Shortly after winning the 2014 AT&T Byron Nelson, Todd changed his swing in part to create a higher launch angle. To say the move backfired would be an understatement. He developed a big right miss that got in his head for the next three years, and gradually fell off the TOUR.
But Todd, who had made just six cuts in his previous 47 starts as the calendar turned to 2019, was not one to give up. His two older brothers, and their parents, never set that sort of example.
“We usually give each other a hard time if you’re being negative or a quitter or whatnot,” he said. “I think a lot of it for me was just the self-belief I had and all the previous success I’ve had. … And I had already been through a slump like that in 2010, so while it did last longer and I did consider maybe looking for other things to do, I always knew if I got my game back, I would know how to play at this level; it’s just a matter of can I hit the ball between the trees.”
Eventually, Todd found answers in a book called “The Great Ballstrikers” by Bradley Hughes, an Australian who played the TOUR from 1997 through 2005 and became his swing coach.
He read a book by Rick Ankiel, a baseball pitcher who had battled the throwing yips.
He began to consult with Ward Jarvis, a caddie on the Korn Ferry Tour who fought and overcame a stuttering problem and is now a firefighter in Paducah, Kentucky.
“I just had a feeling we would connect with our journeys,” said Jarvis, also a golf performance coach. He believes that in bad golf, as in stuttering, thinking can get in the way. “The answer isn’t to try harder,” he said. “Let go of the natural desire to want to control the outcome.”
Hughes, meanwhile, helped Todd retrain his body.
“The goal was to go by what he felt in his feet and hands and core,” Hughes said.
“He’s hitting fairways and greens again,” he added, “and his short game has always been there.”
Todd made eight of 11 cuts after they started working together, and went from Past Champion to full PGA TOUR status when he got through Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Still, it was something of a surprise, even for wife Rachel, when he shot a final-round 62 to win in Bermuda two weeks ago.
“I’d be more surprised if he won back-to-back,” she said during the final round at Mayakoba.
Well, it happened, and she and Todd and the kids FaceTime’d afterward.
“Super special,” Todd said of the win. “This win might honestly mean more to me than the last one, this being a full FedExCup event, full $7.2 million purse and a resort that I just love.”
Added Rachel, who plans to bring the family back on TOUR now that Todd’s status is secure through the 2022-23 season, “I never wanted to be in the restaurant business.”
Could Todd get the nod for the U.S. Presidents Cup Team if Brooks Koepka can’t play?
He laughs at that one.
“Before the Bermuda Championship,” he said, “I was on the driving range with (Golf Channel analyst) Jerry Foltz and he said something like, ‘Oh, your game looks good, win three in a row and maybe you’ll make the Presidents Cup.’ And then he was like, ‘No, actually if you win three in a row, you still won’t make the Presidents Cup, but go for it anyways.”
Next up: The RSM Classic. That would be three wins in a row. Improbable? Yes. But as the example of Brendon Todd reminds, never say never.