PGA Rookie Wesley Bryan on God, Marriage & Golf (In That Order)

By   •   August 7, 2017

Wesley Bryan holds the trophy after winning the RBC Heritage golf tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina, on Easter Sunday. Shortly after his win, Bryan seized an opportunity to shift the attention from himself to the true meaning of Easter.

Wesley Bryan has watched enough golf to know what happens immediately after a nationally televised PGA Tour victory. So when he got his first win—as a rookie at the RBC Heritage in his home state of South Carolina on Easter Sunday—he walked up to the TV tower prepared to talk about anything. And he did.

“Was it really as pressure-packed coming down the stretch as you thought it might be when you would dream about trying to win on the tour?” CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz asked. Bryan answered that he wasn’t nervous at all … until he approached the second-to-last hole.

“Number 17, I got up and honestly, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth,” Bryan said. “And I was like, ‘Well, shoot—I guess this is what nervous feels like!’”

Laughter broke out as Nantz and co-host Nick Faldo appeared amused and repulsed at the same time. This was clearly a golfer committed to being 100 percent real—on camera and off.

Watch the full interview below.

A minute later, Bryan had another opportunity to get real. At the very end of the interview, Nantz paused for a second before asking one last question: “And how about winning on Easter Sunday, for you?”

Bryan didn’t hesitate—he was ready.

“I want this day to be as little about me as possible and more about our Savior who came out of the tomb,” he said. “It was, I mean, just so special to get it done on such a special day.”

Bryan later said he had taken a few seconds to collect his thoughts on the way to the TV tower.

“I figured [Nantz] would mention something about Easter,” he said, “and I’m glad he teed it up for me.”

If Nantz teed it up, Bryan put it right down the middle of the fairway as he effortlessly shifted the attention of millions of viewers—if only for a few seconds—from golf to Jesus.

Maybe it happened so naturally because he’s trained himself to shift his own focus from the demands of the PGA Tour to the quiet discipline of daily time with God.

Wesley and his older brother, George, are known for their antics on and off the golf course, particularly their wacky and creative trick shots, which have garnered millions of YouTube views. The brothers share a devotion to God, a love of golf and a sense of humor. These days, they’re both too busy playing pro golf to focus on their trick shots, but they still pal around as much as possible.

“Circumstances don’t change that,” Bryan said. “There are still enough hours in the day to devote anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to the Word. Usually it’s first thing in the morning.”

He also spends Tuesday nights taking part in the traveling Bible study known as the PGA Tour Fellowship. The time of worship, prayer and study has been known to include golf pros Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, among many others. The weekly event helps keep Bryan zeroed in on his relationship with Christ—a relationship he says he didn’t always have, despite his parents’ insistence on church attendance.

“I believed in Jesus, I believed in God, but I didn’t have a relationship,” Bryan said. “And then I wandered away through high school. I was chasing women for the wrong reasons. I was even chasing my now-wife for the wrong reasons.”

He credits much of his turnaround to the love and persistence of his childhood best buddy, who kept sharing the Gospel until it sank in.

“Finally I realized I was in a really dark place,” Bryan said. “I would say I was a Christian, but there was no relationship there. There was no ‘fruit.’”

Bryan became a Christ follower his senior year of high school—and called a mulligan on his relationship with his girlfriend, Elizabeth.

“We set up rules and everything,” Bryan said. “We were going down the really wrong path, physically, and I was not helping our cause out. But from then on it was a complete 180, and the outlook of our relationship—of life—had an eternal perspective rather than, ‘What can I do right this moment to satisfy me?’”

Wesley and Elizabeth married in 2012, shortly after both graduated from the University of South Carolina. You could say the wedding was a long time coming—they first met in their 4-year-old preschool class.

Elizabeth and Wesley at a picnic with their 4-year-old preschool class.

Elizabeth works part time as a physician’s assistant and joins her husband on the tour as much as possible. With Wesley’s career taking off, they could afford for Elizabeth to quit her job, “but I didn’t want her to just give up on her passion,” Wesley said.

“I feel like she’s really called to be in the field of medicine and caring for her patients,” he added. “That’s where her heart’s been for a lot of years, so I felt like it was important for her to be able to work.”

When Elizabeth does join him on the tour, Wesley says he’s intentional about making time to date her. That often means saying “no” to other good things in order to say “yes” to his wife.

“When you see the way the world views things out here [on the tour], it’s a lot of people who have golf as their top priority,” Bryan said. “I said to myself when I got married that it was going to be Jesus, my wife and work.”

Elizabeth and Wesley at his brother George’s wedding in February 2017.

Eventually, Bryan would like to add children to that list, but not quite yet—“They scare the heck out of me.”

In the meantime, the Jesus-marriage-golf lineup seems to be more than enough to keep this PGA rookie busy.

“I feel like God’s given me this platform for a reason,” Bryan said. “I would love to continue on in golf and progress and get better.

“And win more tournaments to continue to use the platform to share the Gospel with others.”

>>Love golf? And a few golf jokes? Listen to Billy Graham’s 1977 message from Charlotte, North Carolina: “Golf & the Christian Life.”

>>Wesley Bryan said he knew about Jesus but didn’t have a relationship. Find out what it means to really know Jesus.