Keegan Bradley

Published on   2023-09-18 by Kai

Keegan Bradley (born June 7, 1986 in Woodstock, Vermont) is an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour. He immediately caused a sensation in his first year on the tour by winning the 2011 PGA Championship. In addition to the fact that he was only the third professional player after Ben Curtis and Francis Ouimet to win in his first major appearance, he was also the first to use a belly putter. As a result of his success, he was also voted the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year 2011.

Bradley grew up, rather atypically for an American golf pro, in the state of Vermont. During the long winters in Vermont, he regularly took part in ski races. But when he realized that he preferred the weather conditions for golf to skiing, he decided at the age of 12 to concentrate fully on golf. His aunt Pat Bradley, who was his early role model, played a big part in this. Pat has won 31 tournaments on the LPGA Tour and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

On the road as a professional since 2008

In 2008, he decided to turn professional. He started on the NGA Hooters Tour, where he won his first tournament in his fifth appearance. In 2009, he managed another victory on this tour and gained his first experience on the Nationwide Tour, where he managed to make the cut twice in two starts. In 2010, he played continuously on the Nationwide Tour.

After a hesitant start, he achieved four consecutive top 5 results at the end of the season, which earned him 14th place in the final standings and secured him permission to play on the PGA Tour. In his second tournament on the PGA Tour in 2011, he achieved a top ten result at the Bob Hope Classics. His first victory also came in his first year at the HP Bryon Nelson Championships in a play-off against Ryan Palmer.

Victory in his first major tournament

A few weeks after his first victory on the PGA Tour, he was also able to play his first major, the PGA Championship. With a 64 on the second day, he took the lead, which he lost to Jason Dufner by one club on the third day. On the final day, after a triple bogey on the 15th hole, he was already five clubs behind. However, he made two birdies on the 16th and 17th holes and his opponent bogeyed the 15th-17th holes, which meant they were level again after the 17th hole. Both played the 18th hole with a par, so the winner had to be decided in a play-off. In the 3-hole playoff, Bradley played one shot better than Dufner and thus won the tournament. With this victory, he climbed from 108th to 29th place in the world rankings.

At the 2012 Northern Trust Open, he made a long birdie putt on the last hole, which saved him in a three-man play-off against Phil Mickelson and Bill Haas. However, he was unable to win the playoff as Bill Haas sank a 15-meter putt on the 2nd extra hole to win. He also came close to winning the 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championships. He held the lead on the tenth tee on the final day, but played a disastrous 41 on the last nine holes and dropped back to tied eighth place.

Bradley finished second twice in 2013, the first occurring in May at the HP Byron Nelson Championship where he shot a course record 60 in the first round at the TPC Four Seasons. Bradley took a one-stroke lead into the final round, but was overtaken by Sang-Moon Bae. In August, Bradley again finished second, this time seven clubs behind Tiger Woods at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone. That season, Bradley posted seven top-ten finishes and finished 11th on the PGA Tour money list. After the season, Bradley was a member of the winning United States team at the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village in Ohio.

His best finish in 2014 was a second place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Adam Scott was eliminated in the final round on Sunday, but it was Matt Every, not Bradley, who took the win after a comeback. That season, Bradley posted six top-ten finishes and finished 28th on the PGA Tour money list. After the season, Bradley was selected as captain for the Ryder Cup in Scotland.

Difficult years from 2015 onwards

In 2015, Bradley experienced his worst season since joining the PGA Tour. In 24 tournaments, Bradley only achieved three top ten finishes and finished 64th on the PGA Tour money list. For the first time in four years, Bradley did not represent the United States in a year-end international tournament. 2016 and 2017 were also two down years for Bradley. He did not win a tournament and finished 114th and 51st on the PGA Tour money list.

In 2018, Bradley won the BMW Championship. This event was part of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He qualified for the season-ending Tour Championship and finished 8th in the season-ending FedEx Cup. In June 2019, Bradley played a -13 for the week at the Travelers Championship and tied for second place with Zack Sucher. The winner that week was Chez Reavie. In October 2022, Bradley won the Zozo Championship, claiming his fifth PGA Tour victory and his first since the 2018 BMW Championship. In June 2023, Bradley won the Travelers Championship, his sixth PGA Tour victory. Bradley broke the tournament's scoring record with a score of 23-under 257.

Unusual rituals

Keegan Bradley practices some very striking and unusual rituals in his pre-shot routine. For example, he likes to stand behind the ball before the swing to identify the direction of the shot, tripping slightly with his feet slightly offset and turning the club in his right hand while it is on the ground. He often performs this turning movement while aligning himself with the ball.

Occasionally, he performs test swings at the ball by first placing the club behind the ball as if he were hitting it, but then performs the test swings with contact with the ground on the side facing him next to the ball. His method of identifying the putting line on the greens is also unusual: He turns his head slightly tilted to the left by about a quarter of a turn to the right and "squints", so to speak, for the direction.

He tends to be one of the "long hitters" on the PGA Tour. For 2012, he was ranked 16th (out of 191 listed players) by the PGA in the "Driving Distance" category, with an average distance of 277 meters.

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