HAVEN, Wisc. — Brett Jones has always lived in close proximity to the PGA Tour. As the older brother of Tour mainstay and former first team all-American Matt Jones, the bright lights of the big show have been shining nearby for two decades.
The 40-year-old Australian has walked inside the ropes numerous times, following his little brother Matt throughout his eight-year Tour career to some of the biggest golf tournaments in the world. This week at the PGA Championship, for the first time in years, part of the spotlight might finally be on him. Chances are (as good brothers do), he’ll need to share.
After qualifying for the PGA Championship last month, Brett, a club professional at Due Process Stables Golf Course in Colts Neck, New Jersey, will be the playing the first PGA Tour event of his life.
His birdie-birdie finish at the PGA Professional National Championship at Philadelphia Cricket Club (that included a hole out from a bunker and a 35-foot putt on the final hole, no less) moved him off the playoff line and into the field at Whistling Straits.
Brett and Matt are not the first two brothers to play in the same PGA Championship (most recently being Francesco and Edoardo Molinari), but they will be the first brother duo in which one player is a club professional. Considering Brett’s playing career in America peaked with a pair of Web.com Tour starts (one in 2005 and another in 2006), his path to Wisconsin makes for a remarkable story. In the biggest week of his career, the soft-spoken club pro is just trying to lay low.
“I’m just here to play a golf tournament like everyone else,” he said after finishing a quick practice round on Wednesday morning.
With longtime caddie Mike LoCastro on the bag again, Brett wants desperately to keep this week (relatively) ordinary. For a soft-spoken guy, it’s easier said than done.
A number of things will be different, one of them being the two houses worth of family members ready to flank any fairway a Jones bro walks upon. (Matt tees off at 9:35 a.m. ET Thursday while Brett will go off at 1:10 p.m.). While Matt looks to contend, Brett’s goals are less defined. He’s shying away from the just-make-the-cut mentality club professionals generally employ at the PGA Championship.
“I haven’t set any,” Brett said. “I’m just trying to play like I know I can and see what happens.”
With the tournament yet to start, it’s possible he already found out “what happens” at the greatest platform of professional golf. Brett’s Wednesday morning included a front 9 practice round with brother Matt. On the tee, a budding, young golfer barely half Brett’s age joined them. It was Jordan Spieth.
Thousands of fans clung to the edge of the grassy sand dunes at Whistling Straits, begging for Spieth’s attention, autograph or merely a high-five. It was the kind of audience Brett had seen alongside his Tour brother or on a pro shop television in New Jersey. While the fans clamored and begged for the biggest young American star on the PGA Tour, meanwhile, out in the fairway, two brothers were playing golf.
“We were playing a little match,” the elder Jones said, quickly realizing the information that needed to follow.