Wesley Bryan on Q-School, why he won’t play KFT full-time again, infamous ‘mule letter’

Wesley Bryan on Q-School, why he won’t play KFT full-time again, infamous ‘mule letter’
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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – With his YouTube cameraman following along, Wesley Bryan provided his subscribers with some great content on Friday at PGA Tour Q-School.

The 33-year-old Bryan, a past PGA Tour winner and social-media personality as one half of Bryan Bros Golf, posted a 4-under 66 around the Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass, carding not only eight birdies but also a quadruple bogey at the par-4 17th hole, his eighth hole of the second round. Bryan took a drop onto a sidehill lie after a poor drive, baseball-swung his third shot into a bunker and then four-putted, a 1-foot, quick-hit miss leading to the snowman.

Exciting stuff.

The same could be said for this tournament, which for the first time since 2012 is not just doling out Korn Ferry Tour status. The top 40 finishers and ties this week will still secure full KFT membership, but the stakes have been re-raised, and the top five and ties will punch their tickets to the PGA Tour.

“It’s finally exciting again,” Bryan said.

A light bulb then quickly went off.

“I think they should give out more cards, and more people should lose their cards,” Bryan continued. “Growing up, this was one of my favorite events on TV. It was a spectacle event to watch, so much pressure, and there was just so much riding on it. This week, there is a lot riding, but I will say still the vast majority of the guys here are just hoping for somewhere to play full-time next year. [Qualifying for the] PGA Tour feels like a little bit of a bonus given it’s just five and ties. And it’s going to be a nice reward, but I feel like, for me, it still feels a little bit like Korn Ferry Tour Q-School.”

Of the 165 competitors who teed off on Thursday (six have already withdrawn), several of them have some sort of conditional PGA Tour status to fall back on while even more have already secured full KFT cards or at least a handful of guaranteed starts for the upcoming season. It’s a weird dynamic that is portrayed by this quote from Danny Walker, who can at least count on the first eight starts on the KFT next season: “This week, I can just play with nothing to lose.”

In Bryan’s case, the 2017 RBC Heritage champion has played much of the past few seasons using a combination of major medicals and past champion status, and he also has a KFT safety blanket to fall back on, as he was a three-time winner on the circuit back in 2016.

But Bryan has no plans to play anything other than the PGA Tour next year.

“I’m extremely content playing the opportunities that I will get with my past champion status,” Bryan said, “and if I play great, then I’ll have an opportunity to play a lot more, and if I play poorly, then the opportunity for YouTube is always there. I get a sponsor’s invite every single week I want to film. … Trying to grind it out making tens of dollars on the Korn Ferry Tour, it just doesn’t seem like a path at this point in my life I think I would take.”

Bryan made nearly $300,000 for making 8 of 19 cuts on the PGA Tour last season. It’s a decent chunk of change for less than mediocrity, which is why Q-School has so much potential. If Bryan were calling the shots, he’d return final stage to the pressure cooker it once was – six days, 108 holes, and at least 25 PGA Tour cards handed out.

Asked if he were commissioner for a day, Bryan said, “Day 1, 100 people [from FedExCup] keep their card and give 25 back to Q-School. Maybe even 75 and 25, and then have smaller fields and fewer Tour players.”

“At the end of the day,” Bryan expounded, “I think there are 12 to 15 guys that put a product on the course that generates revenue – me not being one of those guys – so I think there are a lot of guys like me, although they’ve earned the opportunity to play out there, I just don’t think they’re doing anything other than costing the Tour money, as bad as that sounds. It’s the mules, and I’ve been associated. I’ve since pulled my name…”

Bryan, of course, made recent headlines for his name appearing among almost two dozen PGA Tour members – few of them Tour winners and about half outside the top 500 in the world rankings – who, through a law firm, sent a letter to the PGA Tour’s policy board demanding to not be “kept in the dark” as the Tour alters its structure and negotiates with private equity firms and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

“I think a lot of weird things have happened in the game of golf over the past year,” Bryan wrote on Twitter once the memo was released. “Also, I am not confident in how things have been handled by the organization in which I ‘work for.’ Sorry to those in which are offended … kind of.”

Bryan’s brother, George, quickly replied: “Come on Wes. Seriously?! You are better than this and you 100% are pulling your name off this awful list or this will become George Bryan Golf!!

Wesley Bryan then responded: “Name pulled. This was a mistake and I appreciate you and your guidance. Being totally serious, just sent email removing myself from this. My apologies.”

On Friday, Wesley Bryan explained where his head was at regarding the current state and future of the PGA Tour.

“This year has been a little bit of a disaster,” he said. “The whole thing has been handled really poorly from all sides. I feel like it’s fractured the game. It’s given us headlines throughout the world of sport but for all the wrong reasons. I’ll say it, I just want to see the best players in the world playing the same golf course the same week and battling it out against each other. I don’t want to see half here and half there. So, the quicker we can get to a resolution there, I would say that the vast majority of guys want to see it get back to what it used to be, same way that I want to see Q-School get back to what it was.

“But the hole is so deep, there’s going to be so much you’re going to have to dig out. … I’m sure Jay is trying to figure it out, I think he’s been making progress, but you can’t stop what they’re doing over there at LIV. It’s very clear at this point they’re going to get who they want to get and when they want to get them.

“I don’t envy Jay’s position.”

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