Keegan Bradley, New England’s own and reigning PGA Championship winner, was interviewed by the media at the Deutsche Bank Championship today (Aug. 31.) Here’s a transcript of his interview for the enjoyment of his fans in a region of the country that has been so hard hit by Tropical Storm Irene.
JOHN BUSH: We’d like to welcome Keegan Bradley into the interview room here at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Keegan, I know obviously winning the PGA Championship is one of your highlights. You had another one last night. Talk about throwing out the first pitch at Fenway.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, one of my dreams my whole life has been to be able to throw out the first pitch at Fenway, and I got to realize that dream last night in front of my whole family and in front of a bunch of my friends. It was a strange feeling to be on the mound at Fenway, but it lived up to the hype. It’s something I’ll never forget.
JOHN BUSH: You’re No. 14 in the FedEx Cup standings. Got some work to do here this week. Talk about being in Boston and playing the Deutsche Bank Championship.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it’s so good to be here in Boston. We’ve been dealing with some brutal heat the last couple weeks. We come out here and it’s so nice out. It’s really cool to be out here with all my friends and family and to hit off the same grass that I grew up on and the same rough. It really feels like home. I played in Hartford, but this is even more so at home. The first time I ever saw Tiger Woods hit a golf shot was on the 14th hole out here, and it’s just a cool feeling to be here.
MEDIA: How would you describe your performance last night?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, talking to all my buddies, they’ve said, “You’d better not bounce that thing in there,” and I just didn’t want to bounce it. I would give myself a B‑. I’ve got Dustin Pedroia, who got down in a catcher’s stance. He’s kind of a small guy anyways, and it was a small target. I was afraid. I was so nervous that I was afraid I was going to fall on my face or do something embarrassing, so I was happy with it.
MEDIA: What year did you see Tiger here?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It was before the playoffs. I can’t exactly remember, but I remember it was a tee shot that I remember watching was the first time I ever saw Tiger hit a shot. I used to come and watch this tournament. It was weird being out there and getting a few flashbacks of watching some of the guys play back when I was in high school.
MEDIA: Can you talk about playing high school golf in New England, what those times meant to you?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, fall in New England is a special time for us. I’m starting to feel it here. It’s something that I miss the most living in Florida. When I think of high school golf I think of punched greens, I think of cold weather, some snow. But I just remember my senior year of high school playing college golf with my buddies, and they’re some of the best memories that I’ve ever had in my life. I actually played a high school event here my senior year of high school. I don’t remember much. They just had done like a military punch in the golf course. It was barely playable. It was cold. But I did play in high school here, and high school golf is so much fun, especially in New England in the fall.
MEDIA: What are your memories about playing a tournament here? What do you remember about it? And kind of take us back what it was like aside from the crazy greens and everything.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Back when I came it was semi‑new so we were all very excited to play. I actually remember beating the guy I was playing with by 20 shots for nine holes. I remember he shot 52 and I shot 32. That’s kind of an interesting fact. But I do remember being excited to come here, and being able to come back here in the Deutsche Bank and the FedEx Cup Playoffs is really cool. I say this pretty much every time, but it’s a dream for me to be out here, and to be able to be involved in the FedEx Cup is amazing.
MEDIA: I’m based in Medfield, a fellow Tri‑Valley League competitor. Any memories of the Tri‑Valley League itself during your high school days in Hopkinton?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I remember playing the Tri‑Valley League, going to basketball games all around. I get a lot of guys from New England out here or on Twitter saying, “I used to play in the Tri‑Valley League,” stuff like that. So yeah, absolutely. It’s a cool tight little small travel to all these places. It’s fun.
MEDIA: Can you talk about how you approach the 11th hole, the par‑3 up the hill?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, that’s a great hole. I hit a little 3‑iron today, and it hit the green and went long. You’re going to have to hit something pretty high into that hole. It’s a really good hole. It’s long, it’s tough, and especially if that pin is up front, it’s going to be tough. And then 16–I personally think that par‑3s should be from 155 yards to 180 yards. I think that that hole, 16, is so good in terms of it giving you a good chance at birdie, but also there’s water there and it’s a tough shot. It’s a really, really good hole.
