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Art or Photo Credit: Photos courtesy of Jobe family; design by Benjamin Marra

Tigers prospect Jackson Jobe learns from PGA dad Brandt

June 15, 2024

Before Jackson Jobe dreamed of pitching in the Major Leagues, he was supposed to be carrying a pitching wedge at a golf major.

Months shy of his fourth birthday, Jackson and his older sister, Brittan, donned the white jumpsuit and became caddies for their dad Brandt at Augusta National. On the Wednesday before the Masters began, the golfers participated in a nine-hole par-3 tournament with their kids toting their bags.

“Jackson was barely big enough,” Brandt said. “I was holding his hand and carrying the clubs, and he was dragging my putter along.”

The now-Tigers' No. 1 prospect has a vague memory of putting the uniform on -- one that needed to be rolled up a few times in the arms and legs because it was too big -- but he’s thankful a photographer captured the special moment.

The 2006 Masters was one of many tournaments the Jobe family attended while Brandt competed on the PGA Tour and other pro golf circuits. Looking back, the 21-year-old admits he took his dad’s career and a lot of his time at the links for granted.

“I can't believe I didn't understand how cool that was, like going to the Masters and doing stuff like that, and going and walking around,” he said. “When I was younger, I just hated going to walk 18 holes. I was always tired. I would do anything to go watch my dad playing the Masters at this age now, that'd be an unreal experience.”


When Brandt and his wife, Jennifer, first decided to have kids, they mapped out how to balance his career and family time. They moved from Denver to Dallas to be more central, so the golfer could quickly come home Sunday night before heading to another tournament on Tuesday morning, squeezing in dinners and school pickups.

Up until around when Jackson was in kindergarten and Brittan was in second grade, they’d travel to tournaments across the country. Brandt can still see his kids crawling around hotel rooms.

“It takes so much time and so much commitment to play sports. It's such a high level that it becomes very selfish,” Brandt said. “And then when you have a family, that makes it even more difficult because you want to spend your time being a father to your kids. So there's a tough balance in there. And I hope I got it right.”

As Jackson got older, his own sports schedule filled up with baseball, basketball, football and golf. And when he was 10 years old, he told his dad he would be going pro … in one of those sports.

“I remember telling him that I wanted to be professional baseball player,” Jackson recalled. “And if that doesn't work out, professional basketball player. If that doesn't work out, being in the NFL. And then if all those don't work out, then I'll be a golfer.

“I just weirdly always kind of assumed that I’d be following my dad's footsteps in one way or another.”

Jackson and Brandt Jobe

Although the 10-year-old was “being dead serious” with his lofty career plan, his dad chalked it to being around athletes like himself and considering it the norm.

“It was kind of funny to hear it come out of his mouth,” Brandt said. “I was laughing. I'm like, ‘Oh, yeah, it's just that easy, Bud, you can do it.'”

But around that time, Brandt noticed his son become more competitive. After previously not seeming to care if he lost a race, Jackson seemed to decide he liked winning a lot more than losing.

And while Brandt said Jackson was always “a good baseball player,” he stepped it up his junior year of high school. During the COVID shutdown, Jackson started lifting weights and taking things to the next level with baseball and football. He asked his dad if they could go to Perfect Game showcases, where the infielder proved not only he could pitch, but he was able to touch 97 mph.

“Obviously, physically golf and baseball are very different,” Jackson said. “But when it comes to becoming in the 1 percent of people in the world of something like in all sports, the mental aspect to me is the same, just how hard you gotta work and how to deal with failure. And how focused you have to be, how determined and the sacrifices you have to make. He explained all that stuff to me and preached that to me at a very young age."

That fall, Jackson quarterbacked the Oklahoma high school state champions. In the spring, he notched a 0.13 ERA with 122 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings. Brandt’s realization his son could play college baseball or football evolved into hearing the Tigers select Jackson with the third overall pick in the 2021 Draft.

Brandt, who had baseball dreams before going to UCLA on a golf scholarship, couldn’t have been more excited to watch Jackson take that path, especially when he thought of workhorses like former Detroit hurlers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

Jackson carried his father’s lessons to pro ball with him. “Keep working” especially rang true when the right-hander had to “learn how to deal with failure.” Jackson registered a 4.96 ERA through his first 15 starts for Single-A Lakeland. But with the confidence that if he kept working, things would get better, the 6-foot-2 righty turned it around, notching a 1.90 ERA in his final six starts and earning a promotion to High-A West Michigan.

“The physical stuff, some of it's a gift and some of it's the work I put in,” he said. “I definitely wouldn't be where I am without him or without those talks.”

MLB’s No. 9 overall prospect has faced a new challenge every season. In 2023, he sustained lumbar spine inflammation during Spring Training that delayed his season until June. Realizing he’s not “indestructible,” Jackson spent months at the Lakeland training complex working on a routine to get back to the mound. When Brandt and Jennifer visited, they were impressed by how much their son stuck to his program.

They saw the same work ethic this spring as Jackson hit the injured list again -- this time with a hamstring strain -- and returned to a focused routine in Lakeland. And with Brandt battling a hip injury that has sidelined him from the PGA Champions Tour, the father and son are working through it together.

“I'm to the point to where I feel like I've dealt with a lot of stuff, I've had success, I've had failure, I've had injuries,” Jackson said. “And there's other obstacles that are going to come my way, but I feel like I've gone through a lot to where now I just kind of enjoy the ride and trust that if I continue to work hard, then everything's gonna work itself out.”

With Brandt taking time off from golf, Jackson’s parents have more time to travel to Minor League games. In April, they attended a Double-A Erie game in which Jackson spun four hitless innings with six strikeouts. Although they were “freezing our tail [off]," Brandt beamed with pride.

“Growing up, going to watch my dad play,” Jackson said. “And now the roles have reversed where he's coming out to watch me -- and hopefully it's on a bigger stage one day -- has been super cool.”