What they said: Michael Bradley

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January 06, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Hyundai Tournament of Champions transcript archive

CHRIS REIMER: We'd like to welcome our clubhouse leader here at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Michael, bogey� free round today, 5� under par. Talk about what went right out there on the golf course today.

MICHAEL BRADLEY: You know, it was a combination of everything. I drove it decent, hit some good iron shots, made some putts. I didn't do anything stupid. It was just kind of one of those days where I kept it in front of me and hit a lot of greens because you don't want to short side yourself out here because it's very difficult to get it up� and� down. Just left myself a lot of putts, and that was it. It was kind of one of those� � with the weather conditions and the wind, it was a difficult day. But I just kept it in places that I didn't hurt myself.

CHRIS REIMER: How are you enjoying the week thus far?

MICHAEL BRADLEY: Yeah, it's been fun. My wife and kids love coming over here. I took my son on the Maui Jim boat on Tuesday deep� sea fishing because he's a big fisherman and obviously my son lives to fish, so in the last year I've kind of become an evident fisherman with him. Going down to Lahaina everything evening, eating at Bubba Gump's just laid back. They enjoy going there and looking around the shops in the evening. That's it.

CHRIS REIMER: What did you catch?

MICHAEL BRADLEY: You know, we got skunked. The bites have been really slow lately, and we got skunked. But that's how it goes.

Q. You talked outside that this is the second year in the last three that you've started this tournament in the opening group. Is that a good omen? Do you like that? Does it matter?

MICHAEL BRADLEY: I'm just glad to have a tee time. I don't care if it's first or last. I'm just glad to be here, especially� � in life I'm almost 46. I'm kind of getting towards the end of my rope out here probably, so I'm elated to be here and playing with all this young talent out here. It's fun to watch.

Q. Do you remember what you shot in 2010??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: In 2010? What I shot for the week? I was going to say maybe a couple under.

CHRIS REIMER: I know this is your first round in the 60s at this course.

MICHAEL BRADLEY: Is it? Yeah, it might have been a couple under.

Q. Along those lines, I mean, you have your family here, it's the most wonderful thing in the world. From your perspective, if you could talk to 11 players that had the opportunity to play here for one reason for another and did not come here, what would you say to them??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: You know, that's unfortunate that they didn't show up. And I feel bad for Hyundai, the title sponsor, because I mean, they're� � they're the sponsor and they're putting up a lot of money to be involved in this. And you know what, I want the top� ranked players to be in my tournament. I'm not going to drive the TV ratings; I know that. People aren't sitting in front of their TV going, oh, Michael Bradley is leading, let's go watch him. I'm fine with that, but when you get the top 10 players in the world not going, it's a shame. I feel bad for all the people that put it on. It's a great tournament. It's an honor to be here because that means you've done something well the year before. So it's not just another tournament. It's not. It's not just another tournament because it's a select field that plays here.

I understand that we're independent contractors, and you know what, you can't force people to play somewhere they don't want to. But it's unfortunate that those guys aren't here. I think they're missing out on a lot.

Q. Should we draw any parallels between you winning in Puerto Rico and playing so well here??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: There's no parallels in my game (laughing). I say that all the time. I might go out and look like a world beater or I might go out and shoot 79, 80. That's just kind of how my game is right now. If I'm relatively quiet between the ears, I'm usually going to be okay. If my mind gets wandering and the little demons start creeping in, it makes it tough. I know we all as players fight that, and some players obviously handle it better than others. But if I keep the little gremlins at bay, then usually I'll play okay. But there's no rhyme or reason.

Q. How would you compare how the course was playing today versus last year and the other years??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: The course is in phenomenal shape. The course is in absolutely perfect shape. I don't believe it was as windy in the first round in 2010 as it was this year. I believe it was much windier, as you can look at the scores. I think the scores are a lot higher than they have been. But the course is in perfect shape. It's my understanding that the wind is supposed to probably die down a little bit or for the rest of the week after today. I think you might see some better scoring. But it's a tough golf course.

Q. And how about the greens? How would you compare them with previously?

MICHAEL BRADLEY: I'd say condition� wise, best I've ever seen them. They still have enough moisture in them that if you want to play aggressively, you can. You can hold shots. But it's tough. There's a lot of undulation. You start� � you're downhill, downwind, down� grain. It might be running 15, 16. Then you turn around, the same putt, it's running 8. So it's tough.

Q. You mentioned your age, almost 46. What kind of goals do you set for yourself when you mentioned that you're almost at the end of your rope out here??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: You know what, I'm not a very goal� oriented person. I try to do the best I can when I get up on the first tee. You know what, I step up on the first tee, I'm going to do the best I can that day. I'm not worried about tomorrow or a week down the road or six months down the road. I'm worried about today, and I'm going to try to play as well as I can that day and let the cards fall where they may. You know what, my wife and kids are going to love me end of the day regardless of what I do, and that's what's important in my life.

As a competitor you want to play well, and you're disappointed when you don't. But as I get older, it's easier just to kind of let it go after the round. You know, whatever.

