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Wesley Bryan has completed the leap from YouTube sensation to PGA Tour winner. That’s quite a trick.
Our panelists address these questions and more in this week’s Monday Four-Ball.
1. After Wesley Bryan’s first PGA Tour victory Sunday, what’s your favorite part of his backstory?
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman: The most amazing thing is that he is best known for being a trick-shot artist, which is why I think no one ever gave him a chance to be a legitimate golfer as a professional. But he is showing the entire world that his trick-shot days are behind him and a career on the PGA Tour is ahead of him.
ESPN.com senior golf analyst Michael Collins: Before the trick-shot fame, I love that his dad had a “backyard” golf academy where both Wesley and brother George IV learned to play and love the game. I’m sure the George Bryan Golf Academy is going to be flush with students this summer!
ESPN.com senior golf writer Bob Harig: He gets a lot of attention for the trick-shot videos that have gotten tons of views, but I just like the fact that he won three times on the Web.com, graduated to the PGA Tour, got himself in contention a few times and then broke through in his home-state tournament in South Carolina. All of that is really neat, and a rookie winning on the PGA Tour is certainly no sure thing.
Wesley Bryan closed with a 4-under 67 at the RBC Heritage to secure his first PGA Tour victory. Joshua S. Kelly/USA TODAY Sports
ESPN.com senior golf writer Jason Sobel: It’s just the fact that he went from a trick-shot mini-tour player to the Web.com Tour Player of the Year to a PGA Tour champion in such a short time. That’s a natural progression for young players, but not often one that takes just two years.
2. How do you feel about Padraig Harrington’s “sore loser” comments about Masters winner Sergio Garcia?
Coachman: I thought they were in poor taste — bad timing at best. I have always had an issue with someone who tries to bring down a person at his or her greatest heights. I am quite sure that Harrington has some moments in his life that he is not proud of. You have to know when to let it go. It wouldn’t have changed anything if Harrington would have just kept his feelings about Garcia to himself.
Collins: I think they were honest. He said exactly how he felt about Garcia and how he remembered feeling after he beat him in majors. One of the reasons I love the European golfers so much is because so many will tell you exactly how they feel with no sugarcoating or regard for “protecting their brand.” Be mad at a guy for doing what we always complain they don’t do enough? Not me.
Harig: I found it to be remarkable in Garcia’s time of glory, and it shows just how deep the rift is between them. Harrington is honest to a fault, but there is likely more to it than even he is acknowledging. He felt Garcia acted improperly in the aftermath of those major victories and hasn’t forgotten.
Sobel: I love the fact that he was honest about it. And I hate the fact that those words are the only ones making the rounds. If you read the entirety of Harrington’s comments, you’ll also find that he acknowledged how Garcia has matured and insisted that he’s happy for him.
Wesley Bryan, a South Carolina native who played college golf for the Gamecocks, closed with a 4-under 67 on Sunday to win his home-state RBC Heritage for his first PGA Tour title.
Lydia Ko has made another change to her team, firing caddie Gary Matthews, according to a report. Matthews, a former caddie for Sergio Garcia, worked with Ko for just nine tournaments.
Padraig Harrington praised Sergio Garcia for his Masters victory, but recalled his rival being a “sore loser” after beating him at the 2007 Open and the 2008 PGA Championship.
Coachman: It’s a big deal. It shows me that despite a good finish in Hawaii, she is not comfortable with her