April 13, 2021
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA
Harbour Town Golf Links
DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome Bryson Nimmer to the interview room at the HBC Heritage. Thanks for joining us for a few minutes. I know this is a very special week for you. With that said, if we could take you back to growing up as a kid here in Hilton Head Island, I know everything from working the range to being out here as a kid watching the tournament. If you could just share some thoughts on how special it is to be here playing this week.
BRYSON NIMMER: Yeah, it's awesome. I'm really excited to be down here. It's a little different when you're inside the ropes than what I was used to kind of following along and working the range and driving people around and everything. It's really special, and I'm just glad to be able to do it this week and represent the Lowcountry.
DOUG MILNE: I know your golf history speaks for itself, but I know you obviously have baseball in your past, as well. Your dad played golf and I read somewhere that he was not the type to kind of force your hand into the game of golf. If you could just talk about how you made that transition from baseball to golf and when you really felt like that connected with you.
BRYSON NIMMER: I think I was probably 14 or 15. Kind of grew up playing baseball the whole time. It was kind of the sport that I loved the most. Just thought that's what I was going to do.
My dad always kind of had golf there. He played a lot, obviously, growing up, and I would go out to the range, just kind of hit balls with him, and finally I kind of took to it and really started to like it and kind of decided that's what I would rather do. Obviously baseball is like real tough as far as kind of getting to that next level, and I felt like I had a higher ceiling with golf than I did with baseball. Ended up here, and glad I made that choice.
DOUG MILNE: You're coming off the LocaliQ Series. If we could just get a few comments on how important and special that was. You obviously played so incredibly well in that series that it really didn't even matter what you did in the final event. Just some thoughts on how that kind of prepared you to get to that next level.
BRYSON NIMMER: It really did. I mean, it was an awesome series. It was cool that the TOUR was able to do that, and we were just super thankful to have that opportunity and for LocaliQ for sponsoring it. It was just a great opportunity. It really did prepare me. There were so many good players playing in these those events, some really top players in the world, and some guys that we'll definitely see out on TOUR one day.
Golf gets better at this level, and everybody has got a chance to be really, really good, it's just making it happen. This level you just have to get comfortable and realize you belong out here.
DOUG MILNE: You have made a few starts on TOUR, the Puerto Rico Open, most recently coming off a Top-40 finish in the most recent one there. Was kind of making those PGA TOUR starts, I know you made a number of starts on the Mackenzie TOUR starts, PGA TOUR Canada, was the PGA TOUR, the big leagues, so to speak, kind of everything you expected and hoped for?
BRYSON NIMMER: Yeah, it's awesome. Anytime you get to play on this TOUR is unbelievable. It's just a whole 'nother level. You know, you see guys that I grew up watching on TV and stuff, and it's just the coolest thing ever when you're hitting balls right next to them. There is that little bit of awe factor, but you've got to calm yourself down and realize that you're there to compete and try to beat those guys. It's just awesome, and I'm happy to be here this week.
Q. You talked about the awe factor there with some of those golfers, but you're all smiles, man. You seem really relaxed. You feel at home at this course, obviously. Can you speak to your comfortability factor coming into this because you're not acting like this is some massive nerve-racking deal.
BRYSON NIMMER: Yeah, I think it's just -- I think I've been here so much, and whether it be working the range or caddying last year or whatever it is, just you get more and more comfortable the more times you're out here and you see a place. I think that's kind of why I'm not so nervous. I mean, I think there's still that, and come Thursday I'm still going to have some nerves, but it's just like any other day. I'm from the area, and Hilton Head is pretty comfortable to me, so I'm happy to be here, and I think it'll go well.
Q. Is there anything really new about this week that you haven't faced before other than the golf?
BRYSON NIMMER: I don't think so. I mean, it's still just golf, and I've played this place a bunch, and the golf course isn't going to change that much. It's obviously in a little different shape than it is some of the other times a year that I've played it, but it's still just golf, and you still have to go out there and do what you're supposed to do and just execute. I think just getting comfortable and doing what I know how to do is all I really need to do this week.
Q. Either this week or before, who are some of the players on TOUR you've been able to interact with, guys who have been nice to you or whatever?
