Despite collapse, Ben Griffin still having fun after wild ride to PGA Tour

Ben Griffin

Ben Griffin on Sunday during the fourth round of the Bermuda Championship.

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Ben Griffin’s collapse at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship on Sunday was not a quick death.

It wasn’t one mistake that was the rookie’s undoing at Port Royal Golf Course.

Instead, it was a long, slow bleed for Griffin. First, there were the back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13. Then the unplayable off 14 tee led to a third bogey. The tough bunker shot on 15. The tee shot in the penalty area on 16, and it was capped off by the water ball from 17 tee, despite laying back with an iron off the tee.

He went quickly from a two-stroke lead, and it being his tournament to lose, to doing exactly that.

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“Not how I wanted to [finish], but it was playing tough out there,” Griffin said after the round. “Those are some of the toughest holes coming down the stretch, especially trying to win a PGA Tour event. I tried my best. I had a couple shots get loose in the wind and you’ve got to be a little bit better, more precise when it gets windy like that or else you can kind of grind for pars and bogeys quick. That happened to me. You know, I couldn’t believe my tee shot on 16. I was able to draw it as much as I did against that left-to-right wind. I figured there was no way if I tried as hard as I could to draw it, it would end up left, so that was a bummer.”

But throughout the methodical collapse, Griffin’s head never dipped. He never looked bewildered. It didn’t even appear that the smile he carried for many of the first 63 holes left his face very often.

“You know, playing golf for a living’s just really fun,” he said of his demeanor. “It just means the world to be able to compete out here and I can’t get mad at anything that I do because it’s so cool to be able to play on the PGA Tour.”

It makes sense Griffin has that sort of perspective, given he probably never expected to be near the lead of a PGA Tour event. He quit professional golf in 2021 and took a job in a mortgage office.

It took convincing from friends and people who saw his game, plus a sponsorship, to get him back into chasing his dream of becoming a PGA Tour pro.

This week was just his eighth PGA Tour start, and just his fourth as a member, after earning his card last season on the Korn Ferry Tour.

He had a top-5, last season at the Wyndham Championship, but that finish was on the strength of a 64-64 weekend. Sunday in Bermuda was the first time he’s truly been in contention.

For the 26-year-old, he was just soaking in the experience.

“Every single time I’m competing out here I’m trying to learn and gain as much as I can from each and every round so I can be better moving forward,” Griffin said. “I’m very comfortable out here. Honestly, I need to be almost a little bit less comfortable in certain situations because I need to make sure I’m again executing and being confident with my swings. I just let a couple get loose and I missed it on the wrong side on a few holes down the stretch, would short-side myself downwind with chips and couldn’t get it close.

“I just put myself in too many difficult spots to come out as the champion this week.”

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