Q&A with Bryan Bigley
February 16, 2016
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- Bryan Bigley got into the game through his father, a golf course superintendent. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)
Bryan Bigley has seen a lot in his career as a professional golfer. The 31-year-old from the Albany, New York, area has played a variety of smaller tours in his quest to make his way to the Web.com Tour – including PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, the eGolf Tour and the Carolina Mountain Tour.
Bigley’s quest took a turn for the better last fall. The Siena College alum successfully made his way through the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, finishing T34 at Final Stage to earn guaranteed starts for the first nine events of the 2016 Web.com Tour season.
He missed the cut at the season-opening Panama Claro Championship and placed T53 at the Club Colombia Championship Presented by Claro, and will look to make a push up the money list beginning at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER in mid-March.
Bigley spent a few minutes with PGATOUR.COM to discuss his beginnings in the game, his job on a grounds crew when he’s not competing in tournaments, lessons learned and more.
How did you get into the game?
My dad is a golf course superintendent up in New York, and my brother and I grew up and we used to go on with him when we were 4 and 5, and help him change holes, and just go around the course. He was a good player, so we picked it up. Growing up in golf, we would go back and play nine holes at night. When we were 14, we started working at the course and turned into high school golf and college golf, and here I am, plenty of years later.
What’s your favorite course that you have ever played?
Boy, favorite course. I really enjoy the course I grew up at, Pinehaven Country Club (outside Albany, New York). It’s not well known; they hosted a couple state amateurs, but it’s a good, traditional, tree-lined layout. It’s only 6,400 yards, but you’ve got to golf your ball, and if you break 70 it’s a good score. So I’m probably a little partial, but it’s still one of my favorites to go back and play.
What is your most memorable moment in golf?
There have been a lot of good memories. I won when I was in college and my brother was on the team; we won the conference championships and went to NCAAs. That was pretty cool.
I had a hole-in-one in a PGA TOUR Latinoamerica event last year, on the back nine on Sunday. I didn’t win, but it kind of jumped me into contention. … Playing the Bear Trap, the last six holes at PGA National in 1 under to make it by one this year (at Final Stage of Q-School), to grind it out, I thought that was pretty good. But when you golf your whole life, it’s hard to pick just one memory.
If not a golfer, what would you be doing?
I don’t know, I don’t know. People ask me that all the time. Probably because I’m always one or two shots away from retirement. I don’t know what I would do. I certainly don’t think I could have a boss or a 9-to-5 job, but hopefully golf will work out.
Did you look up to anyone growing up?
Yeah, I guess as I was growing up, Tiger was kind of making his debut. The 1997 Masters, I was 13, and I got to watch him in his prime. What he did in 2000 was pretty phenomenal, what he did with the golf ball, and he changed the game.
What’s your favorite thing to do to get away from the game?
I like to relax, read books. I actually still have a part-time job at Raintree Country Club when I go back to Charlotte, where I live now. When I have weeks off, I still work there, on the grounds crew. When I’m not on the golf course playing, I’m doing something else. I enjoy the work; I go out and mow for seven or eight hours, rake bunkers, mow greens and fairways. It’s good to take a break from the game, from practicing. If I don’t, I get burned out.
I’ve been working grounds crew officially since I was 14, with my dad. I got a job at Raintree in 2008 and started working there part-time, and they’ve been great to me. They’ve kind of let me work when I’m in town now, so it has been eight years, whatever it’s been, and I enjoy it.
What’s something you know now that you would’ve liked to have known when you turned pro?
Avoid bogeys. You know, it really is big. If you’re only making one bogey or two bogeys a round, you don’t have to play that great to shoot even or 1 or 2 under. But if you’re going out and making three, four, five bogeys, you know, you can have eight birdies and you’re only gonna shoot 70. So I think that’s huge.
And just patience; 72 holes is a long event. Just kind of hang around, and if you’re on the back nine Sunday and you’re four or five back, who knows, you can shoot 30 on the back and the leader can shoot 36. So it really is a game of patience and it’s a hard game. Unfortunately it took me seven, eight, nine years to figure that out, but it is what it is, I guess.
What’s something cool that you’ve done outside of golf?
Boy, everything seems to be golf-related, to be honest with you. With PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, we went to some pretty cool cities. In Guatemala, we stayed on the side of a volcano, and Honduras was right on the water. I’ve been very lucky to have been able to travel to so many places and play golf and basically call that my living.
What’s one quirk or superstition that you have?
If I make a couple putts early, I don’t change my golf ball that round. I’ll use the same ball all round, because I mark the ball the same. Like most guys, I’ll use the same coin. I’m not really superstitious, but I guess there’s a little hocus pocus going on.