The *other* J.B. in the J.B. Holmes controversy? He was oblivious
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It’s been a weird few days for the other John Bradley. First, five-time PGA Tour winner J.B. Holmes disrupted Bradley’s otherwise normal workweek, and then Bradley thought his friends — of all the nerve — were pranking him by saying a reporter wanted to speak to him about it.
Turns out the reporter is real, as is this story, although this whole thing is hard to fathom.
Just ask John Bradley, the aforementioned other J.B., a 35-year-old father of three who works in pharmaceutical sales.
“I thought it was all a joke,” he said, laughing.
More on that John Bradley later. But first, you may have read, this all started a couple of weeks ago when Holmes, the former Ryder Cupper with $25 million in earnings, entered a two-day, six-person scramble at Franklin Bridge Golf Club, a public course in Franklin, Tenn. That’s when things got weird.
Holmes entered as John Bradley — his first and middle name (he usually goes by J.B.) — and his team was disqualified from the $30,000 Calcutta portion of the event midway through the final round when organizers realized it was Holmes playing on the team.
It’s unclear exactly why Holmes, whose home course is nearby, entered the event under a cryptic name. Some theorized it was to gain an edge on the competition; his teammates told the course owner, who confronted the group, that he didn’t want to deal with the extra attention a Tour player would garner. Holmes later tweeted his friend entered him as “John Bradley” as a joke. The event wasn’t handicapped so there was no issue with Holmes playing. Problem was, with other teams biding in the Calcutta, they would have probably liked to know if anyone in the field was formerly the No. 12-ranked player in the world. Holmes’ team didn’t buy themselves in the Calcutta, but Holmes said members of his team, excluding himself, eventually bought half. Money was later refunded. Holmes’ team still won the stroke-play portion of the event and took home hardware.
The event, called the Gangsome, took place May 19-20. Holmes’ participation surfaced in the past week, and some details recently became more clear.
Part of the reason Holmes flew under the radar, GOLF.com was told via the course owner, was because when his last-minute entry as “John Bradley” was submitted without a handicap, the pro shop decided to look him up in the GHIN system. They found a John Bradley who played out of Three Ridges Golf Course in Knoxville, Tenn., about 300 miles east of Franklin Bridge. He carried a 9.6 handicap and low of 8.8. That must be the guy, organizers thought. So that handicap was slapped on the leaderboard.
After stories were published, Holmes tweeted his handicap was submitted as a plus-4, although that still leaves questions. Why did the pro shop find the other John Bradley and his 8.8 handicap that was used on the leaderboard?
Theories and rumors ran rampant. The other John Bradley was mentioned in stories, and his GHIN profile circulated on social media. Holmes didn’t necessarily steal his identity — it’s his name, too — but he did unwittingly make for one entertaining week for a golf nut a few hundred miles aways.
Now, back to that John Bradley. Who is he, anyway?
John Bradley — not Jonathan — lives in Knoxville, Tenn., and no one really calls him John. Almost everyone calls him J.B. Although he sometimes goes by the nickname “Bird.”
He’s a member of a group that plays in an annual golf buddies trip called the Buzzard Cup, in which a recent media guide — yes, they have media guides — described him as a player with a shaky driver but deft short game. Miller Lites were listed as his weakness, but also a strength.
There are a ton of stories about him, a colorful character, his friends say, which is in stark contrast to the subdued player golf fans know from the Tour — and to whom Bradley has been linked this week.
The Knoxville J.B. once refused to play a course when they said he couldn’t bring his cooler in with him. When he won a Miller-Lite logo bag at a scramble a couple of years ago, it made his year. One Halloween, he dressed up as wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin. He even shaved his head to do it.
One buddy called him a family man who is not too far removed from his younger, wilder days. But mostly he sounds like a classic golf dad, who wishes he could play more golf but makes the most of the rounds he does play.
Bradley was unaware any of this confusion was afoot until a couple of friends from Michigan reached out and sent a screenshot of the story.
“Are you related to J.B. Holmes and never told us?” they asked him.
His friends were giddy over this development. Plus, they’ve always said he looks like J.B. Holmes, anyway. More friends started to text him. They said a reporter wanted to talk with him about it. He didn’t believe them.
“I just think it’s funny. It’s like, what a coincidence? My buddies think it’s hilarious,” Bradley told when GOLF.com reached just before his Friday tee time. “We just all thought it was funny. Just such a coincidence that my handicap was the one they picked out. You’d think from Tennessee, or even including Kentucky, there would be another John Bradley with a handicap. But apparently not.” (A GHIN search confirms Bradley’s hunch.)
He’s a big golf fan and monitors the Tour closely. He attended a Masters and was at the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive. Last week he spent three days at the Korn Ferry Tour event in town.
He tries to play at least once a week — not easy with kids — but revs that schedule up to twice a week when the Buzzards Cup rolls around. He and his pals play 36 holes three straight days, so the game needs to be sharp. Sometimes they stay local and use a buddy’s golf tourism company, but they’ve also traveled to places like Myrtle Beach. Later this month, they’re bound for Pinehurst. They’ll have plenty to talk about.
The attention has been amusing, Bradley says. And unexpected. But what does he really hope comes out of it? That’s easy. A picture with the other J.B.