Honda Classic interview: Keegan Bradley

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February 26, 2013

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JOHN BUSH: Keegan Bradley joins us here in the interview room at The Honda Classic, making his third start at this event, including a tie for 12th place last year. Keegan, welcome back, right here in Jupiter, it's home for you now.

KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, it's really good to be home. I love this golf course. I especially love bermudagreens, and you know, just really great to be home. It's just such a great area to live. Brings back a lot of great memories. I played very well here last year. I had a decent chance to win after two or three rounds but you know, it's a good track for me.

JOHN BUSH: Take us through your season up to this point.

KEEGAN BRADLEY: The season has been going okay. I've been playing really, really good golf and not getting much out of it, which is a good sign I think; back on these greens, hitting the ball well. I'm really excited for the next couple weeks. It's a big couple weeks with great courses for me.

Q. The obvious question is just your reaction to what came down Sunday with Tim Finchem's comments.

KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I wasn't that surprised at all. Commissioner Finchem and the PGA TOUR has always had their players backs, no matter how big or small the group is.

You know, I'm very proud and makes me feel good that my TOUR, the TOUR I play on has my back. I think now that this comment period that the USGA has been talking about, they have heard from two of the biggest organizations, golf organizations in the world, the PGA TOUR and The PGA of America saying that they don't agree with the USGA. If they are really taking this comment period seriously, I think they really need to look at what's been said by both those organizations.

Q. Do you agree that this is a reaction to the fact that guys like you now are winning majors with the belly putters?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: You know, I think that ‑‑ yeah, I do. I think that the ‑‑ maybe not directly, but when I won the PGA in 2011 with a belly putter, I was the first one to do it, and after I did my press conference and stuff, I didn't get asked one question about it. Wasn't a big deal at all.

So you know, it's an interesting dynamic. I know the USGA is looking out to protect the game and do what's best for the game, but I think they need to sit back and listen to what some of these big organizations are saying. It's a comment period, so they say, so I hope they listen.

Q. Keegan, can you speak to just how much of a challenge this has been or a distraction to your game?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it's been actually pretty difficult. You know, especially lately; I'm being called a cheater more than ever by fans, by some writers ‑‑ none of you guys.

You know, it's really tough. I can't imagine how people can say that to me or to anybody out here. It's been really difficult, and I'm sick of it to be honest. I'm ready to be over it.

But you know, I realize that this is going to be an issue now for the next couple years, at least. I hope the USGA thought about us players before they did this, because it's been really difficult on me and I know it's been really difficult on some other players, too.

Q. Can you just talk about your experiences with the long putter, when you started it, and how it helps you personally?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: My dad had a belly ‑‑ my dad was a club pro, and he had a belly putter I remember in the shop. I used to grab it when I was in high school, and it always felt so good. I never switched to it, but I remember the first time grabbing it thinking, I'm probably going to putt with it some day, it feels so good. For no other reason, than it felt good; I had no affliction why I was using it.

And then when I turned pro 2008, I moved to Florida and I had a relationship with RIFE putters and I was able to get professionally fitted. I'm tall and skinny and weird, so I never could get a belly putter that fit me correctly. That was probably the only reason I didn't never used it.

And then once that happened, I was able to be fit professionally by Danny Day at RIFE, and that's when I started using it. It just felt better.

Q. Did you tinker at all with the regulation, or I should say, short putter, at all, during this period?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: No, I've always grabbed the short putter and putted around with it for fun. I haven't done it anymore so now.

I grab the short putter, it feels great. So I'm not worried, but I do want to do what I think's best for me and what's right. You know, I take great offense to people calling me a cheater. I think that that's unbelievable to me.

Q. Kind of an offbeat question. What's been the appeal for you to move here, Jupiter area, and obviously a lot of guys have moved here. Obviously this tournament's benefitted from it; so many players playing here. What's the general appeal for you here?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, the weather is perfect all the time. It gets a little hot in the summer, but the weather's perfect. The oh hen is tropical. The Gulfstream current [] is right off the coast here, the tropical water, it gets to be almost 95 degrees in the summer. The golf course, The Bear's Club, it can't get any better for professional golfers. Jack Nicklaus has put the players first, and it shows.

It's just such a great place to live. It's like being on vacation every day. I love it. And you know, I don't ‑‑ I see myself living here for a very long time. Something really weird's got to happen for me to move out of here.

Q. Have you considered, inquired, researched about possible legal action if this proposed ban does get in place?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: No, I think that the PGA TOUR has done an unbelievable job in kind of taking over for us. And you know, I've kind of known that that was going to happen. I just knew it because Commissioner Finchem has always, always, had his players's backs. There's a board of players, there's a couple different boards, and they are almost unanimously against this ban. That shows a lot I think.

Like I said, The PGA of America, who has got 27,000 club pros, they are connected into the game more than anybody, PGA TOUR, USGA, whatever. They are connected in the game and they have got pros that are at these clubs that have hundreds of members; they know. So when The PGA of America is that against it, that kind of shows something.

Again, I respect the USGA, but the TOUR has done such a great job of kind of taking over for us, and I appreciate that.

