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Bradley Talks about Fantastic Start on PGA Tour
During a media day for the Deutsche Bank Championship, set for August 31-September 3 at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., Keegan Bradley discussed his brief but whirlwind stint as a touring pro.
The 26-year-old New Englander earned his 2011 PGA Tour card after finishing 14th on the Web.com Tour in 2010. And, my, how he's taken advantage of that opportunity. In late May he won the Byron Nelson and followed that up in mid-August as the upset winner of the PGA Championship. There was no doubt that Bradley, who won $3,758,600, was the 2011 PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year.
On Monday, Bradley, who's had there top-10 finishes in 19 starts in 2012 en route to earning $1,822,158, discussed his chances for defending his PGA title in two weeks while also getting a much-desired victory in his own backyard at the Deutsche Bank Championship, which is part of the FedEx Cup playoffs. He currently ranks 23rd in the season-long points race.
Here's what the Vermont native - and nephew of World Golf Hall of Fame member Pat Bradley - had to say to reporters during the presser.
MODERATOR: We have Keegan Bradley joining us today. As we all know, native Vermonter, went to high school just up the road here. Obviously the PGA Championship winner last year, and what I would like to do is start with a few questions for you and then open it up to media questions. If we could talk a little bit about your 2012 season, having a great sophomore year, three top 10s, 10 top 25s, including a second place finish in a playoff at the Northern Trust. If you could speak about your year and how it's gone so far.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it's been a great year so far. I started off very, very well, and I look forward to the end of the year, with Deutsche Bank and the Playoffs, and one more major left, so there's a lot of great tournaments still to play.
Q. If we could look back a little on your year last year, you've had some time to reflect on it now, and certainly you have to look back on your rookie season fondly. Did you surprise yourself at all with how well you played, and maybe could you tell us what was the most memorable part of your season?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it was really an amazing season. It's been nice to look back on it. One of my main goals was to win Rookie of the Year and I was able to do that. I really enjoyed my first year on the PGA Tour. It just was a great time, really fun to look back on, and to top it off with winning the PGA made it kind of a dream season. It still kind of seems like it was a dream.
MODERATOR: I know when you came to the Deutsche Bank Championship here last year, you had quite a reception. Seemed like every night you were at the Red Sox game or the Patriots game, first pitches, coin flips. What did that mean to you, not only those events but the reception you've got from the fans here and family and friends? What did that mean to be able to play in an event in New England?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It was remarkable. The people in Boston really treated me unbelievably at that time at Deutsche Bank. And being able to throw the first pitch at Fenway and do the coin flip with the Patriots and doing that stuff, was something I've always wanted to do. As everyone knows, I'm a huge fan of all Boston teams, and being able to do that, and I just was able to do things that only you dream about as a little kid and that made everything so, so special for that tournament.
MODERATOR: I know maybe that your result wasn't quite what you had hoped last year. You came very close to making the cut, just missed it by I think a stroke or two. Are you looking forward to getting a chance to come back here and play into Sunday and Monday?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, last year, I was just a little bit worn out at that point because I had just won the PGA and I was very busy and I think that this year I'll be able to play that tournament a lot better. I love the golf course. It's a great tournament to play in. And it's just one that I've been looking forward to going back and playing.
Q. You just used the term "worn out." How many tournaments did you pencil in, and are you leery that you're saying no to a lot of requests off the course?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, this year, it's still challenging. I'm still a little bit - on the PGA Tour, but I'm getting used to it and I'm able to pace myself a little more this year. Although I do have a lot more commitments that I need to do, but I've had great help from people and just been managing it a lot better. At that point last year, I was pretty strung out just from being excited about winning the PGA. I actually wasn't even sleeping that well because I was so excited and excited for things to come.
Q. Can you just talk about the PGA Championship coming up? I know you've had a look at the course. Your impressions of the course and then just the grueling stretch you have coming up with the last major of the year, a World Golf Championships and the Playoffs?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Kiawah is an unbelievable golf course. I think it's going to be very difficult, especially if the weather, the wind kicks up, obviously right on the ocean there. I love when I'm playing a lot on the PGA Tour. So you know, going to Akron and the PGA and then having the Playoffs is great for me, because you can kind of get on a little bit of a run or a little roll. And being able to know that I'm going back up to the northeast and playing in New York, and especially Boston, in the next month, makes it even more exciting.
Q. Can you talk about playing in front of home fans? Guys call it their fifth majors, and I just wondered if Zach's win of his fifth major at the John Deere kind of motivates you to come here and do it yourself.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I was blown away with how I was treated last year at the Deutsche Bank. And you know, I hope it's going to be like that again. It would be so great to get it going in front of the Boston fans, because they really, unlike any tournament I've ever played in, they were extremely behind me, and it felt really good to have that. I think it put too much pressure on myself last year, so this year I would love to get it rolling out there and it would be really great to win that tournament.
