For Immediate Release September 20, 2020
Emerging from the Bubble to Win Big
Brian Gray drives his way to his sixth WGA Open title in eighteen years
ST GEORGE, UT. In a year in which the venue for the Western Golf Alliance Open was moved only 60 days before the event and all competitors isolated within a "bubble" for the duration of the event, Brian Gray emerged as the champion of the 2020 Open. Having also won in 2018, Gray became the only back-to-back champion in WGA Open history.
"While my preparation for this year's Open was different than any other year, once I got the lead I was confident I would close out yet another title," said Gray. "I won in the SoCal desert in 2006, and I won in the Vegas desert in 2010, and now I've won in the Utah high desert in 2020. I'll defend this title in any desert, on any collection of courses, any time."
The COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020 placed significant hurdles for everyone, and even put the entire WGA Open at risk. Initially, after months of economic lockdown, California began lifting restrictions and allowing golf. However, the Torrey Pines Resort - planned host of the Open - never fully reopened, and eventually restricted lodging when California had to re-initiatate lockdown in mid July. As a result, the Open rapidly changed venues, moving to southen Utah - a state that had much less occurence of COVID and in fact never experienced a full lockdown - and adopting a "bubble" environment similar to the PGA Tour. Once in St George, players were lodged in a house where all meals were provided via group grilling, and interaction to, from, and during competitive rounds was limited to the golfers themselves. In the end, this created the safe environment required during an unprecedented global emergency to complete a successful WGA Open.
In that context, Gray is a surgeon who has seen the impacts of disease firsthand. While other WGA members found themselves working from home, Gray was working long hours, exposed to the uncertain, in the eye of the storm. This limited his prep time, but not his desire to win.
"When it comes to a rigorous event like the WGA Open you play against the course and the conditions more than you play each other," said runnerup Andy Connor. "For Brian, the conditions included the stress of his work life leading up to the event, and I just have to tip my cap to his competitive greatness."
"While this has been a hard time, it has been a hard time for everyone, and today I get to simply celebrate a golf victory," Gray explained. "In the end, this is the sporting moment I will remember in 2020."
The final standings - top three:
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About the Western Golf Alliance: The Western Golf Alliance is the premier golf organization in the United States. The WGA exists to further the greatness of this grand sport of golf through the improvement of golf play by its members, the promotion of golf rules, etiquette, and tradition, and the ability to gather together from time to time for golf events and tournaments. The regional organization spans five western states, and is organized into nine geographic regions. Further information is available at http://www.westerngolf.org/.