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PGA Golf Professional Bryan gets special Sunday treat
Dave Bryan enjoyed a fun-filled week as the PGA Head Professional at host Southern Hills. But Sergio Garcia's disqualification Saturday provided a unique and special opportunity for Bryan -- playing with a fellow PGA member as a marker.
By John Kim, Coordinating Producer
TULSA, Okla. -- When the cut was determined late Friday, there were two PGA Golf Professionals who had advanced to play the weekend. But Sunday morning, a third member of the association unexpectedly got to tee it up in the final round of the 89th PGA Championship.
Dave Bryan, the PGA Head Professional at host Southern Hills Country Club, was asked to join fellow PGA Golf Professional Ryan Benzel and play as a non-competing marker.
Due to Sergio Garcia's disqualification on Saturday for signing for an incorrect scorecard, there was an odd number of players in the field. Since players go out in twosomes on the weekend, Benzel, who had the first tee time, had the option of playing alone or with a marker.
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"It was an easy decision," said Benzel, a PGA Assistant Professional from Seattle (Wash.) Golf Club. "My boss almost had an opportunity to play as a marker when the (1998) PGA was at Sahalee," Benzel explained, "but whoever it was declined to have a marker with them. Being a PGA Professional myself, I was obviously going to say yes because it would be a great experience for another PGA Professional."
Bryan, in his 19th year at Southern Hills, has now played as a marker in two major championships, filling in during the third and fourth rounds at the 2001 U.S. Open held at Southern Hills when Lee Janzen was disqualified for using a towel to dry the fairway before replacing his ball.
"No, I'm never rooting for anyone to get DQ'd," joked Bryan, "but it is always a thrill to get to participate in one of these. And especially today, having my son (David Bryan, who is also a PGA Golf Professional at Southern Hills) on the bag, well it doesn't get any better than that."
In fact, the first group of the morning seemed as appropriate for Father's Day as it did for a final round of the season's major championship as Benzel had his father caddying for him.
"We talked about family, career, where he's going," Bryan said about his discussions with the young player from Seattle. "I congratulated him on just getting married, he's a great young man."
As for how he played, Bryan was pleased with his performance -- especially considering the short notice.
"I played pretty good on the back," Bryan beamed. "I shot a 36 I believe. It wasn't quite as good on the front, I was getting warmed up and spending too much time in the rough. I think it was a 43 on the front.
"I don't think I was too much a distraction or anything, and then on the back, we were both playing well so I think it was fun."
And Benzel found another benefit from playing with Bryan, one that he had not considered.
"He's got a lot of friends," laughed Benzel. "The members here were following him around, so it was nice to have a lot of people watching."
"I may not be a great player," Bryan said with a smile, "but I've got a lot of friends. They were great in cheering me on and showing support. "As a PGA Professional and host pro, it was a thrill. I hope other PGA Host Professionals get similar opportunities because it's really special."