Brady Gregor never tips his hand when a player on his High Point men’s golf team wants to know if it was him or his Charleston Southern counterpart Jason Payne who made a particularly entertaining social-media post for their joint venture, Any Given Tuesday. Gregor appreciates the mystery.
“That’s kind of like the legend of van drivers,” he said.
And the van driver, of course, is the backbone of the whole concept. Gregor and Payne took a once derogatory way of describing a college golf coach and made a joke out of it. They made a logo out of a Sprinter van and have used it everywhere from tee markers to full-size flags flown in the parking lot at their first college tournament, this week’s Any Given Tuesday Collegiate at Oak Point Golf Club in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
In a laughable yet poignant moment, Gregor waved that flag from the side of his golf cart as he floored it down an Oak Point fairway against a clear sky and green fairways. Payne stood on a nearby hill filming, and by the time the video reached Twitter, the scene was set to a Toby Keith song.
It was a moment signaling college golf’s return, but with a follow-up question: Who are these guys?
— Any Given Tuesday (@any_given_tues) January 23, 2021
When it came to naming the venture, Gregor had a breakthrough at the Challenge at Concession in March 2020 – High Point’s last tournament before a 10-month break forced by the pandemic. The Panthers were in second, trailing only South Florida. That’s when Gregor got a text from a former player: Anything can happen on any given Tuesday.
“Me and Payner had kind of talked about always starting some kind of podcast or something,” Gregor said. “We actually started using that hashtag at the end of last year just with my team. When I told it, I was like this has got to be it. Payner was 100 percent on board.”
Official Any Given Tuesday correspondence from Gregor and Payne comes from an email account with a simple signature: Van Driver. Accounting managers at schools up and down the East Coast think that’s a real person.
“They’ll email about our W-9 and getting checks sent,” Gregor said of coordinating their tournament. “It’s funny, we have all these people emailing Van.”
Thus, the Any Given Tuesday platform allows Gregor and Payne to insert a little humor back into the sport they love. It’s reflective of their personalities. Payne is the kind of guy who will blare AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” out of a Bluetooth speaker (maybe even hide it under someone’s golf bag) on the driving range of a college-golf tournament if he thinks the mood is a little too serious.
The podcast element of Any Given Tuesday came naturally. So many conversations take place between coaches on a daily basis, why not record a few? Gregor and Payne have bigger plans for the tournament model. Ideally, that’s the way they’ll advance the sport for the players they coach and the teams they interact with.
“One trend Payne and I are seeing in college golf is there’s getting to be a divide between these elite tournaments and mid-major tournaments or even the tournaments that used to be half mid-majors, half Power 5 schools,” Gregor said. “It seems like they’re starting to go away. This idea, if we travel around and go to different courses that we want to go to, we can provide that elite tournament and invite the teams and coaches that we think kind of think the way we do, get it like we do. That’s how we’re going to be able to provide a student-athlete experience for our players.”
At Oak Point, Gregor and Payne went from just a social media presence to a physical one. The event came together so quickly that they didn’t even have time to secure enough mini Sprinter vans (who knew those were only manufactured overseas) to mark every tee box, so they planted the ones they did have at Nos. 1 and 10. They brought in food trucks to replace traditional boxed lunches – even though the latter gets big play by Gregor and Payne, who even created an “I brake for boxed lunches” T-shirt.
Philly cheesesteaks, anyone?
Straight from the food truck to the box lunches.
Excited to have Chucktown Deli Food Truck on board for the AGT Intercollegiate…here’s to food trucks at the turn being the new norm in @ncaa golf.
•#AnyGivenTuesday #IBrakeForBoxLunches c pic.twitter.com/WqgSSIPrLE
— Any Given Tuesday (@any_given_tues) January 16, 2021
Long ago, Payne, who got his first head coaching gig at 23 and spent four years as the assistant coach at the University of Georgia, realized that when his players are laughing, they’re also scoring.
“I always want to have the fun trophy,” he said. “I want to be No. 1 in fun so you know what, that’s the way I take things seriously is I just want to have fun.”
Where does the road lead for Any Given Tuesday? Gregor and Payne want to keep advancing the sport at all divisions. Perhaps there’s an Any Given Tuesday Cup in the cards pitting the best players – not just from Division I – in the east against those in the west.
A farther-down-the-road pipe dream involves buying a plot of land, building their own golf course and offering naming rights for holes to college golf coaches they like. In the meantime, they just hope to spread their message and keep the mood light. There’s a lot to enjoy in college golf. Gregor and Payne don’t want you to miss it.
“At the end, the player isn’t going to remember that three-putt he made for double,” Payne said. “They’re going to remember how good the Philly cheesesteak was at the turn.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/29/college-golf-any-given-tuesday-jason-payne-brady-gregor/