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For Keegan Bradley, What a Difference a Year Makes

Last summer’s BMW Championship was an inflection point; he’s won twice since

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Keegan Bradley was no longer sitting at the cool kids’ table.

This unpleasant realization hit home for Bradley at the 2022 BMW Championship in Wilmington, Delaware, where he was not part of the players’ meeting, then finished T58 and failed to reach the TOUR Championship. Bradley hadn’t won on the PGA TOUR since the 2018 BMW – and he wasn’t in the conversation to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team at Quail Hollow.

He was determined not to fade away.

“Yeah, I left this tournament last year on a mission really,” Bradley said during a press conference Tuesday in which New Jersey’s Liberty National, with its sumptuous views of Lower Manhattan, was announced as the host course for the 2027 BMW Championship.

“I was pissed,” Bradley continued. “Sometimes that’s good. It was the best thing to happen to me. I decided at this tournament around today, around Wednesday, I think, I was like, OK, I knew there were some changes coming, as well, to the TOUR and to the elevated events and all this stuff was coming, and I thought to myself, I’ve got to give this a really hard push.”

No one could have foreseen such a lull in 2011, when Bradley won twice, including the PGA Championship. And when he went 3-1-0 as a member of the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team, it seemed he would be on such teams for years to come. He also made the 2013 U.S. Presidents Cup team and 2014 Ryder Cup team, but the subsequent ban on anchored putting rocked him, and it took him years to steady himself on the greens.

He wasn’t far off last year, threatening at the Wells Fargo Championship before a poor final round in cold rain. He finished T2, kept at it, and resolved at the BMW to give it one more big push.

It worked. Fast forward to this week’s BMW at Olympia Fields and Bradley, 37, has not only ended his victory drought, but also he’s a two-time winner this season (ZOZO Championship, Travelers Championship). At 11th in the FedExCup, he’s a lock to make the TOUR Championship for the first time in five years, and his world ranking has gone from 47th to 16th.

The two victories, including a feel-good win at the Travelers in Hartford, Connecticut – the kid from New England winning amongst his people – have made Bradley one of the season’s best comeback stories. A third win this season at Olympia Fields, a course he said favors his preferred right-to-left ball flight off the tee, would make his resurgence even more remarkable.

It also would ease his mind when it comes to the one goal that remains: making the U.S. Ryder Cup Team that will travel to Rome and try and win on the road for the first time in 30 years.

“I made a lot of changes, and … I’m very proud of where I’ve gotten,” Bradley said. “But I got such a big step ahead of me with this Ryder Cup. I would really like to be on a winning Ryder Cup team someday. I’m not there at the end yet because I did leave here with a lot of questions about the rest of my career. I didn’t want to just coast into the end.

“I think I’ve got a good bunch of years left,” he added, “and it was a nice wake-up call.”

Source : PGA Tour