WGC BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL
August 5, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome and congratulate our 2012 Bridgestone Invitational winner, Keegan Bradley. Just an amazing performance down the stretch today. You kind of exorcised the demons from the back nine last year. Talk about sitting here as the winner of this event.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Geez, it's real serious in here, guys. (Laughter.)
Oh, just feels so great. I kept having memories of last year creep into my head a little bit. I had a putt on 13, it was an identical putt basically that I missed, and it all kind of went downhill from there, and I was thinking about it, and I just felt so strong coming down the stretch, and most of all I just enjoyed every minute of it.
Q. What's your hope standing on the 18th tee?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: My hope standing on the 18th tee was to make birdie and maybe force a playoff. But you know, I just?? just from being out here, you just never know what's going to happen, especially with that pin on 18. That's a really difficult pin.
To be honest with you, my second shot in was probably about the purest shot I hit all day, and it just motored on me. I hit 9?iron from 165. I might have been a little jacked up, but it all worked out.
Q. When you were in here on Wednesday, I asked you if you were thinking about the Ryder Cup team. Do you know your standing right now?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Uh?uh.
Q. It's pretty good.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Good. Yeah, I try not to let people know how much it means to me, but I think about it every second. I probably shouldn't even be saying that.
But I just want to be on that team so badly. I was so close last year, and it would just mean so much to me to be on that team. I hope that this is enough to get on there.
Q. What did you envision Jim Furyk doing when you saw his lie and you saw your lie?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, as soon as I hit it in the bunker, I said to Pepsi, I said, "Do you think that's plugged?"
And he said, "I don't think so because the bunkers are so firm because of the rain." And I get up there, and it was plugged.
Again, I had just a great?? when you win, you just have a great attitude, and first I saw it plugged and then I saw the shot immediately of kind of going up that hill. The way I've been putting, I just wanted to give myself a chance. I hit a really spectacular shot from the bunker. I just love those moments.
Q. Just curious, if you had your choice with the third shot, your shot or Furyk's, which one was more??
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I would have definitely taken Jim's. But he had a really difficult shot because if he just hits it a little too?? his first shot was close to being perfect, and then if he hits it a little firm, it goes through into the rough on the other side. So they were both very difficult.
Q. Could you just talk about the putt on 18? You almost looked like you just won the PGA again. Could you describe your?? did you just see that one perfect, too?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I just kept telling myself, I was reading this putt, and I just kept telling myself that this is the exact moment that I live for, that you play golf for, that you grow up your whole life, and I'm living it. It's just an amazing feeling to be in that moment and just loving every second of it.
I didn't think for a second I was going to miss it. It was unbelievable. I got behind it, and I barely even had to read it. I knew the exact way it was going to break. I just needed to hit it hard enough. I knew that. And it was dead center.
Q. Does it make it any sweeter that you beat a guy who just is so steady and so good under pressure? I mean, this guy is the least likely candidate to make a 6 in the world on that hole. Does that make it any sweeter?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It makes it sweeter because of the caliber of player Jim is, such a great guy, Jim, and he's been so great to me. I've played a bunch of practice rounds with him. I really look up to the guy. And to be coming down the stretch with a guy like Jim Furyk battling is?? you dream about it.
I went through it with Phil at Riviera. And it's moments like that where you kind of have to pinch yourself, where two years ago, three years ago I was in Hawkinsville, Georgia, playing on the Hooters Tour grinding it out. It's just an amazing experience.
Q. Would you say that putt on 18 was the best you hit this week?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It was one of them. You know, it was just a moment where I just knew I was going to make it. It never crossed my mind that I was going to miss it. I just felt so great over it.
Q. There have been some pretty remarkable comebacks and on the flipside collapses on the TOUR this year. Having been through one of them, is that more the guys coming up from behind or is that the pressure of being on the top?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, I don't think Jim collapsed at all. I went out and played a very good round. I shot 31 on the back side.
And Jim played great. He hit a good shot in on 18, very similar to my shot, where the wind was swirling a little bit, and we felt like it was in, coming into us, and it actually wasn't, and it just went a little further. It was almost an identical shot that I hit. He didn't hit that bad a shot.
Q. You said you didn't think you'd miss the putt on 18. How about the one on 16 given what happened right before you with Louis and Furyk making his putt?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, you know, I hate to keep saying this, but I just absolutely love it. I was in it. Again, I was in the moment.
At the beginning of the year, I kind of took it for granted, I was there so much, and I kind of?? didn't realize really what was going on, and I lost it for a little bit, and I just missed it so much. And to be there and be hitting the shots and executing the way I did, I just enjoyed every minute of it. I love that Jim made that putt. I loved it, because it meant that I had to make mine.
I had a pretty simple putt. Again, I just read the putt perfectly, and it was perfect speed.
Q. Just to clarify, is there anything you don't love right now?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Absolutely not. I love everything right now. I love you guys (laughter.)
