Pro leads with his wife on the bag in last-ditch effort to secure PGA Tour status
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Over 100 Tour pros who didn’t make the field in Orlando are battling it out at the Puerto Rico Open at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Rio Grande, P.R. These alternate-field events present great opportunities for up-and-coming, unheralded and journeyman pros alike to capture their first victory or secure status on Tour. (Bay Hill leader Viktor Hovland snagged his first Tour win at the 2020 Puerto Rico Open.)
Ryan Brehm is exactly that type of golfer, and he’s making the most of his opportunity this week in Puerto Rico, capturing the 36-hole lead — with the direct help of his wife. And he happens to have more on the line than anyone in the field.
The 35-year-old journeyman pro, who has two Korn Ferry Tour wins on his resume, is competing in Puerto Rico on limited status via a minor medical exemption. Without a win or a solo-second finish, Brehm will lose his Tour status altogether.
His wife, Chelsey, has played the role of his caddie recently in his last-ditch effort to keep his PGA Tour career alive. The pair finished Friday’s second round with a flourish, going birdie-eagle to finish off a 67 and reach 11 under, good enough for a one-shot lead heading into the weekend.
“It would be wrong to say you don’t think about it, but realistically, since the beginning of this year we’ve just been trying to improve every day, every week,” Brehm said on Friday. “As long as we can do that, if we can take something away from each round, each situation, put some pressure on myself, we’re going to learn from it. Just enjoy the process of doing that really and we’re doing that.”
Golfers often use “we” when talking about their play in order to acknowledge their caddies’ hard work and the essential role they play, but that’s doubly important when your caddie is also your wife.
The Tour caught up with the couple after their round on Friday, and Brehm offered a little insight into their on-course partnership, explaining how Chelsey has quickly caught on and succeeded in her caddie duties.
“You know, she gets the yardage book every week, and she’s double-checking my numbers,” Brehm began. “I think she’s got a much better feel for the game than when we started. I mean, she’s getting wind directions and doing a lot of the little things that a caddie would do.”
But despite their lead, there is still a lot of golf left to be played and their chances of securing the victory are still low. But the Brehms aren’t letting the pressure get to them and instead have adopted a different perspective, living in the moment and appreciating the unique opportunity while it lasts.
“We’re in a beautiful place, honestly every week is pretty much a beautiful place we go,” Brehm explained. “So let’s soak it in while we can. I think we both agree that this isn’t permanent, but we’re having fun while we can do it, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
If they end up in the winner’s circle come Sunday, they’ll be able to keep doing it for a long time.