Keegan Bradley To The Rescue
JOHNS CREEK, GEORGIA | For 28
months, America’s best golfers tried
futilely to get to the mountaintop in a
major championship. In the sweltering
heat of a Georgia summer, two finally
got to the pinnacle Sunday at Atlanta
Athletic Club but only one could stay.
Keegan Bradley, a 25-year-old
native of Vermont from a famous golf
family, achieved something that’s only
been done twice before in nearly 100
years when he won the PGA Champion-
ship in his major championship debut.
The PGA Tour rookie rallied from a five-
shot deficit with three holes left to force
– and win – a three-hole playoff against
famous in golf
once say, “Hello,
Keegan Bradley’s world and the
universe of people who will now want
to know more about him is about to
Bradley became only the third
player to win in his professional major
championship debut. He joined the leg-
endary Francis Ouimet who, as a teen-
ager and amateur, won the 1913 U.S.
Open at The Country Club in Brookline,
Mass., against English professionals
Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. Ben Curtis
won the 2003 British Open at Royal St.
George’s the first time he played in a
“It feels unbelievable,” Bradley said.
“It seems like a dream. I’m afraid I’m
going to wake up and it’s not going to
It’s real, all right. Bradley has the
Wanamaker Trophy to prove it and, as he
entered the Media Center for the win-
ner’s interview, he snapped a photo with
his cell phone of the awaiting crowd.
Just to be sure in the morning that it
wasn’t a dream.
Bradley made history on another
front: He became the first golfer to
win a major championship with a
International players had dominated
golf’s major championships since Phil
Mickelson’s triumph down the road at
Augusta National Golf Club in April,
Bradley became the seventh straight
first-time major champion as golf’s
depth of field continues to display itself.
It represents the longest streak of first-
time major winners in history.
Bradley drew first blood in the
three-hole medal playoff format, which
started at the 468-yard par- 4 16th hole.
Dufner almost holed out his second
shot from 185 yards on the first playoff
hole – and then Bradley put his ap-
proach inside of it. The message was
clear. Dufner missed from six feet,
Bradley made from five feet to go up a
stroke in the three-hole aggregate.
A three-putt bogey at the par- 3 17th
hole by Dufner enabled Bradley, with
a par, to step onto the 18th tee with a
two-shot lead and the title in his grasp.
Bradley played the three extra holes
in 10 strokes; Dufner, a six-year PGA
Tour veteran looking for his first win,
had 11 strokes, including a birdie 3 on
the 18th hole.
They matched 8-under 272 totals
through 72 holes, with Bradley posting
4 4 4 3 5 4 3 4 4 35 4 4 5 4 4 3 4 3 4
4 4 4 3 5 3 3 3 4 33 4 4 4 3 4 4 5 4 4
Anders Hansen shot 66-273 to finish
third, his best finish in a major cham-
pionship. Two Americans, David Toms
(67) and Scott Verplank (70), tied
Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (67) for
fourth with 275, a stroke better than
Adam Scott (68), with Lee Westwood
(68) and Luke Donald (68) at 277.
Bradley slipped five shots behind
Dufner after a triple-bogey 6 at the
259-yard, par- 3 15th hole after getting
what he described as a terrible lie in
the rough. When all appeared hope-
lessly lost, Bradley responded in a huge
way, becoming only the fourth player all
week to birdie the 16th (par 4) and 17th
(par 3) holes back-to-back to get back
to 8 under.
“I tried to steady myself and I hit the
best drive of the week at 16,” Bradley
said. “The (35-foot) putt at 17, I’ll never
forget. It went right in the center.”
When asked to choose what was
more impressive, the massive come-
back or winning a major on his first try,
Bradley went for the major.
“Because no lead is safe out there
with that finish,” he said. “Especially if
you get a big lead, you might get tight
coming down to the end.”
Bradley’s aunt is Pat Bradley, a
member of the LPGA Hall of Fame and
multiple major champion. His father,
Mark, is a member of the PGA of
America in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
w Born: June 7, 1986 in Woodstock, Vermont
w College: St. John’s University (graduated in 2008
with a degree in sports management)
w He is the nephew of LPGA star Pat Bradley, a
member of the World Golf Hall of Fame
w Turned pro: 2008
w In 30 Nationwide Tour starts, he made the cut 20
times but never won (he finished second once and
third once). He finished 14th on the 2010 Nation-
wide Tour money list.
w He earned his first professional victory at the
2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship in May. That
event also went to a playoff, where he defeated
Ryan Palmer on the first hole.
w He entered the PGA Championship No. 107 in the
Official World Golf Ranking. He moves to No. 29
with the win.
w Bradley became the first player since Ben Curtis
(2003 Open Championship) to win his first start in
a major championship. Francis Ouimet (1913 U.S.
Open) was the last player to win his first major
championship start on U.S. soil.
w Bradley became the seventh player to win the
PGA Championship in his first try, joining Jim
Barnes (1916), Tom Creavy (1931), Bob Hamilton
(1944), Doug Ford (1955), Bob Tway (1986), John
Daly (1991) and Shaun Micheel (2003).
ski racer. As a 12-year-old, he recalls
being atop a mountain in the skiing
hotbed of Killington, Vt., getting ready
to race downhill.
“It was freezing and I remember
thinking, ‘This is not as much fun as
golf,’ ” he said. “It was then that I real-
ized golf was for me, not skiing, and I
said I want to be a golfer.”
Keegan Bradley is back on the