Bryson Nimmer will not have to get on an airplane or make a long road trip to play in his next PGA Tour event.
When he tees it up in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town this week it will be like a home game for the Clemson grad.
“I got the phone call before playing in Puerto Rico,” said Nimmer. “It was awesome to get the exemption and it was really great of the Heritage to let me know before I started the tournament,” he said.
Nimmer had hoped for a chance to play in his home town event and had a strong resume to back up his request for a sponsor’s exemption.
“Letting me know I was in before the tournament in Puerto Rico took a lot of pressure off. I thought I would really have to play great to get a chance to play the Heritage,” he said.
Nimmer was making the start in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open. He earned the one-time Tour event entry by winning two tournaments and the Local iQ Series points race last year.
Nimmer won two events in the series that was developed when the pandemic prevented the MacKenzie Tour from being played in Canada.
“I had to play incredibly well. When you think of all the really good players who were playing the Series because there was no place else to play and to win I probably played the best golf of my life,” he added.
The PGA Tour started the series so many of the players who had some status on the smaller PGA affiliated Tours would have a place to play.
With the Heritage Invitation in his pocket, Nimmer made the cut by a stroke in Puerto Rico. He played all four days and finished the event with a 3-under par 69 to tie for 39th.
He was in some familiar company at that spot on the scoreboard. He finished tied with two other Clemson grads, Lucas Glover and Jonathan Byrd.
“It is a blessing I got to play in Puerto Rico and get the experience of playing in a real PGA Tour event,” he said.
Nimmer has played in a Korn Ferry event and while golf is the same everything surrounding a regular Tour event is so very different.
“At a Korn-Ferry event everybody has got a stand bag. At a PGA Tour event everybody has got a staff bag and a caddie. They have coaches and trainers and agents all around them,” he said.
Nimmer now has had the opportunity to see what it will be like inside the ropes at Harbour Town.
“You put your ball down on the putting green and hit a few puts and when you reach down to pick up your golf ball you’re standing next to someone who has won some big tournaments, it can be a little intimidating,” Nimmer offered.
Now some of the first time jitters should be gone after his experience in Puerto Rico and add in the fact that he has had success on the Harbor Town course Nimmer can’t wait to get started this week.
“I won the Junior Heritage in 2015. When I was in high school the pro would let us come out a few times a year to play the course and I’ve been to the Heritage a bunch of times,” said Nimmer.
While attendance is limited at this year’s Heritage, Nimmer will still have many fans in the crowd.
Appreciating their support while concentrating on playing well will be a challenge.
“Everybody wants to support you and it’s going to be fun. I know my parents have been coming to the Heritage for years and this year it will be extra fun for them,” he said.
After the Heritage, Nimmer like many other young professionals isn’t certain what the rest of the year will be like.
Status is the most important word for young professionals and Nimmer has status, but no guarantee for play in future tournaments.
Nimmer has full status on the Mackenzie Tour, but the RBC Canadian Open has already been canceled.
“Right now no one really knows if we are going to be able to play the MacKenzie Tour in Canada this year. We just have to wait and see what the Tour decides to do, “ he said.
The MacKenzie Tour in Canada in the past has started in May. Until and if it starts Nimmer will try to get into PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour events through Monday qualifying.
Even the Monday qualifiers have gotten so competitive with so many really good players trying to get into a tour event. Some events now have a pre-qualifying tournament the week before to see if a golfer can play in the Monday qualifier.
“Making the cut in Puerto Rico gives me status, so I don’t have to do any pre qualifying for a Monday, but you have to play great to get into a tournament by Monday qualifying,” he said.
But what happens after the Heritage will be of concern to the home town golfer after the tournament.
“It isn’t too often you can play in your home town. I want to have great week, represent the area and enjoy the opportunity,” concluded Nimmer.