Why Brendon Todd is better equipped than most to handle whatever the resumption of PGA Tour golf looks like
The man who resides in fourth place in the FexEx Cup standings on the PGA Tour is the regular guy’s regular guy, a person of such unassuming disposition that he is more relatable to the weekend public golfer than the country club set, probably because he is not far removed from experiences in his career that are less than glamorous.
So, whenever the golf season begins again, Brendon Todd might be more acclimated than most of his peers to whatever restrictions, conditions or circumstances could strip the usually opulent tour experience of many of its accustomed comforts.
Todd, 34, is used to long drives and not winning, contradictory with the fact he is one of the shortest hitters on tour and has two wins this season, both coming last fall in consecutive starts. He ranks 226th in driving distance with a 279.8 average, but his long drives have been in his car to Korn Ferry Tour events, Monday qualifiers, and the like in recent years.
Twice he has emerged from full-swing yips, the second time after a three-year visit, starting in 2016, to the golf wilderness where slumping golfers forage for survival.
So while his victories at the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic have helped boost his earnings to more than $2.5 million this season, Todd isn’t inclined to see himself any differently than when he had fallen to 2,043rd in the World Ranking in 2018.
It is not clear how tour golf will look whenever it restarts – currently the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth is the ice-breaker (or coronavirus breaker) in mid-June – but Todd doesn’t seem to care. No locker rooms? No caddies? No fans? No frills?
No problem. Even the time at home as the tour has taken a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had some familiarity to it. Still, the Georgia resident is ready to resume his career resurgence.
“I've been through some slumps, and I've had some chunks of time at home in the past few years, so I was probably a little bit better equipped for this time off than a lot of other people,” Todd said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “But I will say it's still been difficult. We're getting here into, I don't know if this is week seven or week eight at home, but I'm already starting to just mentally yearn for that process and that competitive environment that, you know, playing the sport that we love provides me.”
Todd normally would be preparing to play this week in the AT&T Byron Nelson, an event he won in 2014 for his first tour title. In the previous few years, however, he’d normally be doing things that could become part of the tour’s new normal.
For instance, he was asked if he knew the last time he had changed his shoes in the parking lot rather than in the locker room. Easy for a guy who has been tiptoeing through psychological landmines to answer.
“You're talking to a guy who played 20 Monday qualifiers two years ago, and I probably played 10 Monday qualifiers last year,” Todd said with a bemused tone in his voice. “So, unfortunately, I'm all too used to changing my shoes in the parking lot. And even when you play the Desert Classic in Palm Springs, you know, when you go to LaQuinta Country Club, you usually change your shoes in the parking lot and just hop out and go to the range. So as funny as that might sound it's not that big of a deal.”
By the way, it’s not like there are fans at Monday qualifiers. So the tour’s intention to stage its first four events without spectators isn’t going to take some massive mental recalibration for Todd.
Neither is forgoing a caddie, if the tour deems that to be a further necessary safety measure.
“I want the caddies out there earning their living, but because I think that getting us back on the golf course competing and getting the tour started back up is important, something that I would like to do, and I'm so used to carrying my bag here at home and like I said, playing mandatory events and qualifiers throughout my professional career.
“I’ll say this too. I believe on the PGA Tour that if you gave players a carry bag or an electric pushcart, a range finder and no caddy, it would speed up play because players couldn't go back and forth to their caddies as much on every shot.”
Todd seems to have a lot of this figured out. Of course, he had a lot figured out before the whole world, and not just golf, hit the giant pause button. His comeback was as inspirational as it was unexpected – at least to everyone but himself, perhaps.
Whenever golf does return, and in whatever fashion, it will be a big adjustment for just about everyone. Except Brendon Todd, the regular guy with regular guy experience.