For me, getting ready to have a daughter and start a family, I can’t even imagine it.”

“I heard so many times, ‘He was such a great guy,’ ” Perez continued. “I wish now I’d gotten to know him.”

I was contacted by The New York Times a couple weeks before the PGA Championship was to be held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis and asked if I would be willing to help with their tournament coverage.

It was one of the greatest honors of my career.

I worked four days from dawn until late evening reporting, writing and editing stories that changed by the minute. This was the most meaningful piece I did and the one that got the full treatment in the paper and online. It was a heartbreaking story and one I carry with me still.

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