BRYSON NIMMER: Yeah, I've obviously had some interactions with a lot of the Clemson guys, just that connection. Been around Lucas a lot, J-Byrd, Ben Martin, all those guys. But I've gotten to know and meet a lot of the other guys out here, and that's really cool and special.
You know, you see these guys on TV and they're guys you look up to and stuff, but then you meet them in person, and it's cool to have that interaction with them, guys like Patton Kizzire, saw Matt Kuchar out on the putting green today, a lot of guys I followed around growing up. But it's just really, really cool to see them in a different light and see them just as normal people and just up close right next to them. There's really awesome guys out here on this TOUR, and I think people should know how great some of these guys really are.
Q. Speaking of guys on TOUR, "Bryson" is a fairly unique name in the grand scheme of things, and yet you happen it share it with one of the most notorious golfers on the planet. I'm wondering what that's like; it's kind of like being named Alexa or Siri or something. What's that been like?
BRYSON NIMMER: Yeah, it's kind of funny, they put that new net up out there and I saw everybody on Twitter putting stuff up about how they put the net up for Bryson, and my coach and laughing and joking and stuff yesterday, and he's like, yeah, Bryson, they put that net up for you; you've got to hit it a little harder. It's just kind of funny. Obviously it's cool to share a name with somebody like that, and hopefully I can play as well as he did.
Q. As a baseball guy, tell me what you think about the new rule where there's a runner that starts on second in extra innings.
BRYSON NIMMER: I mean, I don't hate it. I think they're kind of making progress in the sport to try to make it kind of more fun and more exciting. I just think they're trying to kind of improve the viewership at home and everything.
I think it definitely doesn't hurt. It's kind of like college football, overtime rule starting at the 25 or 20. It makes it a little more exciting. A lot of stuff can happen.
Q. Real quick, we've followed you all the way from Hilton Head Christian through the junior golf ranks, college, now professional. What is it like? What feeling do you have fulfilling the dream that you set forth so many years ago? To have it in play, to be teeing it up on the PGA TOUR, what is that feeling like?
BRYSON NIMMER: It's awesome. I mean, it's always been a dream to play here. Obviously growing up here, seeing you around a lot, Big Frank, and it's just really special. It's what I've always wanted to do. Ever since I really started focusing on golf, this was the dream. It's just a lot of fulfillment, and obviously my goals are a lot higher and there's things I want to accomplish, but this is definitely a big step in that process.
Q. You have a lot of attention on you as a professional right now. What advice would you give another Clemson guy, Trevor Lawrence, as he takes the next step into the professional ranks?
BRYSON NIMMER: I think he'll be just fine. He's pretty calm, cool and collected, and I think that's going to serve him really well coming up. Just keep doing what he's doing, and he's going to be a heck of a player. He did a lot of things at Clemson. He's going to do a lot of big things in the NFL.
Q. Obviously you're going to have one of the biggest followings in terms of local interactions and things like that because so many people from this area appreciate watching you play and they're excited for you. I followed your dad around that Arkansas course during the NCAA championships. He's quite the character. I know your whole family is going to be out there. Can you walk me through what it's like when your parents are on the course following you? Can you feel their presence? Do they say stuff to you? How does that work out?
BRYSON NIMMER: Yeah, they've gotten a lot better. My dad being a golfer and everything and kind of teaching me growing up, he obviously wants me to play the best that I possibly can, and a lot of times he wants to do anything he can to help me. He's really learned, I think, over the last few years to kind of let go a little bit and let me do my thing, and that's been awesome, and I can't thank him enough for that.
It's funny, in college there was a lot of times that you'd see him over in the trees like thinking it was going to affect me or something if I saw him, and it's just really funny to see the two of them. I love having them out there. They a hundred percent get more nervous than I do on the golf course, and it's actually really funny to see.
Q. I think I saw your dad in the trees in Arkansas a little bit. Is your mom also superstitious or is it like black and white, the differences between the two of them?
BRYSON NIMMER: It's pretty black and white. She's right there. She wants me to see her all the time. She wants me to know that she's there and supporting me, and it's a good little mix between the two of them. My mom is definitely a lot calmer and level-headed. She's the one that -- I'm not too worried to see her over in the crowd because she's not going to show a ton of emotions.
