The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity began with an unexpected phone call last year
Meeting a professional athlete can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But Bradley Royer, who has been golfing since he was 4, didn’t just get to meet one - he got to do a promotional ad with one.
The unexpected opportunity presented itself last spring when a marketing agency reached out to the Royers and asked if they would submit photos of Bradley’s golf swing. They were looking for children to be featured in a golf-related advertisement. After verifying the company was, in fact, real, the family sent in Bradley’s photos.
That was on a Thursday.
By that following Sunday, the family was informed Bradley was one of the agency’s top picks. If he was chosen, he would have to be in Tampa the next morning for a photo shoot.
“We were kind of ready for it in case it happened,” said Bradley’s dad, Nick Royer.
Late Sunday afternoon, they got the call - Bradley had been chosen.
“When I heard about it, I was like, ‘Wow they choose me?’” said Bradley, now 10.
The advertisement was for Under Armour Next, but that was all the Royer family was told. They had no idea what they were walking into on Monday morning when they arrived in Tampa.
“I thought there were going to be all these kids there, but it was just (Bradley),” Nick said.
Bradley was immediately swept away to the dressing room.
“We we came in, I got to put on all these clothes, which I really liked,” Bradley said. “Then I had to put on makeup so I would look better in pictures.”
The makeup part was a bit weird, Bradley said, but he took it in stride and got ready for the cameras.
“There were more cameras there than I’ve ever seen in one place,” he said.
Completely decked out in Under Armour gear, Bradley was asked to perform his golf swing over and over.
“They had to check each one to figure out which one was better,” Bradley said about the photos.
More than 400 pictures later, things were winding to a close, but they told Bradley to stick around a little longer.
That’s when Jordan Spieth walked in - Bradley recognized him immediately.
“When he came in through the back door I said, ‘Wow, I can’t believe my eyes; he’s my favorite golfer,’” Bradley said.
What impressed Bradley the most about Spieth was his height.
“He was much taller than I thought,” Bradley said.
Instead of rushing off the stage to Spieth’s side, Bradley invited Spieth onto the stage for a photo-op. The two took some photos together before Spieth hustled off to the dressing rooms himself to prepare for his own round of photos.
“He was very nice,” Bradley said.
But Bradley couldn’t brag to his friends about his meeting with Spieth. In fact, he couldn’t say anything about the photo shoot until the advertisement was published.
“You were almost on a gag order,” Nick said. “You couldn’t say anything about anything.”
When Bradley’s teachers asked him why he had missed school on Monday, he told them he was under contract and couldn’t tell them.
Finally in July, the advertisement was published on the Under Armour Next website.
“We were visiting my grandparents, and we were all in the kitchen when my mom went on the site,” Bradley said. “Everybody wanted to see it.”
The advertisement features Bradley and Spieth side-by-side in a finishing swing.
Once the advertisement was published Nick discovered why Bradley had been chosen for the ad - the agency wanted a kid who emulated Spieth’s golfing style.
“Their swings and finishes were identical,” Nick said.
And that resemblance is no mistake. Bradley has long-admired Spieth and has tried to imitate Spieth’s style.
“I try to copy him,” Bradley said. “My coach even told me to emulate Jordan with my stance.”
Bradley, who said he is taking the sport very seriously, golfs several times a week, and a copy of that photo of him and Spieth hangs on the Royer’s kitchen wall.
“It’s not every day that you get to have a one-on-one with no other kids there,” Bradley said. “It was pretty special.”
Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected].