Mike Brannan, a former member of the U.S. Walker Cup team and two-time California State Amateur champion, died Jan. 8 in Alamo, Calif, from complications related to cancer. He was 57.
Brannan made a name for himself as a teenager, winning the 1971 U.S. Junior Amateur before becoming a four-time All-American at Brigham Young.
He played professionally for five years before seeking reinstatement as an amateur. For the past 30 years, he worked as a sales representative for Ping Golf.
In the 1971 U.S. Junior, Brannan defeated Robert Steele, 4 and 3, in the 18-hole match-play final.
He won the California State Amateur in 1973 and 1976. The next year, 1977, he played on the U.S. Walker Cup team.
In the 1989 U.S. Amateur, Brannan defeated two Walker Cup players, qualifying medalist Eoghan O’Connell of Ireland and David Eger of the United States, in the same day.
He is survived by his wife, Shelley, and two sons, Kyle and Chase.
“Mike was a dear friend of mine for more than 35 years,” said Ping chairman and CEO John Solheim. “Our relationship went beyond work. It was one of genuine friendship. We played a lot of golf over the years. He hosted me in San Francisco, and he was my guest at my club’s invitational in Phoenix. I think I played more golf with Mike than anyone else.
“His fluid swing was a thing of beauty. I was always so impressed by what he achieved at the amateur level. He was a quiet competitor who usually came out on top. It was just last spring he won the Northern California (Golf Association) Senior Championship at Spyglass Hill while battling his illness. But, as was typical of Mike, he didn’t let anyone know about it.
“He was always humble about his achievements. Mike leaves a tremendous golf legacy, but he will be best remembered for his generous, gentle ways and for being an amazing husband to Shelley and father to Kyle and Chase.”