CHRIS REIMER: That's saying something.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: To be honest with you, I hate to keep saying this, but when I'm out here on TOUR and stuff like this happens, it doesn't seem real, it seems fake. I realize I'm speaking but it doesn't seem like words are coming out of my mouth.
Q. For someone not even in his second year on TOUR, I'm wondering how much experience you have, how you won Dallas, the PGA, the putt you made at Riviera, how much are they building blocks for you going forward?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, to be honest with you, this year I felt like I should have won a couple times early on, and I felt like that I gave away a couple tournaments, one being Doral. It was kind of starting to bother me because I was having some really poor Sundays.
At Greenbrier I did it. I shot 4?over on Sunday, and it was starting to get to me.
I just kept telling myself to stay patient and just hang around today and see what happens, and I did rely on my experience at the PGA and stuff like that to kind of calm me down.
Q. You said thoughts of last year were creeping into your mind. How did you fight them off? Did they start to wear on you, or did you take encouragement from those thoughts?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: You know, I was ready for those thoughts because I just had a great feeling that I was going to be in there this week, and I knew that those thoughts could come into my head. I spoke to Dr.Bob about it, Rotella, and we just told myself every time I thought about it, just laugh at it. Just catch it and that's all I could do. I think it's natural for that to happen out there. I think I handled it very well considering I was thinking about it, but I executed coming down the end.
Q. I just wonder when is the first time that you thought this is the moment I live for? Were you like 12, or is it just recently?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, I think it's for my whole life. I remember when you're a little kid playing matches against other guys, I used to love coming down the last hole having to make birdie. And you know, I'm still just a little kid out there playing. I love it.
And to be there at Firestone, playing against Jim Furyk at the World Golf Championship, I just was reveling in it. I'm so lucky that I love it because it's a weird feeling out there, and I seem to thrive on it a little bit.
CHRIS REIMER: Does this make next week harder for you?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I think it does a little in terms of my record after I've won a tournament isn't that great. But again, I've learned how to handle it. I've learned what to do after you win a tournament. I'll be in touch with a lot of guys. I'll be in touch with Phil, and I'll speak to him, and my Aunt Pat. I remember after I won Nelson and I missed the cut terribly at Memorial, and I asked her if she'd ever won back?to?back tournaments, and she said one time. She said it's one of the hardest things to do.
I look forward to the challenge, and again, this is going to be my third time doing it. I'm going to be better equipped for it.
Q. A lot of times, on coverage today, we noticed how you do this (demonstrating), kind of like what Nicklaus would do this to justify his left eye. Where did that come from and what are you looking for, and are you aware that you're doing it?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it's something I've done ever since I was a little kid. I'm trying to see the line. I know it looks really strange. But you know what, I've come to realize that a lot of the stuff that I do is strange. (Laughter.)
Some people aren't going to like it and some people are, but what I've learned the most out here is you've got to do what's best for yourself and you can't worry about what other people think. That's what I envy most about the veterans. They let things just slide off their back. That's kind of what I've tried to start doing it. That's one of them. I get it from the guys in the locker room, too. It's just something I've always done as a little kid. It helps me see the line a little bit better.
Q. When people groan when you back off, you've got a rhythm to it, but do you hear that or do you tune all that out?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I tune it out. Like I said, there's a lot of stuff that I do differently, and I think that people?? whenever something is different, people are going to think it's negative or not right. But it's the way I do it.
Q. Going back to the start of the round, what was going on in your mind? When he starts birdie, birdie, birdie and gets to 14, you make one birdie at you're at 8, so after three holes you're six behind. I know there's a lot of holes to play, but you can do the math.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, very similar thing happened to me at Riviera, and I think I was six down after a couple holes there, too, and then obviously at the PGA. And I just knew if I hung in there, I just had a feeling if I just hung tough out there on that course, I'd have a chance.
You know, with all the Ryder Cup points at stake, too, I wanted to stay strong and have a high finish just so I could get some points and some FedExCup points in there, too. I stayed very within myself in those first couple holes which is something I haven't done as of recent this year.
Q. Do you think playing after the storm played to your advantage or not?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I think it's always nice not to have to start up and stop again. I came in knowing that I probably wasn't going to tee off. I went in there and watched the Federer match. And you know, just stuff that you do when you win, I just felt fine with it.
Sometimes rain delays can bug you and you're just annoyed, but for me I was totally fine with it. I think we lucked out a little bit with the weather. I handled it pretty well.
Q. What was the most important putt you made before 16?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: The most important putt I made, ooh, the putt on 10 was big. Ooh, the putt on 9 was pretty big, too. The one on 9 for par was huge. But then on 10, I hit?? Jim hit just an unbelievable shot in there, and he had about four or five feet, and I had about 20. And I think that would have had him to go up four on me if I missed and he made. I knew it was a big moment, and I made it and he missed, and it was a huge swing in the momentum of the tournament.