On Monday, golf broke through into mainstream sports coverage via one of the very best things about golf: someone unexpectedly qualifying for a big event. The big event was the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and the someone was Golf Galaxy employee and aspiring pro Nick Bienz. If you knew who Nick Bienz was on Monday morning, it almost certainly meant you knew him personally. Yet after delivering an incredible four-minute, mid-beer interview as he awaited what would eventually be a five-way playoff for four spots at the Rocket Mortgage, Bienz has embarked on a whirlwind couple of days, with outlets as widespread as The Pat McAfee Show taking notice.

As you’d expect for any big story out of a Monday qualifier, Ryan French (Monday Q Info on Twitter/X) was at the center of it. Ryan was kind enough to speak to Fried Egg Golf about Nick, what made his story so appealing to a wider audience, and whether or not the outpouring of interest and attention for golf will lead to the PGA Tour ensuring these Monday qualifying spots will continue to be part of any new version of the sport.

What special factors do you think made Nick’s story stand out and go viral, even relative to other Monday Q stories you’ve covered?

The ones that are bigger are relatable guys. Not a lot of guys can relate to Robert Garrigus, but they can relate to this one. I think the beer thing just exploded it. We’ve all done it, and we all think we’re better if we have three beers. Why I love covering the players I do is I almost always get honesty. That conversation we had was what he said to me before we started it. It wasn’t an interview answer, it was just a dude talking, because he doesn’t have any experience with media or anything. He had beers and then won, and I think we can all relate to that guy. And he’s going to live out a dream. We all relate that to our own lives in some way.

He came across incredibly unassuming.

Yeah, I don’t know if you saw him on Pat McAfee, he’s been sending me texts throughout the day saying “Dude I don’t know what’s going on.” And I understand it, I’ve had stories get big and it’s like “I did not expect this.”

Do you think there’s any chance stories like this one getting this much attention will influence anyone at the Tour…


…to keep these qualification options open?

No. No. I think the Kisner tweet (about wanting to play with Bienz) and then not being paired together? That’s the Tour’s attitude, always. They just don’t care. I don’t know if that comes from the policy board or where that comes from.

They cover Mondays. They had one camera guy. They had no one there. They don’t put in any effort. They might as well not cover them. I’ve said to the Tour that no one cares about the golf. No one wants to see Nick hit shots. No one cares. Just tell his story. No one cares about him hitting the driver. There’s people who can hit it better than him. They cover it as a golf tournament, and that’s not it. No one cares about Monday qualifiers because of the score. The answer is no. I think it makes a ton of money for the PGA of America, and I don’t think they want to fight so they have it as a necessary evil. But if they could get rid of them they would…they just don’t care. It’s all there is to it. And they’re never going to put the effort in. It takes time to tell these stories. I think if they could make every event 70 players, they would. It’s pretty wild, they’re like “LIV doesn’t work, let’s make another one.”

The worst of both worlds.


This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.