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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A PGA Tour Card Is the Real Trick

One of the big buzzwords in golf right now is reactive. It's used to describe a swing made made to intercept a moving ball, and the argument is that golf swings aren't reactive.

Perhaps those instructors just haven't watched Wesley Bryan, one-half of the famous trick shot team simply known as the Bryan Brothers. In 2015 Wesley played his way through Q-School to make the Tour.

Wesley Bryan with El Bosque Mexico Championship trophy

This past weekend, Wesley won his second Tour title at the El Bosque Mexico Championship by four shots. (The other was the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, won in his third start by one shot.) He's won these two titles in only six starts. SIX, PEOPLE! And in doing so he locked up his PGA Tour card for next season.

I'm not sure you truly understand how monumental a feat this really is. Let me give you the numbers:
  • Wesley Bryan has won $260,820 in six starts. He now leads the Tour money list and has locked up a Tour card. One more win gives him the Battlefield Promotion to the PGA Tour this year. In just six events.
  • At the end of last season, Dicky Pride finished fifth for the entire season with $253,057. It took him 15 events to make that much, and no one else in the Top16 of The25 took fewer than his 15 events.
Yet Wesley is best-known for his trick shots, which involves hitting MOVING golf balls. The question is, does his 'regular' golf swing differ much from his 'trick' swing?

Why don't we compare them? Here's a video of the Bryan Brothers in action. Note that brother George usually sets up the shots while Wesley generally hits them. Don't let the GoPro strap-on camera shots confuse you; there's plenty of clear footage showing Wesley's full swing.

Unfortunately, it's hard to find the standard face-on and down-the-line video of Wesley on the golf course. But here are a couple of vids that will give you an idea -- one shows the Brothers playing some match play with some NFL players, the other shows Wesley after his win in Mexico Sunday (shots are mixed in with the interview).

I don't see a whole lot of difference. What I see is a player who stays relaxed when he plays a shot, not one who's fixated on making a perfect swing on a perfect plane.

If you want my suggestion, it might be worthwhile to get a few plastic golf balls -- so you can hit them in the backyard without hitting them a mile -- and practice tossing them in the air while trying to hit them before they hit the ground. Then try to incorporate that feeling into your regular golf swing and see if it doesn't help you get better.

Because Wesley Bryan is proving that reactive swings are not only possible in golf, but extremely desirable. And practicing trick shots is how he got his.

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