February 28 2012
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Twice this season Keegan Bradley has been in contention on a Sunday, which is to say that he hasn’t exactly suffered a sophomore slump following a whirlwind season that culminated in his playoff victory at the PGA Championship.
In other words, Bradley is proving to be a fast learner.
The 25-year-old spent part of Monday playing in a pro-am at his home club, the nearby Bear’s Club, where he got to see Jack Nicklaus hit a few shots. It wasn’t long before Bradley was trying to pick his brain.
“He’s a really approachable guy,” Bradley said Tuesday from The Honda Classic. “I’m hopefully going to go to dinner with him this week and talk to him about Augusta.”
It certainly worked for Charl Schwartzel. Last year, the South African talked to the six-time Masters champion and got a cheat sheet of sorts for Augusta National prior to the tournament. Schwartzel went on to birdie is final four holes to win his first career Green Jacket.
Bradley says he’ll do the same, and that he’ll bring a notepad. “I’ll listen to anything he’s got to say for sure,” Bradley said.
He won’t stop there, however. Bradley also has a few rounds planned with Phil Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion.
“He’ll want to beat me and we’ll play a little match,” Bradley said. “But he’ll tell me to aim at this branch or this little thing over here.”
The biggest lesson Bradley has learned since winning the PGA, however, is patience. That’s the same thing that helped Schwartzel at Augusta National in last year’s wild final round, and it’s what has helped Bradley avoid a letdown this season.
“Sometimes in the final round you can make a bogey and freak out a little bit and try to make it back and maybe compound the problem,” Bradley said. “The PGA I was 4 down with three to play and I was very patient. Same with the Byron Nelson. Weird stuff happens on Sunday, so I’ve tried to really stay level and calm.”