Q. You know it's not just your family that's going to be out there following you. Like 15 people I walked by today was asking if I knew what your tee time was. I had to tell them no, but there's so many people that want to follow you and keep up with you. What does it mean that you have the support here from basically anyone that's grown up in this area?
BRYSON NIMMER: I mean, it's just incredible. I can't really be thankful enough for how many people care, and just want to see me do well. I mean, you need that in order to be successful. You need a strong kind of community behind you that wants you to be successful and helps you.
I can't say enough about the Lowcountry and the people here. Everybody is just really good people, and they really just want you to do well and they want to do anything they can to help me do well.
I'm so excited to see them all out there Thursday and Friday and the weekend and go from there and hopefully see them in a lot of tournaments in the future.
Q. How did the Press Golf Series experience you had last week come together and what did you take away from that?
BRYSON NIMMER: It was awesome. Kind of came out of nowhere. I was planning on taking a week off last week, actually, and just getting ready for this, but I wanted to play. I wanted something to compete in. I couldn't really find anything with the Masters going on. Not a lot of tours or anything have anything going on.
But I had a guy reach out, Max Rottluff, and he wanted me to come out and play with him, and so we did it, and ended up winning and it was an awesome week and just had a great, great time. Obviously got to compete for two days, which I think got me ready for this week. Anytime you win you get a ton of confidence out of it. It's definitely something I'm going to try to piggyback into this week a little bit.
Q. Just wanted to know how many friends and family do you think you will have here, and then do you know how many rounds of golf you've played on this course?
BRYSON NIMMER: I think it's -- I can't even imagine how many people are coming. I've had a lot of text messages and a lot of people reaching out. I know it's obviously tough this year with the limited amount of fans, but I'd say there will be anywhere from 100, 200 people at least out there following, which is awesome. I can't thank everybody enough that's willing to come out and follow me.
And then playing here, I mean, in high school John Farrell used to let us come out and hit it around and bring our high school buddies out and play. He was so awesome about that. He was always giving back to the high school kids like that. I've probably played here 40 to 50 times. Obviously not always in this kind of shape. It's kind of firm and fast this year, and a lot of times you catch it at other times during the year and it's a lot softer. But even just sight lines and stuff off the tee, it helps a ton. A lot of course knowledge to gain from that.
Q. I know you had kind of alluded to it right after you got the sponsor's exemption that maybe it was a blessing in disguise you didn't get to play last year because there were no fans, and you just talked about it, you're going to have a lot of people out here supporting you. Just going into the week, could you talk about how fortunate you feel that you will have that support out on the course with you?
BRYSON NIMMER: I think it's hard not to like that. I think just any time you have people out there that are pulling for you and wanting to see good things happen, I think it helps. I think somehow, some way it just makes things go well. It's just going to be awesome, and like I said last year, it would have been really, really cool to play last year. It was awesome to get to caddie and just see it, but I even think just the experience caddying last year and then now getting to be on the other side of the bag and playing, that even helps. Everything works for a reason, and just thankful it worked out the way that it did.
Q. I know you said you've played this course so many times, and not even just the course being in great shape, but being out here today and seeing all the signage, all the RBC Heritage and PGA TOUR stuff, did it feel different?
BRYSON NIMMER: For sure. It felt way different. I mean, you see the grandstands and you see people out there. There were a few people out there just watching, walking around today. But you get that TOUR feel and that real, like, surroundings and everything, and it's different, and it's a cool different, though. It's what you like, and that's why we play. That's why we want to be out here.
Q. You mentioned I think in a previous interview that this is something you've dreamed about as a kid, playing in this specific event. Obviously you've got to focus going into it, but how much are you trying to focus but also take those mental snapshots and really soak it in and take in these memories, as well?
BRYSON NIMMER: I think it's both. I think every hole I'm trying to just remember it. At the same time I'm going to be really focused this week and obviously trying to play my best golf and kind of try to peak this week and have the best week I can have.
Yeah, I've already had a couple memories just being here and some of the experiences in the last couple days, and hopefully there's a lot of really, really good ones coming toward the end of this week.
Q. Is there anybody you're looking forward to seeing or meeting on the PGA TOUR that you've always kind of wanted to meet and haven't gotten a chance to?