Q. They love you at Bubba Gump.

MICHAEL BRADLEY: It's funny, we were there last night and one of the guys� � there's this ring game. It's a ring that's tied to a rope, and you shoot it, and there's a hook on the wall, and you try to make the ring stick on the hook in the wall. And my son has gotten great at it. He's doing it. So we were eating and I went up to tell him that our dinner was ready, and one of the guys that was greeting us, he's looking at us going, you look familiar, have you been here this week? I said, yeah, this is the fourth night in a row.

Stuff like that, that's what makes me happy, stuff like that. I don't want to downplay it and make it sound� � I love playing golf and I'm competitive and I want to play well, and I'm just as disappointed when I don't play well as probably anybody else, but you know what, when I shake my hand on 18 and I do my scorecard, you know what, that's it. Day's over. I don't take it home.

Q. I wanted to talk injuries for a minute. Could you go over some of yours??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: Back surgery, broken ankle, kind of got a bad right hip, which was kind of the result of the broken ankle I guess as the doctor called it. It's just kind of one big chain. And the big muscle in the hip, when I broke the ankle, basically the big muscle in the hip shut down and all the little small muscles had to work overtime. Obviously you know what happens when that happens. They're taking the load now. They're taking the brunt of it. It wasn't good. So I've been kind of fighting with that.

My back has been good for a while. I haven't really had any issues with that. But the right ankle I've lost about 10 degrees of mobility the last time I got checked in terms of dorsal flexion with it. I've lost about 10 degrees of mobility on it, and that's substantial.

Q. What caused the back surgery??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: Blew out a disk, L5� S1.

Q. Playing golf??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: Yeah, I was on the range at the Kemper Open. It was on a Saturday, warming up before the round. I just was kind of hitting shots, and I was like, well, it's going to be a long day today, just hitting it horrible. And went, grabbed a 4� iron, took a swing, down I went. Four days later I was having back surgery.

Q. What year was that??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: '98.

Q. In a roundabout way, I don't know if there's an answer to this, but you look at all the different players on TOUR, and do you ever wonder why some guys get injured and why some guys don't??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: No, I don't think there's any rhyme or reason. You know, you have some of the guys that are frankly not in the best shape in the world out here that they're fine, and then you see guys that are in the gym working out all the time, and they get hurt. I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to it. I don't know. I just think maybe some people are more susceptible than others. But Jim Fixx, the runner� � help me out. Yeah, died of a heart attack. Guy was probably the poster child for health. He dies of a heart attack. Go figure. So there's no rhyme or reason to why some guys get hurt and why some guys don't.

I figure I've probably got X amount of swings left in this body, so I don't want to waste them. You know, take fewer.

Q. As you were finishing, Jonathan Byrd was 6� under through 8 before bogeying 9, six birdies in a row. First part of this question, is this the type of course that you can get on a roll like that a lot??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: You know, the guys are so good out here that when somebody kind of gets in that little zone, it doesn't surprise me. Guys are just� � they're too good out here, and they get� � they start staking it, or you make a 25� footer and it keeps you going. No, it doesn't surprise me. Guys are too good.

Q. And with the scoring opportunities here, is this thing going to be nip and tuck do you think through Monday??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: I don't see why it wouldn't be. Supposedly the wind is supposed to maybe lay down a little bit, and I think that'll bring more guys into the equation, somebody that goes out and shoots a 7� , 8� , 9� under kind of gets back into it. So yeah, I don't foresee anybody walking down 18 with an eight� shot lead. I've been wrong before, but I don't foresee it happening.

Q. When you talk about your career, you would probably lean toward something like Doral. Where would you rank that compared with Puerto Rico given your age and the events you've been to??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: That's the thing, it's the age thing. I don't know. I think

Q. What would be more satisfying do you think??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: It's hard to say. Doral was my second win on TOUR, so that was special. But you know, being� � like I said, being in the mid 40s and winning on TOUR, I think that says something, too, against a lot younger competition. There's more than one way to skin a cat. You don't have to hit it 350. Look at Mark Wilson; he doesn't hit it that long, but you know what Mark Wilson does, he hits it where he's aimed. Look at Luke Donald. They hit it where they're aimed, and they've got great short games. They don't hit it 350 off the tee.

Q. Listening to you interact, you'd never know that you weren't a people person. What brought you out??

MICHAEL BRADLEY: Just like I said, when I first got out� � I've always been, I don't want to say a shy person, but I wasn't one of those kind of people that would kind of go out of my way to make a conversation with somebody. If somebody came up and wanted to talk to me, I'd be all in, but I just wasn't one of those people that would sit down, hey, how are you. I wasn't that way. I don't know, I just kind of felt like I was missing out on meeting people, because at the end of the day that's what it's about, relationships you make during the course of everything. I just figured, you know what, what's the worst thing that's going to happen? So I've just kind of tried to be a little more outgoing, and if I need to initiate conversations or just smile and be friendly and handshake or whatever, I'll just kind of try to do that.

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Michael. Good luck tomorrow.

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