Todd ready to get back once PGA Tour resumes in June

Credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack

Credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack

With three young children roaming the home, there are plenty of diversions to keep Brendon Todd occupied until the PGA Tour returns from its coronavirus hiatus scheduled for mid-June. Schoolwork in the morning, followed by bike rides, soaring on the swing set and maybe a little backyard baseball in the afternoon.

It’s been a rare opportunity for Todd to slow down from the grind of his professional golf career and enjoy life with his wife Rachel and their children Oliver, Scarlett and Violet at their home in Watkinsville. “It’s been a blast,” he said. “For us it’s kind of like an extended summer.”

The extension is scheduled to end in six weeks when Todd and his colleagues return to work. The PGA Tour will resume its renovated schedule with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth on June 11-14 and the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town in Hilton Head, S.C., the following week. Each of the first four events will be held without spectators.

“It’s exciting to see that happen,” Todd said. “I’m a little apprehensive about what airline travel will look like at that time and what the infection rate will be at that time, because I can’t stay quarantined in my basement for 14 days and ask my wife to take care of three kids. So, I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic.

“I would love to get going again, without fans. Once we get to tournaments, we can make it very, very safe and provide a great product on TV. I think everybody’s looking forward to seeing sports on TV again.”

The virus-caused interruption of the season was especially painful for Todd. The University of Georgia graduate – and member of the 2005 NCAA Championship team – was enjoying a career season when play was halted.

Todd had two wins; victories at the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic made him the first to win back-to-back events since Bryson DeChambeau in 2017-18. His earnings of $2.56 million has him at No. 4 in the FedEx Cup standings.

“The downside is that I was playing well,” Todd said. “After having some down years, I was cashing in, finishing a lot of events and maintaining a good number on the (points) list. There were so many things going for me and if we get started back in June, at least a I maintain a high ranking going into the FedEx Cup. So that’s sort of the silver lining.”

After a career year in 2014, when he won the Byron Nelson Classic, and another solid 2015 season, Todd’s career took a nosedive. He made only four cuts from 2016-18, briefly considered walking away and had to regain his status by finishing on the top 50 of the Korn Ferry Tour.

Following a shaky reset – he missed the cut in the first four events of 2019-20 – Todd has been outstanding. His driver was finding the fairway, his short irons were finishing near the hole and his putting stroke, helped by a switch to the Sik Pro C-Series putter, was exact.

During a three-week stretch that included two wins and a fourth-place finish at the RSM Classic in Sea Island, Todd’s scoring average was 65.8 and included two 62s and two 63s.

“That was a blast, you know,” Todd said. “My golf swing got really good and I hit it well all year. My good weeks were when I putted well and my poor weeks were when I just didn’t get the ball in the hole.”

Under the current shelter-at-home edict, Todd has not spent a minute hitting balls at the range. He continues to work out at home each morning, but the only golf has been a couple of weekly games at Athens Country Club or Jennings Mill Country Club. He normally plays with former UGA teammate and fellow PGA professional Chris Kirk as well as other high-level amateurs.

“I’ve really just played rounds,” Todd said. “Those things that were working before were great and as the season starts to branch back out, I’ll get out there and start to fine tune and practice. No point in peaking before the season starts back.”

Todd prefers the simpler approach. His success is built on accuracy off the tee – where he ranks No. 5 on the PGA Tour at 72.34% – and not distance, where he’s No. 226 at 279.8 yards. His scoring average (70.3) ranks 30th and he’s improved to No. 54 in the world rankings.

“You see guys who are out here for 20-25 years and they’re like a well-oiled machine. They just know what to do,” Todd said. “It was a struggle for me to realize when I get good, it’s because I’m hitting fairways and greens and making putts. That’s good enough out there.”

Todd will have a full schedule once play resumes. He qualified for the major championships and the World Golf Championships. The abbreviated schedule gives him a great opportunity to return to the Tour Championship for the first time since 2014, although it reduces the chance to pick up points and earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team.

And Todd is stoked about playing the Masters in November.

“I think the Masters in November would be just amazing,” he said. “I can be cold and windy. It can be warm and mild. But either way, getting to the Masters is a big deal and something I cherish.”