From Trick Shots to the PGA TOUR: Can George Bryan IV Contend in the Myrtle Beach Classic?

Probably the lowest point in George Bryan IV’s recent golf career came in early March. That’s when the tech-savvy half of Bryan Bros Golf, whose trick-shot and instructional videos have become must-watch items for golfers of all levels, hoped to earn a spot in only his second PGA Tour tournament field in 14 years.

The occasion was “The Q at Myrtle Beach,” an 18-hole qualifier in which 16 social media influencers and playing professionals battled for a spot in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic. With one hole to play at TPC Myrtle Beach, Bryant held a two-shot lead over Matt Atkins; the 36-year-old Columbia native (pictured right) could envision himself teeing it up this week at The Dunes Beach & Golf Club.

Then, in a flash, it all went away. Bryan’s closing bogey and Atkins’ birdie forced a playoff, which Atkins won with a birdie. He was in; Bryan, once again, was out.
“I thought I blew it,” he said. “Afterward, I had trouble going to the course” at West Columbia’s Solina Golf Club, where he and his brother, Wesley, a PGA Tour regular, record most of their videos. “I replayed that bogey, and I couldn’t let it go.

“I stayed upset because I knew what (the Myrtle Beach Classic) meant to me. I grew up playing golf in South Carolina, so to let (my chance) slip through my fingers … it was rough.”

Two weeks later, though, the Bryan Bros posted a YouTube video of the “Q” with a much happier ending. George Bryan IV – G4 to friends and family – was shown taking a phone call from Myrtle Beach Classic tournament director Darren Nelson, who with a grin told Bryan, “Hey, I wanted to see what you’re doing May 6-12,” and offered him a sponsor’s exemption.

“(Nelson) said, ‘We’d love to have you be a part of it,” Bryan said this week. “At first, it didn’t seem real. Then I was going through the emotions of (playing in) a PGA Tour event … something deep down inside me is excited to compete against the best in the world.”

Starting Thursday, he gets that chance.

It seems only fitting that Bryan – whose only other Tour appearance was last November, when he qualified for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, where he tied for 69th and won $13,325 – would get a shot at playing in the Myrtle Beach Classic, the area’s first PGA Tour event in decades. Since 2014, the Bryan Bros have turned their signature videos, including those recorded at courses in Myrtle Beach, into a cottage industry, earning 300,000 subscribers on YouTube, plus followings of 250,000 on Instagram and 60,000 on TikTok.

In January, the brothers were named Official Ambassadors of the Myrtle Beach golf community in partnership with Golf Tourism Solutions, which promotes golf on the Grand Strand. George IV believes The Dunes Club will be up to testing the PGA Tour field.

“Last week (during practice), it was as good as I’ve seen the course,” he said. “It’s pretty tricky off the tee, not a lot of (out-of-bounds) and hazards, but if you miss the fairways, it’s hard to hit those greens, which are ‘slope-y’ and subtle.” A winning score “could be 69-68 (per round) … or maybe a 64 every round wins.”

Wesley Bryan, the 2017 RBC Heritage champion with $4.6 million in career earnings (115 Tour events), was already in the field. But while the younger Bryan brother has enjoyed some success on the Tour – he recently finished second to Billy Horschel at another “alternate” event, the Corales Puntacana Championship in Mexico – G4’s competitive career never got off the ground after three All-American seasons at the University of South Carolina.

Wesley won three Korn Ferry Tour events en route to playing the PGA Tour, but G4 played just four times on the developmental tour. His attempts to play either tour via Q-school resulted in one second-stage finish before last year, when he again failed to advance past second stage.

The golf fates sometimes seemed to target him for disappointment. Last week at a U.S. Open qualifier, Bryan IV said he was paired with a player (he didn’t name him) who claimed to be a plus-handicap but “shot 111,” he said, and laughed. “I kind of checked out a little … okay, it was a full checkout. That was a weird day to say the least.”

But if top-level golf has eluded him, Bryan has carved out his own niche with social media. “In 2014, we began the videos, at first with trick shots,” he said. “They were cool clips, but only a handful of us were doing those. Now, social media golf content is more toward real golf, playing golf. It’s not traditional, but it falls in line with what we’re better at, which is playing golf on the course.”

The “we” is both brothers, though for a while (such as in 2017, when Wesley won the RBC Heritage), George IV was the tech-savvy brother, Wesley the on-camera star. In Bryan parlance, “George was the smart one, Wesley the pretty one,” though G4 laughingly insists, “We all know I’m the pretty one.

“Back in 2020, our first two (instructional) videos, it was me bending to fit his schedule, on his off-days. He’d just show up and play, then say, ‘I gotta go practice.’ But now (as Wesley has struggled with injuries, and both Bryans are married with children), “he (Wesley) is committed to being a fulltime YouTuber. He’s talking to people, coming up with ideas, he’s fully committed.

“That’s taken what we do up another notch. He’s enjoying doing it as a business, and it shows.” Perhaps because of that and less pressure on his Tour performances, “he feels like he’s playing better now, too,” George IV said. “He made five of his last six cuts,” including his recent runner-up finish.

As for George IV’s ambitions to compete … “Last year I ended on a hot note at Q-school, but it’s been a long time since I competed in tournaments,” he said. “Overall, I feel like my day job is creating YouTube videos, and I’ve got a family and a wife who’s eight months pregnant. So my golf game ranks third right now.”
That said, this week’s opportunity to test his game with PGA Tour rank-and-file players is tantalizing for G4. “I want to be able to say that, for 18 holes each day, I played well and had fun,” he said. “(But) at the end of the day, my job isn’t to see how well I shoot anymore. My job is to do social media work, create videos and content for the tournament.

“It’s tough to balance both (competing and creating), but I enjoy doing both; the last four years, that’s been my ‘normal.’ A lot of guys grinding on the Tour, I’ve been in those situations. But I’m not on the PGA Tour; my life and livelihood don’t depend on how many birdies I make. It matters, yeah, but not really.”

And yet … the drive to show what he can do is still there. “I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it (challenging this week),” G4 said. “It’s not going to happen … but I can’t help going there.”

He laughed. “Imagine, a YouTube fulltime guy, which is what I do, thinks he can win a PGA Tour event?” Another laugh: “It’d be wild.”

Almost as wild as getting a chance to win in his home state, which Wesley did at Hilton Head. Could this be his turn?

“If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s not going to happen,” George IV said. “I go in believing.”

TEE SHOTS. The Myrtle Beach Classic is the first PGA Tour event staged at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club since it staged Q-school qualifying in 1973, but the course hosted six season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship events on the PGA Tour Champions from1994-99. Winners included past major champions Raymond Floyd and Hale Irwin. … The purse for the tournament is $4 million, with the winner earning $720,000. Also at stake is exempt status on the PGA Tour through 2026, and 300 FedEx points. … Brandt Snedeker heads a list of 38 players in the field who have at least one PGA Tour win, for a total of 92 victories. Snedeker has nine titles, while Billy Horschel, who won in Mexico two weeks ago, has eight. Other multiple winners include Greenville’s Bill Haas (six), Columbia native Jonathan Byrd, Ryan Moore and Nick Watney (five each), and Aaron Baddeley, Daniel Berger, Aiken’s Kevin Kisner, Martin Laird and Sean O’Hair (four each). … Bill Haas will have a veteran caddie this week: his father, nine-time PGA Tour winner Jay Haas, now playing the PGA Tour Champions (18 wins).

(George and Wesley Bryan pictured right, photos for this piece from George Bryan’s Instagram Account)

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