Q. Last time I checked, your position on the Ryder Cup's points list, you were ninth; eight get in. How much are you thinking about the Ryder Cup and securing your spot?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I'm thinking about it - I'm trying not to think about it. But it's definitely on my mind at all times. Captain Davis Love has really reached out to me and given me some advice, and told me to take it one shot at a time and get into the process of playing each tournament and each shot. You know, it's difficult, because I just missed out on the Presidents Cup last year, so I really want this pretty bad, and that can be a negative. So you know, I'm just trying to - I know that if I have a decent last end of the year, I'll be on that team. So if I just play okay, I'm going to get into that top eight spots. But this U.S. teams is one of the strongest is recent history I would say, with all major winners coming from America, except the British Open. It's a very hard team to qualify for because of all of the great play by Americans.
Q. Do you find growing up in this area, when you come back here, do you find yourself putting more pressure because you're from this area, and how do you handle the distractions from all your friends, or does it play for your benefit?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Before the tournament, I think, oh, it's not going to be that big of a deal. Once I get there, and I'm on like 495 or I'm on a local road and I'm thinking, wow, I really am home, this is great, I start to put a little more pressure on myself. Last year when I got to that first tee and the crowd started cheering even before they announced my name was unbelievable. So, yeah, I expect it to be pretty exciting again this year. I just have got confidence that I'm going to play well, because I love this golf course. The Deutsche Bank Championship is a great sponsor along with a great tournament.
Q. If you could look back to your win in the PGA Championship last year, it actually came at Jason Dufner's expense, but he's certainly had a very good year. Just wondering, out and about on Tour, do you reminisce what happened last year and what's happened in your lives, his good fortune and yours, too?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It's pretty neat that at the time when we were in that playoff, everyone was saying how we were both such a no names and how it's too bad the tournament didn't have big names in there. But as it turns out, Jason Dufner has had arguably the best year of anybody this year. He's playing great golf. You know, we don't really reminisce that much, but we definitely have a bond together that we'll have forever. I'm so happy to see Jason play well this year and win tournaments, because he's such a great player. I'm glad that people are seeing it.
Q. In a week from now, you're going to get your first opportunity to defend a Major Championship; can you talk about that, and the next month heading into the Playoffs is huge, but how are you preparing differently than you did in the past?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I'm not preparing any differently. I'm trying to do the exact same stuff. I'm down here playing with all my buddies, and another New Englander, Jon Curran, who played this morning. We are just doing the same stuff that I always did. The biggest key is to keep everything constant, what I've always done. I feel as though I'm doing that. And about this time last year, is when I really started to get it rolling, and I went on about a six or seven month stretch of great golf. I love these golf courses at the end of the year. I love the atmosphere of major championships and the Playoffs and the Deutsche Bank. It's just an exciting time of the year.
Q. You kind of answered this, but do you ever pinch yourself on how you won the PGA, and have things changed that much for you? Obviously you have more commitments, but how have you tried to handle everything and how have things been different?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it does seem sometimes like a dream. I'm not able to watch the replays of the PGA. I get too nervous. So part of me is amazed that it happened. I think back on it, and I think about how different my life would be if I didn't win that PGA or if I lost that playoff. It's kind of a brutal thing to think about. But life has changed a lot in terms of at golf tournaments. It's not changed at all off the golf course with my buddies and my friends. I enjoy all that comes with winning major championships and tournaments, but I try to keep everything the same. There are specific things that have changed dramatically, but I try to keep my life the same. I mean, I'm the same kid that grew up in Boston and Vermont that I am now.
Q. You won your first major last year; have you set your goals on other majors and going after Tiger's record, and how do you find the rest of the field at this time in order to accomplish something like that and add more PGAs and more majors?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: You know, my main goal at the start of this year was to contend more in tournaments, and I think I've done that. The feeling of winning a major is something that's the most unbelievable feeling, and as a player, you crave that. So I really want to focus in on contending and winning majors. I mean, it was a tough year for me because of playing in my first Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and now I've got that behind me. I think the next go around of all those majors, I'll be able to really start focusing in on contending and playing well, because I think they all suit my game pretty well. It's just a matter of staying focused and keep up doing everything that you did to win the PGA, and I think I've been doing that.
Q. I was wondering if while we have you, if you could talk about your experience over in England over the past weekend, and have you learned anything from that experience in terms of applying it to the championship coming up?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Going over to England for The Open was really fun. It's everything I expected. And you know, I grinded it out to make the cut, and then made a major move up the leaderboard on the weekend from making the cut on the number, which was huge for me in terms of the future. I think that that tournament, you've got to be so patient out there, because you get some funny hops, you get some weird lies, some weird lies in bunkers. I think it's a great lesson to learn on any golf course to have that mentality, that patience that you would have in an Open at a PGA or a Deutsche Bank or any tournament.
Q. Where were you playing with Jon? And are you heading to Akron?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I was playing this morning with Jon this morning at Bear's Club. We got up early, played nine holes. He just got back from the Hooters Tour. He actually finished second a couple weeks ago. We went out and played for breakfast this morning, and I'm leaving for Akron this afternoon. I'm actually, when I get off the phone with you guys, I'm heading to the airport to go up there.
MODERATOR: Thank you so much for joining us. I hope you have a great month of August and we very much look forward to having you here on Labor Day weekend.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Thanks, guys.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.