MEDIA: This week what has this been like coming home? It’s kind of like a homecoming after winning the PGA, seeing all these old friends. What has it been like for you?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it’s great. It’s the first time I’ve got to see a lot of my families members since I won the PGA, and it’s amazing how the people of Boston and at Fenway Park last night were aware that I’m from New England and that I won the PGA. It’s a cool feeling for me to come back to Boston and kind of have established my career a little bit. And now that they know that I’m New England–I’ve lived in almost every state in New England, all over New England, and it’s really, really cool, and I’m very, very proud of my New England heritage. It’s fun to come back here, definitely.
MEDIA: In a season that started with a lot of newness and probably uncertainty, what has having a relationship with someone like Phil Mickelson been able to give you?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, Phil–you know, it’s an interesting thing to look up to somebody for so long and then be able to call him on the phone and text him and talk to him and get some advice from him. You know, Phil is a really, really great guy, besides being a great golfer. He’s really helped me. He’s been so nice to me. I’ve got to play some practice rounds with him. And he’s a big part of the reason why I’ve won twice. He’s helped me with my routine in some late tee times, which is very important, especially at the PGA; I was teeing off at 3 or 3:30 p.m. And then at the PGA I’m walking to go hit some balls on the range and I’m walking by Phil and he gave me a fist pound and said, “Go get ’em today.” If you would have told me five years ago that that would have happened, I’d probably have been laughing at you. It’s really cool. He deserves a lot of credit. The guy is just a really great guy.
MEDIA: Can you talk about press conferences like this, stopping to sign autographs, take pictures. How has your life changed since winning the PGA Championship?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It’s changed a lot. I did grow up in a small town in Vermont, so this is all a little new to me, but this is things that us as players we look for, because it means we’re doing something right. It has changed; going to the Red Sox game I was walking around and people were giving me high fives congratulating me. It’s changed, but all in great ways. Like I enjoy coming in here and talking to you guys means that I’m doing something pretty well. I’m happy with all the people that come up to me and congratulate me. It really means a lot for them to know what’s going on, and I appreciate it.
MEDIA: Vermont has taken a beating over the weekend with Irene, not only just Woodstock, but the course that you might have played at growing up, Quechee, I believe. Obviously that must be in the back of your mind as you move forward here. Can you just talk about growing up in Vermont and then now what Vermont is kind of going through right now?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, you know, growing up in Vermont is a huge part of who I am and what type of player I am. I also grew up skiing in Vermont, and so you know, I have a lot of pride in where I’m from. And to see those pictures of places that I’ve been, ski areas, towns that have been damaged pretty badly, it’s really, really tough to see, and I’m going to do as much as I can to help. I’m thinking of all the people in Vermont and I feel for them, and I’ve still got a lot of friends that live there. I hope everybody is okay, and I hope I can help out in some way.
MEDIA: What did you take golf‑wise from your time at St. John’s?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I got to know a lot of really, really good people at St. John’s, and they are a huge part of why I’m out here. I got to play all over Long Island, all over Westchester, even in the Hamptons, and I got to play some of the best courses in the country, some of the toughest. It’s actually been a huge help to my career. Also, part of my DNA is a little bit of a chip on my shoulder I guess you could say, and at St. John’s no one is going to think that a professional golfer is going to come out of there. Living in Queens, Queens has a little chip on their shoulder, too (laughter), so it’s all part of who I am, and if you take St. John’s out and those four years there I probably wouldn’t be here. It’s part of my process of getting here.
MEDIA: What are you going to do schedule-wise over the rest of the way? You’ve got a couple things on the table potentially for Player of the Year and those types of things. You’ve got next week and presumably Atlanta. Would you add Fall Series, or were you planning to play Fall Series to maybe give yourself a chance to steal one of those, get that third win and nail something down? Or is that all still vague at this point?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: You know, I think every player wants to win Player of the Year. It would be amazing to me. I’ve got a long way to go, and these FedEx Cup Playoffs are so important to us all, and I haven’t even thought past that. Getting to the Tour Championship was a goal of mine at the start of the year, and I’ve got a really good chance of getting there and contending for the FedEx Cup and then I guess Player of the Year, too, which is almost weird saying it. I know it’s a cliché answer. I shouldn’t be thinking to Atlanta. That’s a little too far.
