News & Opinion

Brady Schnell can’t change PGA Tour’s version of truth

Vijay Singh earns a spot in a Korn Ferry Tour event, whether Schnell likes it or not. Besides, how can Singh take a spot from somebody when it was his all along?

It’s understandable why so many of us have grown a bit wacky lately. One can do only so many puzzles between grooming the lawn to look better than ever.

Many of us have been cooped up at home for most of the day during the coronavirus pandemic, only to venture beyond the four walls while wearing a mask and trying to stay at least 6 feet from others to be socially distant.

Brady Schnell swing shot
Brady Schnell

But the comments by Brady Schnell about Vijay Singh, a World Golf Hall of Fame member who is included in the recent entry list to play in the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass in mid-June, go beyond being housebound. They clearly were out of line and repugnant.

I know that Mike Van Sickle, who can drive a golf ball farther than I can hit driver and 3-wood combined, weighed in passionately on this topic for Monday’s Morning Read ("Vijay Singh has no business playing on Korn Ferry Tour," May 11). I respectfully disagree with his premise that Singh should not play in a Korn Ferry Tour event in mid-June that would end the developmental tour’s 3½-month suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.

Van Sickle, a touring professional who lacks status on any major pro tour this year, took the time to provide a thoughtful analysis of his position. Contrast that approach with Schnell, a 35-year-old touring pro who let his infantile emotions get the better of him last week. He has toiled in near-anonymity in 13-plus seasons on the PGA Tour and its developmental circuits. In 27 starts on the PGA Tour, he earned $220,016, with no top-10 finishes. Add $530,868 plus three victories in 168 starts in the minor leagues, including five missed cuts in six starts this season on the KFT.

Brady Schnell tweet 1

Schnell went deeper down the rabbit hole with a comment on Twitter suggesting that the spot should go to someone else and not a hall-of-famer such as Singh.

Brady Schnell tweet 2

Not to be outdone by his idiocy, Schnell dug even further with this tweet.

Brady Schnell tweet 3

Schnell eventually apologized and removed the tweets from his account. I don’t know whether Schnell ever has met Singh, but if so, the comment about “Vijay being Vijay” seems far afield of his knowledge of the 57-year-old Singh, who has won 34 times on the PGA Tour, including three major championships.

None of this sniping really matters much, compared with the fact that Singh earned the right via his “lifetime exemption” to play in any event that the PGA Tour sponsors, be it the Korn Ferry, Latinoamerica or other developmental tours.

To suggest otherwise shows that Schnell does not know the No. 1 rule in professional golf: Play better.

If a professional golfer doesn’t like his status or access to a tour, the problem can be solved with better play. No one wants to hear about any perceived misfortune.

Golf is inherently unfair. It can be windy in the morning and dead calm in the afternoon, favoring the players with later tee times. The next day, the course could be bathed in sunshine early before rain arrives in buckets in the afternoon, favoring the early part of the draw.

Any professional golfer should know that he must suck it up and deal with the game’s occasional misfortunes. There’s a term for it: rub of the green. The “rub” dates to Shakespeare’s early-17th-century writing, and the Rules of Golf picked up the phrase “rub of the green” in the 1812 edition.

Though the term used to be more specific in golf to the ball’s movement, the phrase evolved to convey good or bad luck on the course.

As much as I can support my position that Schnell was far out of bounds with his comments – as evidenced by his removal of the tweets and apology one day later – my beliefs or Schnell’s really don’t matter. According to the PGA Tour’s rules, Singh has earned the right to play on the developmental tour. The contention that he is taking a spot from some other aspiring professional whom Schnell might think would be more deserving is illogical. How can Singh take someone else’s spot if Singh is the one who earned it?

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