Q. You've had players like Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker say that they have been swayed by listening to people's personal stories about the long putter. Have you shared with them what it's like to be out on the course and be called a cheater? And other than the Tiger event, can you give us an example of like when a fan has called you a cheater and what your response, if any, has been?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: I know Jim and Steve Stricker very well. I haven't sought out those guys and told them my story by any means.

I think that if you're in the game, if you're at every TOUR event, they are feeling what we are going through, and I really appreciate them saying that.

Some of the guys that have come out strongly against it, I don't understand, because it doesn't affect them; it affects me. So I really appreciate those guys doing that. That shows a lot to me.

As for the other people, a lot of it's on Twitter, which is ridiculous, anyways, I know. I do read it and I shouldn't. And there's silly fans that will say stuff. There's the occasional article that comes out, there was one recently that came out that I was absolutely, I couldn't believe it. I think that for the most part people are super respectful, but it's very easy to pick out those few ‑‑ and the word cheater, I mean, it's amazing that people can say that. It's probably the worst thing you could ever say to an athlete.

Q. If it comes to push to shove, and the U.S. Tour against The European Tour, and the R&A rules no more long putters and in America they say, okay, you can play; what do you think the ramifications of that are going to be, and will you switch to a short putter if you decide to go to the Open?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it's a mess. It's going to be a mess. You know, but it's very important to realize that we are still ‑‑ no rule has been made yet. There's a lot of speculation, this tour, this o, could do this, this and that. In the end we'll have to wait and see. Maybe every tour will go against it, maybe every tour will be for the belly putter. I'm going to wait and see.

There's so much hearsay that's going on with this. There's so much media around it; that one day I hear one thing, oh, there's no way it's going to happen and then the next day I hear it's going to happen next year. So I'm going to wait and see. I realize that every article I see about it, I have a picture in it, so that makes it a little more fun. (Laughter).

I realize that I'm going to have to deal with for the next couple years, which I'm fine with, but I do know the TOUR has my back, which is helpful.

Q. Back to the tournament, just talk about how much you've played this course since you've been down here, have you played it much and what do you like about it?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: I've played it in the tournament. I don't play here much. They get a lot of play, it's a very popular place, as it should be. PGA National is a great place for people to come play.

I don't come here a lot, but I have come here the last three years, and then a couple times here and there. I love the golf course because of the way you have to drive the ball. You must drive it well. The greens are perfect. And you know, you have to kind of assume that there's going to be some wind, and playing down here in Jupiter, I'm in it every day.

So I really look forward to this week.

Q. If indeed The European Tour and the R&A have a different set of rules than the PGA TOUR, can you just speak of what that would do to the game globally on that level?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: Man, that's going to be tough. I'm going to have to wait and see, because The European Tour ‑‑ I don't know what they have said exactly. All I hear is what I've read, so I don't even know if that's accurate. I don't even know ‑‑ have they officially said anything? No.

So I don't really know. I'm sure what they are saying is right, but I don't know what they are going to do. But I think everyone at some point is going to have to get together and all talk at the same meeting or at the same place or something. People are going to v, we are going to have to get together here and discuss this. It can't be just one group here and one group here. Let's get together and figure this out.

Q. You're a fiery competitor and you obviously like to play the game and you love to win. You've won regular TOUR events and a major. With that in mind as you move forward in your career, obviously you want to win more majors; is that your game plan?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, definitely. I'm starting to really kind of base my schedule around majors, WGCs, PLAYERS Championship, and you know, last year was my first year of playing all four.

So I'm kind of learning what to do, what not to do, and I want to win majors. I just want to be ‑‑ to have a chance to win them. You're not going to win every one obviously, but the more you put yourself in there, the more chances you're going to have. And you see the best players in the world, they are there. Phil's always there. Tiger's always there.

And you know, the Masters is one that I feel like is a really good course for me, and I'm going to really kind of focus in on getting in early and playing with Phil and really learning a lot.

Q. With being here, like you've played with Jake this weekend, do you ever talk to Jack Nicklaus at all about the Masters or any of the majors and how to play them?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: I have very briefly. We are planning on getting together and really sitting down and talking, but I try to pick the players' brains as much as I can. Obviously a lot with Phil, but also some other players that have done well.

I was speaking to Ernie about Augusta just the other day and we were kind of going through the holes and he was telling me, you don't really need to hit a big hook here, just hit it out here. That stuff's really helpful. It's the one sport that you can get advice from the player you're going to try to beat on Sunday.

And just last week, Luke Donald gave me a bunker lesson, and today I made three bunker shots in a row and I Tweeted him, how does it feel to be the second best bunker player in Jupiter. He responded that he's not giving me any more lessons. It's a great TOUR and a lot of good guys out here.

Q. A little off bet, I'm so used to you wearing that red visor all the time, just talk about why you changed and is there adjustment at all for you wearing, a hat as opposed to a visor?

KEEGAN BRADLEY: No, I have such a big head, I wore visors only because the hats didn't fit me. I wear hats every other day of my life. I just wanted to switch it up a little bit. It's amazing how people hate it, but it's just a little different look. I'm just switching it up a little. I'll see if I can get some different MoJo going.

JOHN BUSH: Keegan Bradley, thank you. 

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