MEDIA: Back to high school golf, it wasn’t that long ago you were state champion. Can you comment about where that took place and that particular day, winning the Division II title?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it was in Beverly, Ma. I shot 69, and we won. I won individually and our team won by 21 shots. I had John Curran on my team, who went to Vanderbilt on a full scholarship, All‑America. I also had Kim Donovan on my team, who went to Duke on a full scholarship. I always say my high school team my senior year was better than my college team my freshman year. We were really, really good. My relationship with John, my friendship with John, who is still down in Florida with me, has been a huge part of me getting out here on the PGA Tour. That year in Hopkinton and winning that state championship with all those guys was a huge part of me getting here. John Curran is still my best friend today. We play golf every day down in Florida, and it’s a blessing that it happened.
MEDIA: Is your aunt planning to come out this week?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, Pat. I was hitting balls yesterday, and I looked behind me and I see Pat underneath the bleachers trying to hide from me. So yeah, she’s here. My dad’s here. Last night they gave me a skybox with 14 tickets for the Patriots game (Thursday) and that wasn’t enough. I mean, I’m probably going to have a lot of Bradleys, a lot of my mom’s side, so there’s going to be a lot of people.
MEDIA: Are you taking better care of the Wanamaker than they did the Stanley Cup last year?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, the Wanamaker went on a little tour of Jupiter, Fl. for a few weeks but now it’s done; it’s in its final spot. I actually keep it in my room so when I wake up every day I see it. Every time I look at it, I kind of shake my head and laugh a little bit because it is the Wanamaker Trophy sitting in my room, and it’s sort of weird. It’s an interesting feeling.
MEDIA: I saw your Tweet that you took it for a ride around Atlanta, as well. But that aside, do you have any plans once you get to that famous R & R over this overwhelming year of going back home to Vermont and at least touching bases and going up and seeing some of your friends after this terrific year that you’ve had?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I really, really would like to do that. I know a couple of my friends are going to come down this week. A bunch of them came down to Hartford. But I’d really like to get back to Vermont and check in on everybody and see what I can do to help. I haven’t been to Vermont in a while and I really, really miss going there and I can’t wait to get back.
MEDIA: Kind of two separate questions for you: Are you concerned at all about maybe putting a little extra pressure on yourself this week, where you are and who’s going to be watching you? And secondly, have you given any thought to the Presidents Cup? There’s one spot, I guess, still left, and how important would that be?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, the biggest thing right now for me is to try to downplay this week as much as I can because not only is it in my hometown in front of my whole family, but there are a lot of FedEx Cup points on the line. This is an important week, especially after missing the cut last week. Always the week after you miss the cut there seems to be a little different feel to it. It’s my hardest battle every week that I play is I have to try to downplay it. It’s going to be tough, definitely. And The Presidents Cup, I really want to be on the team. I want to earn my way on the team, first and foremost. I’ve still got plenty of time. I think Fred Couples is a great captain. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Tiger Woods is one of the best players ever to play. That’s not a bad choice at all. Anybody that he picks, he knows best. He’s played in so many of these things. If I was to be picked by Fred Couples, it would be the tops on my list in terms of coolest things happening to me so far in my career. It’s another thing to put a little extra pressure on myself, which I’ve got to try to downplay. But any player wants to play for their country in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. I hope to be there, but if I’m not, I hope to be on future teams.
MEDIA: How important were your golf coaches both in high school and at St. John’s to your development as a player?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, my golf coach at Hopkinton was Dick Bliss. He played at Houston, was a very good player, and I actually saw him last night at the Red Sox game. And then Frank Darby at St. John’s was very influential because he gave me the opportunity to play four years and get my education at St. John’s. College coaches in general, it’s a tough job for them because us golfers are a little bit crazy mentally and everything. Frank, Coach Darby, he put up with me, and really, I always am so thankful for the opportunity that he gave me to get an education at St. John’s and to play for him for four years.
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