Although Brendan Steele didn’t post a win this year as he did in the 2011 season, in many ways 2015 was the best season of his five-year PGA Tour career.
By the time he began the West Coast Swing in January, he already had amassed enough FedExCup points (172) to make it clear that just earning his ticket for next year (requiring about 500 points) was no longer the goal. Then he immediately added 167 points from a second-place at La Quinta to give him 339 points, still in January.
The native Idyllwilder displayed a new, relaxed confidence that gallery fans could sense right away — a feeling that he had arrived as an experienced pro who knew he belonged on the PGA Tour.
This season, Brendan posted 11 top-25 finishes, including four top-10s, while making the cut in 20 out of 24 tournaments — all personal bests. He finished the season with 1,204 FedExCup points, ranking 50th on the tour in that category — both personal bests. He also closed out the season ranked the 76th best golfer in the world on the Official World Golf Rankings — another personal best.
He made more than $1.7 million in official PGA Tour winnings this year, second only to the 2011 season when he had a win that was worth more than $1 million alone. And not showing in his official PGA Tour stats was Brendan’s seventh place in the French Open on the European Tour in July, where he collected more than $86,000 Euros.
Courtesy of Brendan, the Town Crier obtained the following interview:
Q. 2015 was a really fine season for you; in many stat categories your best. Even this past January, I sensed a new, experienced-pro confidence just watching you play. So, even though you had a win during 2011, does this 2015 season stand out as a break-through season for you in some ways?
A. I definitely see this year as a breakthrough season. I feel like I addressed some weaknesses in my game and improved my consistency a great deal. It is a long process that has included seeking the help of Chris Mayson for putting, practice and routine, Rick Smith for full swing, my trainer Brad Davidson and Dr. Jason Amstutz who keeps me healthy throughout the year. Six events ago I started working with Christian Donald as my caddie and I’m not sure how I managed without him. I have a great team around me and couldn’t do it without their help as well as the help and support of [my wife] Anastassia, my parents, and all my friends and supporters. All of that adds up to a breakthrough year.
Q. What goals have you set for yourself for this coming 2016 season?
A. I like the goal of making the Tour Championship because it’s a season-long goal and can keep you motivated all year. A win is definitely a goal. Continuing to improve and learn is always a big goal.
Q. Will you play in the French and Scottish opens again this year?
A. I’d definitely like to play the French and I’d think about playing the Scottish depending on my status for British Open. The schedule is different next year so we’ll have to see how the early part of the year plays out.
Brendan’s performance this year qualifies him for The Players Championship next May, and he may yet qualify for other top tournaments, depending upon his performance during the 2016 season.
Brendan currently has in mind to play the season-opening Frys.com Open in two weeks, Oct. 15 to 18, and to follow it up with fall tournaments in Las Vegas, Malaysia and Mexico — all official PGA Tour events.