Bring on the Bettinardi!
Author: Blanche T. Sullivan
Brian Gay Heads to Harbour Town, April 12 – 18, to Defend his Verizon Heritage Title
Brian Gay, winner of the 2009 Verizon Heritage, made tournament history when he seized the title with an unprecedented 10-stroke lead (score of 64). He walked away with his $1,026,000 share of the $5.7 million purse, a coveted Tartan jacket and a much larger fan base. In addition to his well-respected putting prowess, the 38-year-old Texan is blessed with a dynamic and gorgeous better half, wife Kimberly, as well as two charming daughters, and is enjoying increasing success on the PGA TOUR.
CH2 caught up with Brian, while he was in Miami and was fortunate to pull him away from the “World Golf Championships-CA Championship at Doral” for an opportunity to dish about something other than his swing speed and Bettinardi putter!
Celebrate Hilton Head: Are you glad to be returning to Hilton Head Island and the Verizon Heritage?
Brian Gay: I’m looking forward to coming back and reliving some great memories. I don’t think I can repeat what I did last year, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of winning again.
CH2: What is the most significant change you have experienced, as a professional golfer, since your Verizon Heritage win?
BG: I get to talk to you! (with an appreciative laugh). Seriously, I’m getting more attention, which is great, but I have more demands on my time and I’m learning how to manage everything.
CH2: You’ve been married for about 13 years and have, over the years, faced various challenges associated with achieving success as a professional golfer. What do you credit as the keys to a successful marriage and success on the tour?
BG: We met in college so we’ve been through a lot together. I think it’s important to have the same goals, work as a team and have patience.
CH2: You have two daughters—Makinley, age 10, and Brantley, age 6. Is it challenging being a dad, or a PGA TOUR professional dad?
BG: We enjoy traveling as a family, but I think the tough part is that they are getting older and have things at home that they would like to do.
CH2: Now that you’ve garnered a huge fan base, are you a total gadget head—Twittering and Facebook-ing all the time?
BG: I just dove into the Twitter thing a little bit, but not too much. It’s so consuming. I don’t want to be overwhelmed!
CH2: What is the key to having a good caddy/pro relationship?
BG: Kip Henley has been my caddy for about three-and-a-half years. He is a great caddy and good friend. Our personality’s mix and match well. Kip just needs to listen to me and know that I’m always right! (a few laughs)
CH2: If you were to do something other than golf for a living, what would it be and why?
BG: Man, I haven’t thought about that since I was about 10 years old! I’m not sure… something in finance, maybe? I would love to be a musician, but I don’t know how I’d do it—I’m not very good!
CH2: If you were to set up your dream golf outing, with any players on any course, where would it take place and who would be part of the foursome?
BG: Augusta National with my dad, Ben Hogan and (comedian) Ron White.
CH2: You’re playing in the Masters this year. Are you ready?
BG: I’m working on it!
CH2: I understand that you grew up in a military family, your Dad was a scratch golfer for an all-Army team, and that hanging around with military retirees inspired your golf career. Because of your background, do you feel a special connection with our military men and women?
BG: I couldn’t do what they do. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for what they do for our country.
CH2: If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, and could take along three items, what three things, other than your family, could you absolutely not live without?
BG: Hmmm… water, sunscreen and toilet paper.
CH2: Good solid essentials!
CH2: Does Kimberly offer her expertise, or woman’s touch, when it comes to what you wear on the course?
BG: She loves my clothes. I run things by her occasionally. My older daughter likes to give me her opinion!
CH2: That’s nice. Lookin’ out for Dad!
CH2: If you had your own clothing line, what kind of apparel would you offer? Boo is big on camo. How would your clothes look?
BG: I have been wearing “Sligo” (sligowear.com) for about three years. If I had my own line, it would look a lot like that, but with more tartan and bright colors!
CH2: That’s right, gotta “Get Your Plaid On!” now!
CH2: What music is stashed on your iPod right now?
BG: Nickelback, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Rush… a little bit of everything.
CH2: In light of our country’s current economic crisis, what advice would you give to President Obama?
BG: I’m certainly not qualified to give advice. He has a cabinet for that!
CH2: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
BG: Hopefully doing another article with you about winning the Masters! (with a hearty laugh)
CH2: You and me both! I’m ready!
CH2: I hesitate to ask, but… any thoughts regarding Tiger Woods?
BG: The tour misses him and the players are looking forward to his return.
CH2: I’m sure Tiger would be glad to hear that.
CH2: Anything else you think our readers should know about Brian Gay? Any words of advice?
BG: For something people may not know about me… I’m not as quiet as people think I am! As for advice…Swing hard, in case you hit.
Learn more about Brian Gay online, or “Get Your Plaid On!” and come on down to the Harbour Town Golf Links and see him and other PGA TOUR greats in action during the 2010 Verizon Heritage (April 12 – 18)! Tickets may be purchased through the Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, or online at verizonheritage.com.