Brian Bateman, Monroe Native and PGA Champion Hosts a Hole-In-One Kind of Radio Show on Sirius XM
article by April S. Kelley | photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus, Getty Sport/Getty Images
Monroe native Brian Bateman has made a career out of his love for golf. Most recently in April, Bateman began a radio show on Sirius XM airing every Wednesday night. “I stay connected to the world of golf and all of my friends that still play. It’s been a lot of fun. I take a lot of pride in the show and put a lot of effort into it to make sure I put the best product on the air,” Bateman said.
The Radio Show is called Sea Island Golf Radio, as Bateman currently resides in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Individuals can tune in on Wednesdays at 7pm Eastern time live on Sirius Channel 208 or XM93. It is a regular show on the PGA Tour channel. It started out with two demo shows in April and has now evolved into at least 30 live shows. “I host it. I interview celebrities, professional golfers and other athletes. We talk a lot of golf but we also talk about the world of sports in general, basically any topic that is happening presently, but it does remain largely golf-based,” Bateman said.
Bateman loves his radio show almost as much he loved his days spent as a professional golfer on the PGA Tour. “This keeps me connected to what’s happening in the world of golf. It’s a great show. It’s a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun, and I really enjoy putting it out every Wednesday night,” Bateman claimed.
Sea Island Golf Radio is something that Bateman can see himself continuing to do for the foreseeable future, especially since it has received such a positive response from listeners. “Keeping connected with the game is great, but it’s also so much fun. I see myself continuing with the show and who knows, it may open up doors in other media outlets. I feel like it has gotten a lot of good response. We have a ton of listeners, and I’m trying to do the best that I can. I have no prior training in television or radio, but it just kind of comes natural to me, and I cannot reiterate enough how much fun I’m having,” Bateman said.
Long before a successful radio show, Bateman’s love of golf was bred right here in Monroe where he was born and raised. “I started playing when I was probably 6 or 7, and I started playing competitively in Junior Tournaments when I was about 10,” Bateman declared.
Bateman went on to play golf at Neville High School, among many other sports. “My dad played golf and introduced me to the game. I played all sports at that time though. I took lessons with Johnny Myers, who sadly is no longer with us, but he was my only instructor. Once I got a little bit older and got into high school, the other sports started to fade away. I began to concentrate more on golf. It came pretty easy to me, and I was a pretty good athlete as a kid. In order to cultivate my success in golf, I had to give up other sports. I just didn’t have time to play basketball, football or baseball, so they got pushed aside. And when I started traveling and playing competitive golf as a junior in high school, it took all of my focus,” Bateman stated.
Like anyone in any field, Bateman also has a professional that he both admires and gains inspiration from. “As a kid, my hero was Jack Nicklaus. He was the golfer that I looked up to the most. It was the way that he carried himself, the way he was a family man and all the success that he had. He was the golfer I idolized as a kid. When I was taking lessons as a youngster over at Forsythe Park with Mr. Myers, he molded all of his teachings after Jack Nicklaus. I was exposed to all of the videos and techniques of Jack Nicklaus at an early age. That is probably a big part of why he was a hero of mine,” Bateman acknowledged.
After graduating high school, Bateman went on to play golf while he attended Louisiana State University. He graduated with a degree in Marketing in 1996. He became a professional golfer that same year. Once becoming a professional, he played on a Nationwide Tour from 1997-2001, winning once.
From there, Bateman earned himself a spot on the PGA Tour after much hard work at a Q-school, or Qualifying School. “We don’t have Qualifying Schools anymore. But basically, it was three different tournaments or stages that you have to advance from the first one to the second one to get through to the finals. The Finals were six rounds. There were roughly 200 guys there and only 30 spots available. If you finish within the top 30 in that last round, they give you your Tour card for the following year. Then, once you are on the PGA Tour, you must achieve within the top 125 of the year or return back to Q-School to get re-qualified. It is so very stressful. If you didn’t play well in the year, you had to almost start over. I went to Q-School 6 or 7 times within my career,” Bateman said.
Bateman played on the PGA Tour from 2002 until 2013. The culmination of his professional golfing experience came when he won the PGA Tour at the Buick Open in 2007. “At that point, I had been out on tour for five or six years, so it was the culmination of a lot of hard work. It was a great feeling. It opened up a lot of doors for me. It kind of justified what I had been striving to do my whole career and what a thrill! It’s a small fraternity of players that were on the PGA Tour, and it’s pretty cool to be a part of that fraternity,” Bateman said.
Before he ever won in 2007, Bateman had already felt like he had made it when he was offered a spot in this inclusive fraternity of professional golfers. “I think once you become a member of the PGA Tour, that’s a pretty big stepping stone in professional golf. And the when you can justify all the hard work by winning the PGA Tour, I think that’s when it hits you that you have done something not very many people have done,” Bateman said.
Once an individual wins a PGA Tour that individual is then considered a permanent member. “I was fortunate to play well at the right time when I won the PGA Tour in 2007. I became a lifelong member of the PGA Tour, so that was another perk when I won the 2007 Buick Open. It enabled me to become a lifetime member of the PGA Tour which is pretty cool,” Bateman said.
Despite Bateman’s monumental win in 2007, there have been many ups and downs in his professional golf career. Luckily, he never gave up due to unyielding support from his friends and family. “There are a lot of ups and downs in golf, and more downs it seems like. That’s what makes the game so great. If you’re committed to it and willing to put the hard work in, it can be great. You have to persevere quite often because it’s a tough way to make a living. Sure, there were times when I was down, but I always had a good support staff with family and friends. That kept me going. Then I had the inner-drive, not wanting to waste all the years of practice, which pushed me forward as well,” Bateman declared.
Bateman has since retired from the world of professional golf, but it is something he will always be passionate about. “It was a good run. I had a lot of fun playing. I don’t play much anymore. I haven’t been on tour for a couple of years, so I’ve kind of moved on from golf. I work for a really large financial planning company in Atlanta called Capstone Financial and spend lots of time with my family,” Bateman said.
Bateman’s seven-year-old son, Oliver, likes to take on all of Bateman’s many hobbies. “He likes to go to the golf course with me, and we hit some balls on the cutting green. He does show a ton of interest like I did at his age, but it’s too early to tell if he has any potential. He can whack the ball pretty well and fairly naturally. But he’s just a boy; who’s to say if he will have any future in golf? I just want him to do whatever makes him feel happy,” Bateman said.
At his home in Georgia where he lives with his wife and son, Bateman spends his time cultivating other hobbies, alongside Oliver, who loves to do whatever his father is doing. “I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I spend three, four, sometimes six nights a week cooking dinner. Cooking has always been a passion of mine. I’m a self-described foodie. I collect recipe books and play around with recipes. My son also shows a lot of interest in being in the kitchen with dad,” Bateman confirmed.
Being from Louisiana, Bateman has many other southern hobbies that he enjoys. “I’m also an outdoorsman, being from Louisiana. Hunting and fishing is also a big part of my life as well. When I was playing golf, that was always a good break to be able to get out in the woods or be on the water and put golf aside for a while. I have also built many great relationships with friends doing these outdoor activities. I would say cooking, fishing and hunting are my biggest passions, currently,” Bateman responded.
Professional golfer, family man and outdoorsman, Brian Bateman seems to be living the American dream at his home in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Both Johhny Myers and Jack Nicklaus would be proud.
Though he no longer plays golf professionally, he can still talk shop. Sports and golf fanatics rejoice – one of professional golf’s greats still carries his passion around in his pocket, or via airwaves rather. Monroe’s only native pro-golfer has left his mark.