Cripes, I can’t believe I’m actually taking the time out of my supposed week off and addressing this issue, but obviously a lot of people took issue with Keegan Bradley’s frequent spitting on Sunday at Riviera (though if we’re going to gripe about a habit, I’d go with his deliberate pre-shot routine). I mean, really, guys, spitting?
I guess I’ve almost grown immune to it because I’m out there every week and I see just about every player gob saliva from his mouth on the reg. Look, every time before I sit down or kneel on the grass out there, I wonder, is this somewhere someone has hawked a loogey? Oh well.
I wasn’t watching the telecast since I was on the course, but I heard it was pretty bad even by those who think this whole debacle is ridiculous. Still, it shouldn’t be treated like some national crisis. No worries, though — Keegan has apologized and vowed to enter rehab for his problem(s).
“I was very surprised to see the replay of the telecast to see how much I was spitting,” said Bradley after taking the redeye Sunday to attend a memorial service in Massachusetts (and then flying back across the country for the event). “To be honest with you, I really had no idea I was doing it. And I feel bad. It’s something that I’m going to work on and I just ask everybody to just kind of bear with me as I go through this, because it’s something I’ve done without even knowing it. I’m going to truly work on it.
“It might take some time. But I will do any best to stop. It’s something that I’m glad that’s come up, because I’m able to kind of nip it now. It’s just a thing where I’m watching the rear‑‑ I’m watching myself, and I never even knew I was doing it. In a way I’m glad it happened, but it’s something that I’m going to try very hard to stop.”
Now what about that methodical pre-shot routine? (Which I’m going to point out is something that I didn’t see him do last year until the Grand Slam and I’m one of three people who actually watched the kid play since the start of his rookie season.) He’s going to try to address that, too.
Q. Your pre‑shot routine is pretty elaborate and thorough. Can you give us some sense of what you’re going through, what you’re looking for, what you need to have happen in that three shot routine to get you to the point where you can hit the shot? Once you’re ready to hit the shot, you hit the shot?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah. It’s about visualization. It’s kind of my way of staying not stagnant. It is a little different. I will take a look at that again. But it’s something that, you know, I’ve been doing and it’s been working. So I’m going to‑‑ I do take a look at these things and talk to some people that are important to me about it, the people that know. It’s, again, something that I’m going to work on. It’s not something that I can stop or that I can ‑‑ I don’t like, it’s just something that I’m going to work on. Coming down the stretch, it does come up a little bit. But it doesn’t seem to affect my ability, which is the most important.
Q. I wasn’t suggesting anything was wrong, I was trying to get the sense of what you were doing.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I’m very much into not hitting it until‑‑ if I’m walking in and have a bad thought, I’ll come back out. I see a lot of players hit shots when they’re thinking about don’t hit this in the water or don’t hook this over here. And basically what I do is I’m not going to go until I’m ready, until I know I’m going to hit a good shot. And that’s kind of what happens.
Q. Were you surprised that you backed off so much coming down the stretch? Did that surprise you at all when you saw the replay?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: A little bit. But, again, it’s something that you don’t even really realize you’re doing when you’re in the heat of it. I will take a look at it and see if there’s any improvements that I can make. But, again, it’s something that I’ve been doing for a long time. I’ll work on it if it really needs to be fixed, if it affects my ability.
Q. Two quick points. You have to forgive me. I watched your final round from Riviera from the UK. And there was a TV segment on your pre-shot on the tee that went on some time. The commentators were asking what on earth is he doing. Because you did seem to be agonizing to such an extent. It looked like your thoughts were almost impeding your shot making. Is there ever a danger that you can just overanalyze things? Do you think that for certain players maybe this overanalysis is contributing to slow play? I know there are certain players who have been criticized for that, talking to long with their caddies, backing off too many times. Do you think that’s an issue at all?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: What I find it’s going to affect my ability to play is when I’ll really take a look at it. I will take a look at that Sunday coverage, and see if there’s any improvements I can make. But again it’s not something that I can just stop and say I’m going to change. I’m going to do my best to make improvements every week.
So it can affect your ability to hit good shots. It hasn’t for me yet and I’ll keep a close eye on it.
Ah, God Save the Queen. Great question.
Knowing Keegan — and just golfers in general — he’s rather regimented, so I wouldn’t look for any quick changes to his pre-shot routine anytime soon.
Let’s give the kid a break (for now — he needs to speed things up). After all, he just flew across the country from L.A. to Massachusetts to serve as a pallbearer at Peter Curran’s funeral and then turned right back around and hopped on a flight to Arizona. Curran was his roommate Jon’s father, who lost his battle to cancer last week. As surprising as it may seem, not that many players would have made the effort.
(*Update: OK, to be fair, I haven’t watched a replay of the telecast on Sunday. The stutter stepping has been driving me crazy all year, though.)
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)