SCOTTSDALE -- Bryce Molder has taken his cuts on the PGA tour for eight years, earning $7 million as a professional, and the Scottsdale resident relishes the opportunity to play in his hometown at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"The fact that I live here, and I have a lot of friends that are able to come out and watch, so it’s cool to be able to play in my backyard," he said.
Having played collegiate golf at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he is only one of four four-time first-team All-Americans, a list that includes Phil Mickelson and David Duval.
"I came out of college as one of the 'can’t miss' – in quotations – guys, and for a little while, I missed," Molder said. "I think I had a buddy caddy for me one year. I think I paid him more than I got paid. But it makes me appreciate what I have now."
Just playing on the PGA Tour was, as some might say, a swing against the odds. Molder was born without a left pectoral muscle and with a rare disease called Poland Syndrome, which left his left hand smaller than his right. Three fingers were webbed, and Molder needed two surgeries before turning 5 years old.
"I remember the worst part was playing basketball or soccer and playing shirts and skins, when you’re 8 years old," he said. "I didn’t want to take my shirt off. That to me was probably the biggest drawback that I’ve ever had from it."
"I was born that way," he added. "Fortunately I’ve got a mild case. I didn’t know anything different. If you were to ask me when I was 7, I would’ve said I’m going to play golf on the PGA Tour. Well, I was 7. I didn’t know any better, because there were a million 7-year-olds probably saying that. But the fact that I’m actually doing it is really cool."