It's all in the family for new PGA champ
Updated: 2011-08-16 08:07
Keegan Bradley of the US runs to greet his nephew and sister, Kay, on the 18th green after he won the 93rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club at Johns Creek, Georgia, on Sunday. Jeff Haynes / Reuters
Bradley wins tournament and thanks his famous aunt, a 31-time LPGA winner, for inspiration
As a child in snowy Vermont, Keegan Bradley took every chance he could to watch his aunt Pat play golf and dreamed of one day following her on to courses and playing as well as she did.
When you are the nephew of LPGA legend Pat Bradley, that can pay off in a major way, just as it did on Sunday for 25-year-old Keegan when he captured the 93rd PGA Championship, winning a three-hole playoff over fellow American Jason Dufner.
"I grew up going to Pat's tournaments and totally idolizing her and wanting to be like her out there," Bradley said. "I remember as a kid going to her tournaments and literally staring her in the face and she was so into it, she would not even recognize me.
"I thought that was cool. I always wanted to be like her."
Bradley became only the third man to win in his major debut, matching Ben Curtis at the 2003 British Open and Francis Ouimet at the 1913 US Open with his own epic achievement at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
"I made a lot of history in the game," Pat Bradley told The Golf Channel after her nephew's triumph. "Now it's time for Keegan to make his own history and he's off to a wonderful start."
Pat Bradley won 31 LPGA titles and claimed five major titles, including a career Grand Slam, taking the 1981 US Women's Open, 1986 Dinah Shore and LPGA Championships and the now-defunct DuMaurier title in 1985 and 1986.
Her inspiration helped as Keegan fought back after a triple-bogey six at the 15th hole with birdies at the par-4 16th and par-3 17th and had some help from Dufner, who took bogeys on 15, 16 and 17 to fall into a 72-hole deadlock.
In the playoff, Bradley birdied 16 again, Dufner made bogey at 17 again and while Dufner birdied 18, Bradley two-putted for par and the Wanamaker Trophy as well as a $1.44 million top prize.
"I'm just so very proud of him, the way he fought back and brought it home. It's a wonderful win," Pat Bradley said.
Keegan is the son of Mark Bradley, the golf professional at Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club in Wyoming.
"My dad gave me the opportunity to be able to play endless golf when it was not snowing in Vermont," Keegan Bradley said. "Endless golf, all day long, which is as much as I could get, and it has paid off."
As Pat Bradley put it, "Keegan honored his dad with this win."
One key to Bradley's success down the stretch came because he struggled down the stretch at a World Golf Championship event last week in the final round and spoke with golf psychologist Bob Rotella about the situation.
"Last week at the World Golf Championships, I had kind of a horrifying back side," Bradley recalled. "I had a chance to win. I was in contention at the time and I finished and it was scary. I completely lost it."
Bradley also sought some advice from rivals Phil Mickelson and Camilo Villegas and it paid off.
"I was able to put that behind me and it definitely crossed my mind - here we go again," Bradley said. "I was able to come back and I felt great."
Even Dufner took his hat off to the man who beat him.
"He seems to be a really confident player," Dufner said. "He has got a lot of good things going for him. He's got a great pedigree with Pat Bradley in his family. I'm sure he's picked up some things from her about winning and attitude and golf in general.
"He has probably got a pretty strong future out here."
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