HAVEN, Wis. (AP) Brad Bryant said he's just lucky, and doesn't belong in a group of players that includes Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.
"Let's face it guys, I'm not in their league. I wasn't, and as far as golf goes, I never will be,'' Bryant said. "I'm a journeyman that happened to have a really great week.''
Bryant shot a 68 on Sunday to finish 6-under and win the U.S. Senior Open at Whistling Straits to add his name to the silver cup that includes the names of Nicklaus, Palmer and Trevino after another great, Tom Watson, fell apart on the back nine. Ben Crenshaw finished second at 3-under and Loren Roberts was third at 2-under.
Bryant's party plans on Monday are simple. He and about 20 guys from his church in Lakeland, Fla., will go to a sports bar and chow on chicken wings.
"If you don't eat chicken wings, you don't get to come, that's the way it is,'' said Bryant, who started the day five strokes behind Watson. "Guess who gets to buy for everybody? I do! And it will be a great celebration.''
On Sunday, Bryant, 52, stayed steady even after he bogeyed two holes on the back nine while Watson shot a 43 on the same side - including losing eight strokes on eight holes as part of the second-biggest collapse in U.S. Senior Open history.
"I just didn't have it on the back nine,'' Watson said. "I just put the ball in trouble way too many times to have a chance to win this golf tournament.''
Bryant only won once on the PGA Tour in a rain-shortened event in 1995 and retired unofficially in 1999. In the meantime, he looked for someone who might help him get back to the pro ranks, a caddie who would help level his self-deprecating opinion of his game.
Bryant even prayed for one, and four years ago in a parking lot outside a Nationwide Tour event in Greenville, S.C. he found Tony Smith, who is superstitious enough to wear sneakers with pictures of $100 bills on them only on Sundays.
"Brad is a great golfer, but he's a much better person than he is a golfer,'' Smith said. "When he plays bad sometimes, I tell him, 'You're not a robot, Brad. Your heart is too good. You're going to play bad sometimes, and just take the bitter with the sweet.'''