11/05/2016

Cody Gribble has a name right out of a Dan Jenkins golf novel. Think Grover Scomer, Bobby Joe Grooves, or Knut Thorssun.

Then again, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and maybe not even Jenkins would approve of one of his characters tasting success so quickly on the PGA Tour.

That’s because Gribble, a 26-year old rookie, won in only his second start as a tour member taking a four stroke victory in the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi in late October.

Gribble’s remarkable win may sound like an overnight success story, but the reality shows it was a long path to the top. A former teammate of Jordan Spieth on the University of Texas golf team that won an NCAA championship in 2012, Gribble spent two long years on the Web.com Tour where, in 49 starts, he never hoisted the winner’s trophy.

“It’s stressful…stressful times,” Gribble told a reporter on the driving range in Las Vegas at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, remembering his life before PGA Tour victory. “Not eating great, just a grind every single day. It’s tough, but it’s fun… But it’s stressful times, for sure. I’m glad I’m not having to do that right now.”

Instead, Gribble has already qualified for the 2017 Masters, January’s Tournament of Champions, and, perhaps more importantly, he’ll play the tour as an exempt member through at least the 2018/19 season.

Like his golf career so far, Gribble’s victory at the Country Club of Jackson came with ups and downs. He opened with a 73 and was in danger of missing the cut and going home without a paycheck. Then came an inspired second round 63 that put him into solid contention. On the weekend, Gribble played boldly, carding a Saturday 67 that put him just one stroke out of the lead, and a final round 65 that included birdies on 15, 16 and 17 to clinch the $756,000 first prize.

Combine that prize money with the $162,000 he earned for an eighth place finish in the season’s opener, the Safeway Open in Napa, and Gribble banked nearly a million dollars in two weeks.

He still has a long way to go: Gribble is currently number 205 in the World Golf Rankings (he was No. 448 entering the Sanderson Farms Championship).

If he were a fictional character, rather than a flesh-and-blood PGA player, Gribble’s season so far might be just a taste of what’s to come: multiple wins, Ryder Cup success or even a victory in one of golf’s four majors.

But this is real life, not a book. Still, we can’t wait for the next chapter to see what else Gribble can accomplish.

You can follow him on Twitter @CodyGribble.