Q&A: Brice Garnett
Get to know Brice Garnett, a two-time winner during the Web.com Tour Regular Season
September 12, 2017
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Garnett has won twice on the Web.com Tour in 2017, including the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
For Brice Garnett, nearly two years of hard work paid off in a big way this year on the Web.com Tour.
Garnett, 34, overhauled his swing in 2015 with the help of his first-ever swing coach, and admitted it was a struggle at times to get back to where he was feeling comfortable over the ball.
But everything clicked this year for the Missouri native, as he notched two victories including the Regular Season-ending WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz, moving him to No. 1 on The 25, a spot he still holds after one event in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Although he’s got his PGA TOUR card locked up already, he’s more motivated than ever to hang on to that No. 1 spot.
Here, Garnett spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital chatting about his breakout season, his experience at the U.S. Open this year, and how he was a star basketball player in high school – despite standing just 5-foot-9.
What would you say was the biggest change between years past and this year, where you won twice on the Web.com Tour?
I hired John Tillery in the summer of 2015 and we made some (swing) changes. I was struggling and it was the first time I ever had a swing coach in my life. We made a few setup changes that I wasn’t really comfortable with. It took some right-to-left curve out of my ball, but for the past year-and-a-half, I felt I could play well but I just couldn’t score. My targets were a little bit off with my new ball flight. I was super frustrated. I was very happy and content with what we were working on, but I just had to play a different game. I was used to seeing the ball curve right-to-left, and finding my targets was difficult. I knew the ball-striking was there and when I chipped and putted well, I played well. Early in the year I could put two or three rounds together, and finally in the second half of the year I strung four rounds together and it has given me a couple wins.
Would you say this year has been your most successful as a professional?
Most successful and most rewarding. It’s always nice to see when you make changes to your golf game that there are results. It’s tough ... you don’t always get out of golf what you put into it. I knew I had to stay positive and stay committed to some of the things we changed. It has paid off big time here, this summer.
The first time you were on the PGA TOUR was in 2015, right when you were in the middle of your swing changes, so how excited are you to get back there?
That was one thing I was excited about coming back to this year. At first I was a little down about losing my PGA TOUR status, but at the same time, I knew I had to get better. I knew this year was going to be a great opportunity for me to get better and work on my new game. I’m super excited to get back and I feel like my game is in great shape. I feel like I have a great game for the PGA TOUR. My stats have been really good and I’ll continue to grind on the chipping and putting, and hopefully I have a good year next year.
You also got to play in the U.S. Open this summer – your second. How was that experience for you?
The first U.S. Open was in 2012; I was pretty fresh on the Web.com Tour and I wasn’t really ready for that level of golf. The golf course changed dramatically come tournament time and I wasn’t ready for the big scene and how demanding U.S. Open courses were. This year, I felt super comfortable; it was like (I had) been there and played TOUR events before, so I knew what to expect. I had one bad hole the first day ... it was a big golf course, a demanding golf course, but any time you tee it up with the best in the world, I feel like you can take positives from it no matter what you shoot.You don’t always get out of golf what you put into it. I knew I had to stay positive and stay committed to some of the things we changed. It has paid off big time here, this summer.
What are some of those positives?
Just my feelings. It’s normal for everyone to be nervous on that stage, but I felt like my mind and my feelings were under control. I had a little (bit of) excited nerves going into the first round. I shot 3-over the first day and had a goofy triple bogey. It was fun though and I knew what to expect, and hopefully I’ll play in many more to come.
At 34 you’re certainly not an ‘old’ guy, but you’re competing with guys who are 10 years your junior most weeks. What keeps you motivated out there?
I’m a super competitive guy and I want to win every time I tee it up, so from that standpoint I’m going to try to win a golf tournament and compete, especially against the best in the world next year. It’s a challenge, but I know I belong on the PGA TOUR after having some success this summer. The thing I’ve learned the most is about where my game is and how I play golf when I play my best. I’m not going to overpower golf courses like the younger generation, but I know my game and I’ve really stuck to my game plan each week for pretty much the whole year. I’m looking forward to doing that next year.
You were a celebrated basketball player while in high school, all-everything, it seems. What’s the story there?
I was at a very small high school but growing up, I played every sport. I was very athletic in my younger years (laughs). Basketball and golf were my two main sports I focused on when I got to high school. By no means was I going to play college basketball, but I quit playing basketball a couple years ago after hurting my ankle during winter break. It’s still a passion of mine and I love to watch it on TV. There was no future in basketball (laughs).
Can you still hold your own on the court?
I just stepped away from it after that injury unfortunately. Looking back I thought, 'If that were a (torn) ACL, I’d be out for a year.' But it’s great exercise. I just kind of put it away.
Away from the golf course, where can we find you?
When I’m home in Missouri, I’m just hanging with my buddies playing my nine-hole golf course and we all have our own cart with music. There’s a lake near my hometown where we do a lot of boating and hanging out there. I really enjoy grilling and cooking any kind of food. I always say I’m good at lounging and doing nothing (laughs).