Whether or not Brendon Todd wins the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season has already been the best of his career. But it’s even more special for Todd given the fact that he nearly quit the game of golf just two years ago after falling out of the top 2,000 in the world ranking.
The crazy part is that this season isn’t the first time that Brendon Todd has had to make a comeback to save his career.
The early career of Brendon Todd
After four All-American years at the University of Georgia, Brendon Todd turned pro in 2007 and picked up one win on the Hooters Tour before joining the Nationwide Tour (now the Korn Ferry Tour) in 2008. He carded seven top-10 finishes that season, including a win at the Utah Championship, and finished 19th on the money list to earn a spot on the PGA Tour. He quickly found out just how difficult it is to maintain status alongside the best players in the world.
Brendon Todd made just five of 21 cuts in his first full season on the PGA Tour in 2009, his best finish a tie for 12th, and lost his card. He then began his first journey back.
The first comeback of Brendon Todd
Brendon Todd returned to the Nationwide Tour in 2010 and missed the cut in every single tournament in which he played. He played better in 2011 and found his way back to the PGA Tour via qualifying school. Todd got off to a decent start in 2012, finishing in the top 15 in three of his first eight starts. But he then missed the cut in nine of his next 10 events. He finished 150th on the money list, which gave him conditional status on the PGA Tour and full-time status on the Web.com Tour (the name had changed from the Nationwide Tour earlier that year).
In 2013, he won his second Web.com event and finished 20th on the money list, which earned him full-time status on the PGA Tour the following season. Finally, in his 77th start, Brendon Todd won his first PGA Tour event in 2014 at the Byron Nelson. He followed it up with a top-five finish at the Crowne Plaza Invitational and then tied for eighth at the Memorial. He finished 17th at the U.S. Open in his first major championship appearance and carded two more top-five finishes in a row soon after. He was one of the top 50 players in the world at this point but his success would soon run out.
By the time Brendon Todd’s two-year exemption for his victory at the Byron Nelson ran out, he hadn’t played well enough to keep his status. In 2016, he entered 25 tournaments and missed out on the weekend 23 times. In 2017, he played just eight tournaments and made only one cut. He did the exact same thing in 2018 and fell all the way down to 2,043rd in the world ranking.
Brendon Todd was about to give up.
The second comeback has been even better
With a wife and young children at home, Brendon Todd was ready to give up the game of golf in 2018. He thought he might get a regular job or start a fast-food franchise because he simply didn’t want to go through the grind of coming back again. He knew how tough it had been the first time and cringed at the thought of doing it again. But with a new mindset and somewhat of a new swing, he decided to go for it anyway. He’d been missing cuts anyway so he just went out and stopped worrying about the consequences. And it paid off.
He used his past winner’s exemption to get into some PGA Tour tournaments and started making cuts again in 2019. He tied for 25th in Puerto Rico and then tied for 18th at the Wells Fargo Championship. He wasn’t making every weekend but it was certainly better than it had been. A tie for 18th at the John Deere Classic got him back into the top 1,000 in the world ranking. He then tied for second at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour to get back into the top 500.
But he then missed four of five cuts upon his return to the PGA Tour. But he still felt he could win. Finally, five years after his first win on the PGA Tour, he won the Bermuda Championship, shooting a final-round 62 to win by four strokes. But then the unthinkable happened. Two weeks later, Brendon Todd won again, this time by a single stroke at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He finished his year with a solo fourth-place finish at the RSM Classic.
Coming into this week at TPC Southwind, he had climbed back up to No. 51 in the Official World Golf Ranking and will continue to rise if he continues to play the way he’s been playing and he’s certainly put himself in the conversation for PGA Tour Player of the Year.
The comeback story of Brendon Todd certainly hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. But as someone who really doesn’t crave attention, that seems to be okay with him.