Bryan brothers turn focus to Q-School after memorable week at Butterfield Bermuda Championship
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What’s next for George and Wesley as they chase 2024 PGA TOUR status
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
Wesley Bryan raises an eyebrow, accompanied by a mischievous grin.
It’s pro-am day at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship and the younger Bryan brother offers a prediction for the week, where he’ll compete in the same TOUR event as his brother George for the first time. Wesley has spent most of recent years as a full-time touring pro, while George has focused full-time on the successful Bryan Bros Golf content series, its core product being long-form YouTube videos. This marks George’s first TOUR start; it’s start No. 112 for Wesley.
Wesley readily showers his brother with praise, having earlier in the day told him, “You’re hitting it good and you’re putting it good and you’re chipping it good … usually that’s like the recipe. The golden ticket. The cat’s meow.” He also apologizes to his pro-am team for being a letdown after George (the team played the front nine with George before switching to Wesley for the back nine at Port Royal Golf Course).
Now though? Wesley needs to keep George’s ego in check, moving into the younger brother’s archetype.
“I’m going to bury him this week,” Wesley says, the interaction captured for “The Turn,” the PGA TOUR’s YouTube series chronicling the FedExCup Fall. “I’m going to dig deep. I’ll find something.”
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, and the Bryan brothers meet at the post-round interview area to contextualize one of their most memorable weeks in a lifetime full of them. For the record, Wesley finished as low Bryan – T37 at 12 under, after a final-round 67. George finished T69 at 6 under, after a final-round 72.
Wesley’s prediction came to fruition after a furious Friday rally, shooting 7-under 64 to make the cut on the number alongside George at 5 under. Wesley pulled away on the weekend, his long-term TOUR experience perhaps kicking in, but the Bryan brothers both found success in their own way.
George, 35, proved his mettle as a serious, capable golfer. Long regarded to possess one of the game’s premier swings, he self-admittedly struggled with expectations early in his career and experienced a bit of burnout from the professional grind, diving full-time into his career as a digital creator. This year, though, he decided to give professional golf another shot. He signed up for PGA TOUR Q-School presented by Korn Ferry, then shared co-medalist honors at his pre-qualifying site and advanced through First Stage last month with four strokes to spare.
Wesley and George Bryan on their expectations for Butterfield Bermuda
George received a sponsor exemption to the Butterfield Bermuda Championship – a fitting continuation of the “YouTube Championship” contested in recent weeks in Bermuda, featuring the Bryan brothers and other golf-focused digital creators. If there was any outside chatter of a YouTuber undeservingly receiving a spot in a TOUR event, he negated it.
Nobody was prouder than Wesley – who won the TOUR’s 2017 RBC Heritage a year after earning a Three-Victory Promotion via the Korn Ferry Tour. (Wesley’s first Korn Ferry Tour title in Louisiana came with George on the bag.)
“One, it was pretty special just to be able to tee it up on the PGA TOUR with him. That's nothing that can be taken away from us moving forward,” Wesley said on Sunday afternoon, with George by his side. “It was a dream that we've had since we were – seeing the kids walk past here – since we could barely walk. That was kind of our dream. we'd sit down on Sunday afternoons and watch every single golf tournament. My dad would tape them. So to be able to say that we did that together is pretty dadgum special.”
“It was an insane week,” George agreed.
With a core memory solidified, the Bryan brothers now turn their attention to the TOUR’s status-and-eligibility season. They’re set to compete at the same site for Second Stage of Q-School – Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta, Georgia, Nov. 28-Dec. 1. Wesley is looking to improve his Past Champion status on TOUR, while George would secure conditional Korn Ferry Tour status at minimum by advancing through Second Stage. The top five and ties at Final Stage of Q-School (Dec. 14-17, contested across TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course and Sawgrass Country Club) will earn 2024 PGA TOUR membership. The next 40 and ties will earn guaranteed starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, with the next 20 and ties earning exempt status for PGA TOUR Americas' Latin America Swing. The remainder of finishers will earn conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR Americas.
There’s an extra twist for Wesley, who will compete at the TOUR’s season-ending The RSM Classic this coming week. He currently stands No. 189 on the FedExCup Fall standings; the next 40 applicants below No. 125 on the final standings (to a floor of No. 200) will earn direct access to Final Stage. He wouldn’t mind the chance to keep a laser focus on George’s scores that week.
As he readies for Second Stage of Q-School, George will take confidence in his ability to grind out respectable scores in Bermuda without his peak game – his closing 1-over 72 moved him 15 spots down the leaderboard, but he knows one of Q-School’s keys is to keep an “off day” around par. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, as they say.
“I'm also encouraged going to … Q-School … because I feel like my game could get even better, which is like crazy,” George said. “But, I mean, looking back at 72 holes on the PGA TOUR, playing the weekend, shooting 69-72, so 1 under on the weekend in my first TOUR event like is really good. Even today, like I didn't have it per se and shot 1 over with winds gusting and feeling uncomfortable on every single shot.
“I think it's given me a massive confidence boost leaving this week. I've said it a lot, but I'd like to show that I could compete at this level. I mean, I guess I barely made the cut or whatever, but still I beat a lot of guys that play golf for a living. As a YouTuber or playing professional golf a little bit, that's a massive confidence boost heading into Q-School.”
True to form, Wesley was still there to keep his brother level-headed. During Sunday’s wrap-up interview, George alluded to the possibility of earning a PGA TOUR card via Q-School and playing the team-format Zurich Classic of New Orleans with his brother.
Wesley quickly interjected.
“Dude, you’re not going to get through Q-School,” Wesley said. “The fairy tale’s going to come to an end at some point.”
“Oh, c’mon,” George said.
“It’s been too much of a fairy tale,” Wesley said.
“It’s been a pretty dang good one,” George replied.
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.