PGA golfer and OU alum Brian Stuard speaks on recent success

By Jake Alsko

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PGA golfer Brian Stuard is the most successful athletic alum in Oakland University history, and he’s still getting better.

“This winter I kind of changed how I was practicing, a little bit more how you play rather than just hitting ball after ball,” Stuard said. “I practiced trying to hit a shot here or a shot there.”

Stuard, who graduated OU in 2005 with a major in business management, has ridden a career-high four top-ten finishes this year to the tune of $1,015,708 in earnings, as well as an invitation to the US Open, his first major tournament.

“It was exciting for sure. It’s always something you dream about … I guess I didn’t really have the ‘ah this is the US Open’ moment,”‘ Stuard said. “Once I got there it just kind of seemed like another tournament but it was a lot of fun for sure.”

Stuard amassed enough earnings this year to retain his PGA card for the 2013-2014 season, allowing him to just go out and play loose in this past week’s FedExCup playoffs, where at press time he was projected to place 86th in the top 100 of the world’s best golfers.

“It’s definitely nice,” Stuard said. “I’m probably playing the worst I’ve played all year which is kind of disappointing but … I guess you kind of look at this as all a bonus now.”

Stuard, whose swinging coach in high school introduced him to Oakland, hadn’t even seriously thought about his professional prospects until his junior year at OU.

“I kind of thought that I wanted to give it a shot. I didn’t really know if I was good enough or not, but … I thought that I just wanted to give it a try,” Stuard said. 

Going pro in 2005, Stuard is now sponsored by Callaway Golf. When he’s not on tour, Stuard prefers to spend his leisure time with loved ones. Stuard has a place in Florida, but he spends much of summer in Michigan.

“I think the biggest thing is getting to spend some time with my family. It’s kind of hard to be away from them basically for months at a time,” Stuard said. “So it’s nice to be able to spend a couple weeks with them and just kind of catch up on things.”

Looking ahead, Stuard has hopes of another major, but clearly has appreciation for how far he’s already come. 

“You always say you dream about getting to the Masters, that’d be pretty cool,” Stuard said. “It was pretty cool when I got to play in the Player’s Championship this year. I played well enough to start the year to get into that. That was pretty neat to play there.

It’s definitely cool to think about where I started and where I got to and now I’m playing on the PGA Tour. So it’s pretty neat to think that all started at Oakland.”

As for the student athletes looking to go pro, Stuard suggests going with your gut.

“Like I said, when I was in college, I didn’t know if I was good enough to do this or not. I still don’t know if I’m good enough to keep going,” Stuard said. 

“I think the biggest thing is if you feel like you wanna give something a shot, then don’t let anybody talk you out of it.”