Wesley Bryan falls short in last-dash bid to retain PGA Tour status
Wesley Bryan reacts on the 18th hole during the final round of the Valspar Championship.
Douglas P. DeFelice
It didn’t help matters that the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort was playing almost a shot and a half tougher on Sunday than it has the previous three days at the Valspar Championship. Wesley Bryan was going to need a better round than the 68-71-70 he’d posted if he was going to leave the event accomplishing his primary goal: maintain some form of status on the PGA Tour.
Unfortunately, for the former trick-shot artist turned tour winner, there was no Sunday magic outside Tampa. A birdie-less two-over 73 left Bryan, playing in his final start on a medical exemption for a wrist injury, tied for 62nd. To retain full status on tour was going to require a sixth-place finish, which was all but out of the question. However, Bryan wasn’t able to do better than the solo 51st he needed to retain his conditional status, either.
At the start of the week, Bryan was optimistic that maybe he could pull off the same feat as Ryan Brehm two weeks ago at the Puerto Rico Classic. Brehm was also playing in his final start off a medical, and needed a second place finish or better to keep his card. The 35-year-old Michigan native then pulled out his first career PGA Tour win to not only keep his status but guarantee it for another two years.
It was 10 months ago that Bryan was playing golf at home in South Carolina when he hit a tee ball and his left wrist “exploded on me.” The injury caused him to play just one event in October before finally coming back in 2022. Valspar was his fifth start of the year, and only the second cut he’d made.
There were fireworks just to get to the weekend. Bryan finished birdie-incredible bogey save-birdie to close out his second round Friday to make the cut on the number. Here’s a look at the place where Bryan had to recover from on his second-to-last hole.
In addition to the wrist injury, Bryan has struggled with shoulder problems that came after he pulled out his one and only win on the PGA Tour, the 2017 RBC Heritage. He has played only 25 tour event since the win and recorded just one top-10 finish.
After Sunday’s round, Bryan took to Twitter to thank those who had been follow his story this week:
“Been a long few years, spent most of it rehabbing shoulder and wrist. Thank you to everyone for the support this week….definitely felt the love out there. I tried my hardest….came up short. It stings, but I’m not done trying.”
Bryan, who turns 32 next week, now will have to rely on past champions status, sponsor’s exemptions or Monday qualify to compete on the PGA Tour for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. He is likely to get a few starts; there's a reasonable chance he even gets into next week's Corales Puntacana Championship with his past champions status.