BRYSON NIMMER: Nobody in particular, but there's so many really cool guys out here, guys that I watch on TV all the time. I mean, anytime you look across the range you take a minute, and you're like, oh, yeah, that's cool.
Q. I think you said earlier that you caddied last year at the tournament. I wanted to know who you caddied for and what that experience was like, and I wanted to know if there was a certain hole or holes that really fit your eye out here and if there's one that gives you a big challenge?
BRYSON NIMMER: I caddied for one of my good buddies Spencer Ralston. He won the Players Amateur I guess two years ago now and earned that sponsor's exemption, so he asked me to caddie. Obviously being a local, I've played the place a good bit, so tried to help him out last year as best I could.
Really out here I like a lot of the holes. It's just such a good layout. It makes you hit golf shots. It makes you shape the ball. You've always going to be thinking. I'm really happy that the greens are firm and fast this year because it makes it play a lot different.
You know, you're always kind of having to game plan and figure out where you want to land it, where it's trying to finish. There's no holes in particular that really stand out to me.
The par-3s are very important this week. You just have to really make good swings on those holes and try to just play them the best you can. Those are going to be really key this week for really any guy in the field.
Q. You're a local inspiration to so many kids in our area. What message do you have to young golfers who aspire to be on TOUR?
BRYSON NIMMER: Just to keep working as hard as you can. You have so much access around here to become great. There's so many people around here that really love junior golf and want to help you, and just kind of work as hard as you can, and the sky's the limit. Dream really, really big, and the harder you work, the more goals you'll achieve.
Q. Jesse is quite an interesting caddie. I don't know how golfers typically meet their caddies, but your story seems kind of unique in that you went into his club-fitting shop one day and no one wanted to touch your putter because it was so expensive, no one wanted to mess it up, and Jesse stepped up and said he was going to work with it. Do you remember that day and how it all went down?
BRYSON NIMMER: Yeah, I walked in. I think I had run into one of the other golf stores in the area. Obviously had a putter that was a pretty expensive putter, and I remember I walked in and the guy just didn't really want to touch it. He's like, it's too much of a liability if I do something to it, and I told him, if something happens to it, that's totally on me, just I need it fixed. He wouldn't do it.
So I found Jesse down at Club Champion there in Bluffton, and the minute I said, hey, could you do this, he goes, I'll do it, I got it, I'm good enough, like I know I can do it. I think that little bit of confidence kind of stood out to me, just showed me that he was a confident guy that believed in what he was doing, believed that no matter what he was doing he could do a good job at it.
I think I just kind of stuck to that, and when it came up that I knew I had some starts coming up that I knew he had a really high golf IQ, and he loved to be out here. He's just a good guy, and I'm really glad that it worked out the way that it did.
Q. I think that same night or maybe a couple nights later, you guys spent four hours at the putting green knocking it out and that's really where y'all's relationship really came together. How do you make that jump from, hey, he's working with my clubs, to hey, I want him on the bag when I make a life-changing start at the RBC Heritage?
BRYSON NIMMER: Yeah, I mean, I think those are -- as a golfer, those are our tools. Those are the things that are -- what we do to make a living. It starts at that, and I trusted him a lot with my golf clubs, and I trusted him with kind of getting me in the right stuff and playing the right equipment.
I think it helps a lot to have that out on the golf course with you and have him on the bag because he sees the shots, he knows -- he's incredibly good. It's like crazy how good he is at being able to tell you like spin rates and stuff without having a launch monitor. It's kind of built in. He's watched so many people hit golf balls on launch monitors that he almost is like a walking launch monitor. It's just -- you know, he's got a tool and he's got a way about him that he's just really good on the golf course and helping, and I think it's only going to help me.
Q. Were you sad that you -- I don't know if you didn't get the invite to Trevor's wedding or what happened there, but you see all the pictures, and are you bummed out that you kind of had to miss that?
BRYSON NIMMER: No, I never -- me and Trevor never really met a whole lot. I was a senior, I believe, when he was a freshman, and we might have crossed paths like once or twice, but never a whole lot. I don't think I was quite close enough to make the wedding cut, but it was cool. It was pretty awesome that it was right here and not too far away. It looked like they had an awesome time, which is pretty cool.
DOUG MILNE: Bryson, we wish you the best of luck this week, and we certainly appreciate your time.
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