If there ever was a golf Cinderella story, it simply must be the assent of Wesley Bryan to PGA Tour Champion.
The South Carolina native has been a media darling for years, competing in the golf reality show Big Break and entertaining with his brother George with their trick shots on You Tube. The Bryan Brothers videos have been viewed by nearly 10 million people on the latter, where their “Rapid Fire” and “Range Picker Shots” are legend.
Novelty items, sure. But there is no doubt Wesley Bryan can play at golf’s highest level. He proved it at the Heritage Classic where he carded rounds of 69-67-68-67 for a 13-under-par 271 and the championship. Clutch pars on the final two holes sealed the deal over Luke Donald.
No more double takes from fans who wonder if he could really play, because he’s proved he surely has game.
What is remarkable is how quickly the transition from showman to stardom has occurred. A 2012 University of South Carolina grad, Bryan and George played in mini-tour events while perfecting their trick shot routines. Everything from George hitting a sand shot that Wesley hits in the air to a fairway a couple hundred yards away to, well, unbelievable shots from all over a driving range or golf course.
The internet was abuzz with their trick shot antics, but along the way the goal of competitive golf success was always first and foremost.
Last year saw Wesley Bryan on the Web.com Tour. There he played in 13 events, missing four cuts, but on the positive side had seven top-10 finishes and won three events, earning a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour. He posted a top-10 finish at the John Deere Classic late in the season.
This season Bryan has been remarkable, with fourth place finishes at the Genesis Open and Honda Classic and a seventh at this Valspar Championship.
Still, winning for the first time on the PGA Tour in his rookie season is quite the feat. Especially when he’s most known for his trick shot repertoire. It helps to have brother George on the bag, and along the way you have to think there have to be trick shot hijinks in their minds.
Given the difficulty of some of their trick shots, one could imagine that shots on the course come easy. Not the case, as the difference between the two worlds are night and day. Still, having made hundreds of impossible shots over the last few years must place a positive note in the recess of Bryan’s mind, so when faced with a challenging shot the mind merely says, “You can Do it.”
Rags to riches, Bryan has earned nearly $2-million on the PGA Tour this year. He’s the darling of galleries, and the future is bright.
Clearly he has more game than a casual observer would have surmised.