A couple of weeks back, after Brad Fritsch won on the Web.com Tour, I wrote about the likelihood that he’d return to the PGA Tour next year. He led this week through three rounds, before finishing second, assuring his return based on the dollar totals from last year.
Fritsch, by and large, is well regarded by Canadian golf writers. Why? Because he’s thoughtful and smart, dry and witty, and self-deprecating. He provides insights that no one else offers, and likely because he’s had to fight for everything in his pro career, he understands and communicate the hardships the game presents better than almost anyone.
Jason Logan summed up the golfer well in his profile of Fritsch last year for SCOREGolf:
You see, you don’t poke the bear that is Brad Fritsch without expecting a retort. He is not someone who backs down from challenges or challengers. If he has a fault, he admits, it’s that he believes he’s always right, although he reconciles that flaw very simply: “But I do think I’m right about everything,” he says, laughing. And, as someone who briefly considered law school over pro golf, he poses a strong defence for any argument he makes, whether it’s one in which he strongly believes or one he’s espousing in the role of devil’s advocate, a part he plays often with much aplomb.
Conviction courses through Fritsch’s blood and there’s a stubbornness in him that, when you think about it, is probably a good thing for a professional tour player who, by his own admission, was merely a top-eight, maybe top-five, junior golfer growing up in the Ottawa Valley.
And his, from my interview with him a couple of weeks ago:
By his own admission he didn’t play well on the Web.com last year. But instead of packing it in and coming to some realization that maybe his two years on the PGA Tour were all he’d have, Fritsch put in the time to try to get better.
“Look at my high school record, or my playing record in college, or even my early pro career when I wasn’t very good—I’ve worked for everything,” he says.
Nothing has come easy, which is why it wasn’t surprising to see him receiving a note of congratulations from Jim Herman, the recent PGA Tour winner whose picture is in on Wikipedia when you Google “journeyman.”
Its worth noting that Fritsch seems to get better as he becomes more familiar with the level he’s playing at. In other words, his return to the PGA Tour—knowing the courses, the schedule, etc.—could be his best yet. He has the tools—he hits it long and relatively straight (better than one might initially guess), and hits a lot of greens. He’s admittedly struggled with the flat stick from time to time, but overall he has a solid game.
What’s telling about Fritsch’s most recent second-place finish in Mexico, one which basically gives him enough money to return to the PGA Tour? That he would admit immediately that he didn’t play well enough, but remained committed to every shot:
“I put myself in a great position to win and got outplayed. I’m OK with that because my commitment level throughout the round was really good. I didn’t waver on my strategy, and I played a ‘good 73,’ if that makes sense. I’m very positive going forward.”
Oh, and Fritsch sent that message to a CP reporter by text message—from Mexico. A lot of other players might have begged that one off, wallowing in their self-pity because they didn’t win. But that’s not Brad Fritsch.