From a New Mexico Pasture to US Open

By Associated PressJune 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- They grew up on a public golf course, certainly nothing as lush or scenic as Torrey Pines.
 
Brad Bryant thought he might be good enough to make a living at golf, and Bart took up the game to be like his big brother. They played on a nine-hole course in New Mexico until it was too dark to see, and sometimes they slept under the stars near the swimming pool at Alamagordo Country Club so they could move the sprinklers around the golf course.
 
This was before they had automatic sprinkling systems. We did a lot of that, Brad said. We moved sprinklers in the middle of the night and mowed the greens and helped mow the fairways. And it was a pretty cool time.
 
This is a pretty special time, too.
 
The Bryant brothers'separated by eight years, linked by their well-kept moustaches and plain style'are the first brothers to compete in the U.S. Open since Jay and Jerry Haas in 2002 at Bethpage Black.
 
Just like the old days, it was little brother doing all he could to join the party.
 
Brad Bryant, 53, went 474 starts on the PGA Tour before winning at Disney for his only victory. He hasnt played the U.S. Open since 1996 at Oakland Hills and figured he had seen his last major championship. Then he rallied from five shots behind on the final day at Whistling Straits last year to capture the U.S. Senior Open, earning an exemption to Torrey Pines.
 
This is quite a gift at a late age to be playing in this event, he said. I really thought that my days of playing in major events were over. We have majors on the Champions Tour, but theyre just kind of big tournaments for old people.
 
Bart Bryant, now 45, turned out to be the more successful of the two.
 
He endured endless surgeries and trips to the minor leagues until he broke through with his first PGA Tour victory in 2004 at the Texas Open, then followed with victories in the Memorial and Tour Championship, beating Tiger Woods by six shots in the latter.
 
His game slipped for a couple of years, enough to knock him out of the top 50, and even a runner-up finish to Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational wasnt enough to get a free pass to the U.S. Open.
 
He didnt like the idea of qualifying'except that big brother was going to be playing.
 
I didnt know if I could even walk 36 holes, but it ended up being a really good day, Bart said of his qualifier, where he finished second to easily make it. Its only been a week or so that Ive known that I would be playing, but its been really exciting.
 
The Bryants are sons of a Baptist minister, who spent his afternoons teaching them to play. As they grew older and followed their dreams to the PGA Tour, they leaned on each other in hard times.
 
Bart had every reason to quit golf after injuries to his left rotator cuff, left elbow and right elbow, and seemingly endless trips to the minor leagues to support his family.
 
Phone calls from big brother kept him going.
 
The fact that he said, Bart, you have the talent, youre good enough to play on the PGA Tour, I really believe that that may not sound like a lot to you guys, but for me, that was everything, he said. Because I really doubted at times that I had the ability to compete with these guys out here. To hear it from somebody I admire, that meant something to me.
 
Little brother returned the favor.
 
Brad was struggling with his putter when Bart persuaded him to try the claw putting grip, which changed everything. Brad made it through Champions Tour qualifying school and now has made over $4 million to go along with four victories on the senior circuit.
 
They also have been called by the others names, which was annoying to Brad when he was winning on the Champions Tour and to Bart when he was winning on the PGA TOUR.
 
And it didnt stop at the U.S. Open.
 
Bart Bryant was the first to register at Torrey Pines, getting his parking pass and ID badge.
 
Of course, mine said, Brad Bryant. And I didnt notice it for an hour, he said. I took it back in and said, It doesnt bother me, but when Brad gets here, hell probably want his own.
 
They managed to play six holes together in a practice round, and Bart Bryant wondered why the USGA didnt bother putting them together for the first two rounds. After all, the USGA went out of its way to put Woods and Phil Mickelson in the same group.
 
No matter. Theyre at Torrey Pines for a U.S. Open, a long road for both that converged in a most unlikely place.
 
This may very well be the last time we get to do something this special, Brad said, as far as golf goes.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Open
  • Getty Images

    Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

    After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

    Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    “The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

    Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

    Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

    His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

    “When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

    Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

    Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

    By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

    The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

    Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

    Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

    He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

    There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

    In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

    So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

    The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

    Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

    When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

    Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



    Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

    Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

    “The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

    This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

    The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

    It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

    “The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

    Pay per view does that.

    “You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

    If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

    Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

    Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

    Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

    By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

    AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

    District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

    Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

    Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

    Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

    LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

    LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

    View this post on Instagram

    Finally got it down lol

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

    Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

    View this post on Instagram

    How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.