Well, hello there! I’m back after spending the long weekend in Montauk where one of my closest friends was married. I hope everyone (rather, all Americans) had a pleasant Memorial Day and enjoyed barbequing yesterday. Thanks to Conor for manning the site on Monday. Believe it or not, I had no internet access for nearly four days (besides my phone), but it was a nice respite and healthy to have normal face-to-face human interactions for a change!
Unfortunately, I missed most of the news-heavy weekend in golf, but I did manage to have a friend DVR Sunday’s coverage of the Byron Nelson Championship. As you know, Keegan Bradley, formerly known as “Pat Bradley’s nephew,” captured his maiden victory in a playoff against Ryan Palmer. What was he thinking about as he walked down 18 fairway (after Palmer dumped it in the water)? A cow bell.
For those who are regular readers of the site, you likely had more knowledge about Keegan than the average golf fan, or perhaps you skipped those posts.Let’s take a refresher course.
“Jamie’s (Lovemark) got a great attitude,” said Keegan. “I think there are things I can learn from Jamie — he’s so relaxed, which is something I need to work on.”
The two often have friendly wagers during practice rounds. On Tuesday at the Palmer course, Keegan took $40 off Lovemark in the last three holes.
“Jamie will never turn a bet down,” Keegan said with a laugh. “Whether he’s playing really well or bad and you place a bet, he’s going to take it. It’s exciting because it can be for $1 or a little more, you never know with him.
“We both striped our drives on the 16 hole. I said, ‘Up-and-down for $20.’ I got mine up and down. After I made my putt, we both started hysterically laughing. He had a putt to tie me and he power-lipped it out and we started laughing again. On the next hole, a par 3, I said, ‘Up-and-down from the tee for $20.’ I knocked it to four feet.
“We did $40 birdies on 18. We both made par. He had 15 feet and he barely missed it. Again, I started laughing — it was light-hearted, but he was kinda pissed. I think he wanted to make it. But it’s not intense, it’s a fun, little game.
“I know with Jamie that if I say up-and-down for whatever, he’s going to do it. I don’t know why I even ask him, I should just tell him, we’re going to play $20 birdies here.”
But the secret to his success this week has been his putting. On Tuesday Keegan listened to Dr. Bob Rotella’s “Putting Out of Your Mind.” He works with Dr. Rotella regularly, but sometimes just hearing the small reminders is helpful.
“Am I supposed to tell her my secrets?” asked Keegan, looking over to his dad, Mark Bradley.
“I don’t know but you look awfully smooth with the putter, though,” Mark replied.
“I’m just trying to think of my target and get the ball in the hole,” said Keegan. “It doesn’t matter how it gets there.
“I’ve made almost every putt that I feel like I should have made, like inside 15 feet. I got into a little roll in the middle of the round, where I was hitting it in the fairway, at the pin and making the putt. Golf feels so easy when I’m doing that. I got a little locked in coming around the turn. It was really stress free.”
I recommend reading the full post for Keegan’s account of a case of mistaken identity while grocery shopping several months ago. Actually, you should read all of the articles in their entirety!
“Aunt Pat (Bradley, LPGA Hall of Famer) said if she could do it over again, she’d spend two-thirds of the time on the short game and one-third on the swing,” explained Mark. “So she told (Keegan) that and he spent all his time chipping and putting. He used to try to hit flops when he shouldn’t, but I let him do it because he would learn on his own that it wasn’t the right shot.”
“I’m thrilled because everybody says you gotta play well on the West Coast,” said Keegan with a smile. “I’m so sick and tired of hearing that because I always want to play well, but I guess now it’s a little bit of relief. We’ll see if playing on the West Coast really helps you because this (finish) should really help me.”
Keegan was one of three rookies who finished in the top ten. As you may have heard, Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela won in a three-way playoff. Chris Kirk, who was low rookie at the Sony Open, tied for 7th.
“(Pat’s) been super helpful to me,” said Keegan after posting four-under 68 at La Quinta. “She’s helped me where a golf instructor couldn’t. I text her and talk to her about little stuff, like, ‘What do you do on a Monday out on Tour?’ She’ll tell me what to do — like to take it easy.
“I’m sure when I turn my phone on, there will be a text from her.
“(Pat) helps me more with the mental side of things. She won’t tell me to hit this or that. She gives me the tournament-player aspect side of it and not a lot of players have someone like that in their family.”
Congrats (again) on your big win, Keegan. Hopefully he’ll have time to squeeze me in for an interview this afternoon.
Alrighty, moving on to this week’s Memorial Tournament! I’m off to scour the practice areas and the golf course at Muirfield. Stay tuned for more on-site coverage all week!
(AP Photo/LM Otero)