Just How Much It Means Another BuyCom Surprise


David Branshaw is a 33-year old journeyman professional whod never amounted to much in his golf career. His best Buy.Com Tour finish was 27th. In fact, this year hed never cracked the top-25 in any single event.
But Sunday at the Gila River Golf Classic at Wild Horse Pass Resort, Branshaw cried tears of joy in his post-round victory speech with The Golf Channels Jerry Foltz. The fact that he cried isnt something new, however.
Earlier this year Chris Riley, who won the PGA Tours Reno-Tahoe Open started to shed a few tears only to halt himself and quip at Foltz, Im not going to do it. I saw what you did to Aaron Olberholser!
Riley was talking about the winners interview Olberholser did with Foltz in Canada at the Samsung Canadian PGA Championship. Olberholser didnt have a dry eye either after winning for the first time on the Buy.Com Tour circuit. Actually, he had to stop himself just short of a full-blown sob on a couple of occasions.
Hey, Im not criticizing Branshaw, or for that matter Olberholser or Riley either. After all, Nancy Lopez has been losing water at press conferences all year during her farewell tour. Actually, I like it. Its real. Its normal and it shows us all just how difficult the process is to get to the winners circle in the first place and how much it truly means once youve arrived.
Branshaw was as improbable a winner as weve seen on the Buy.Com Tour in years. Sure, Roland Thatcher was a surprise just days ago in Seaside, Calif., at 112th on the Buy.Com Tour money list, but consider that hed missed his PGA Tour card for 2002 by the smallest of margins last December at the Qualifying Tournament Finals.
Branshaw, on the other hand, was 137th on the money list with no previous win in any 72-hole tournament he can remember. Branshaw played the Canadian Tour with limited success, then tired the Buy.Com Tour only to beat himself up mentally each week without any true successs.
This week in Chandler, Ariz., was Branshaws coming out party. Top-10 rankings in the field in critical categories like greens in regulation and putting. He made just four bogeys all week and just enough birdies to eek out a share of the course record with a Friday 61. Give Branshaw his due. He did it while the focus was on four players (Aaron Olberholser, Patrick Moore, Jason Gore and Cliff Kresge) looking for a third win of the year what would send them to the PGA Tour. David Branshaw proved he belongs on
a tour that has really climbed in stature.
If you ask me, the tears that come between thank yous and questions from guys like Foltz are a true sign of emotion that we dont get enough of in sports. Golf is a darned tough game. Its not easy to win ' on any level. So go ahead and let it go. Cry all you want. Youve earned the right, David Branshaw, youve earned the right.