Years of grinding away on the Web.com Tour have finally paid off for Brendon Todd, 29. The former University of Georgia standout is now a Tour winner—and he’s headed to Augusta. He sat down with GOLF Magazine’s Sean Zak to discuss winning the Byron Nelson, the best place to tailgate and more.
You bounced between the Web.com and PGA tours before winning your first Tour event, at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in 2014. How did that first victory feel?
I felt relief. There’s a huge [two-year] exemption for winning on Tour, and it’s a relief to know I get to be out here for a couple of years at least. I had two goals in mind for last year: Win a tournament and reach the Tour Championship. I accomplished both. And going to Augusta [in 2015] will be a dream come true.
You have another claim to fame, besides being a Tour winner: In 2009, you carded two holes-in-one on the same hole on consecutive days, at the Athens Regional Foundation Classic. What’s the secret to making an ace?
That gets mentioned every time I’m at a charity event or sponsor function. It’s unique—I haven’t heard of anyone else doing it. To hit a hole-in-one in competition requires a little luck and a great shot. But to do it on back-to-back days was kind of a miracle.
It must have felt good to make those aces in Athens, Ga., where you went to school. What stands out from your time as a collegiate player?
‘ll always remember the great relationships I built while I was there. My best friends were my teammates, Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner, Richard Scott, Brian Harman and Hudson Swafford. And I have great memories of winning the NCAA national championship in 2005. And of course we had a lot of fun going to football games. And I have great memories of winning the NCAA national championship in 2005. And of course we had a lot of fun going to football games.
It was quite a year for former Georgia players on Tour. Six of you amassed a combined nine wins. Do all you Bulldogs pay attention to each other’s performances?
Yeah, there’s been a buzz on the PGA Tour this year and the past couple of years with a lot of us getting playing status, and now a majority of us are winning, too. We feed off one another. We’re all really good friends, and we keep in touch and encourage each other. It’s really motivating for us to have our friends and teammates out there winning.
You finished sixth on Tour in 2014 in strokes gained putting, but you were 119th in greens in regulation. Any thoughts on why you’re so good on the greens and have struggled with approach shots?
Scrambling, chipping and putting have always been the strong points of my game. The reason I’ve played better over the last few years is my driving accuracy, and the fact that I’ve narrowed up my misses into the greens. I generally leave myself with easier chips. I might not be hitting as many greens as other guys, but I’m not usually very far off the green, so I’m able to save a lot of pars.
You followed your Byron Nelson win in May with four top 10s in your next five starts. Were you thinking you might get consideration as a Ryder Cup captain’s pick?
I felt like I was doing enough to earn consideration. That was the ultimate goal—to finish inside the top nine [on the Ryder Cup points list]. Then, when the time came for the picks to be made, I hadn’t played my best for the last four or five events. I also didn’t have any Ryder Cup experience, so I wasn’t expecting a spot. However, I do think Billy Horschel or Chris Kirk deserved a serious look.
Let’s talk social media. You have a Twitter account, but you don’t Tweet often. Why?
I try to separate my public life, my golf life and my private life. At the end of the day, I see more negative things come from Twitter than positive. I try to keep to myself and enjoy life and interact with people in person.
Wedding Crashers is one of your favorite movies. Have you ever crashed a wedding?
I have, actually—but not on purpose! In 2009, my wife and I were staying at Milwaukee Country Club for the U.S. Bank Championship. We had just returned from dinner on Saturday night, and a wedding was going on. I was dressed pretty nice, and sure enough, we went right in, got ourselves a glass of champagne and went to the dance floor and had a great time. It was a lot of fun.
If you had to pick one guy on Tour to crash a wedding with, who would it be?
Oh, that’s easy. I’d go with Boo Weekley.
Good choice. Boo’s so colorful, he could be a character from the actual movie.
Boo’s a total riot to hang out with. He’s the kind of guy who’s always the life of the party. I think we’d go in there and make some friends real fast.
Brendon Todd: Three Things I Know for Sure
Remember: All you can do is your best.
The greatest advice I’ve ever received was from my mom. She told me to always do my best and to be happy with the effort, no matter the outcome, and that’s something I’ve focused on in both my personal life and in my golf career. If you put your best foot forward and just accept the result, you’re going to have a much happier life than someone who doesn’t.
Hone a pressure-proof shot shape off the tee.
Sometimes you have to hit a good drive under pressure. The best way to do it? It’s not a specific club or a technical move—it’s developing your own go-to shot. It could be a fade, draw, knockdown. Doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a shot with a dependable ball flight that you can trust. So when you’re on the tee and see the fairway in the distance, first calm yourself and get into the moment. Then pick out your target. Then use your go-to shot—which you should practice a lot on the range—to shape it right where you aimed.
There’s only one place to tailgate.
Easily the best place in college football to tailgate is Athens, Ga. The energy is amazing—the best in the SEC. There’s nothing better than game day in Athens.