Johns Creek (AP)— Keegan Bradley was 12 years old, standing on top of
the mountain in the middle of another brutal Vermont winter.
Like any New England kid, he loved to ski. Got pretty good at it, too. But,
with the sleet pounding his face and the cold piercing through his bones, he
decided there was a better way down.
“This is not as much fun as golf,” he told himself. “I love golf so much
Good call. Bradley won a major championship on his very first try Sunday,
and if that wasn’t extraordinary enough, look at the way he did it.
The 25-year-old trailed Jason Dufner by five strokes with three holes to
play in the PGA Championship, his chances seemingly snuffed out when he dumped
his ball in the water at the 15th hole and made triple bogey.
But the youngster pulled himself together, made two straight birdies, and
wound up in a three-hole playoff when Dufner bogeyed three in a row.
From there, Bradley took control. Considering what he faced on a
mountaintop, Atlanta Athletic Club was a breeze.
He made a birdie at the first extra hole, drilling a laser of an approach to
4 feet on No. 16 after Dufner nearly holed out. He safely cleared the pond at
the par-3 17th and went another stroke up when Dufner three-putted. Then, one
last bit of bravado at the 18th—a gutty 5-iron that cleared even more water to
set up the clinching par.
The Wanamaker Trophy was his.
“I can’t believe this thing is sitting next to me,” he said, looking at
the gleaming silver cup.
Considering his pedigree—his aunt, Pat Bradley, is an LGPA Hall of Famer—
this wasn’t so improbable at all.
“I grew up going to Pat’s tournaments and totally idolizing her and wanting
to be like her,” the nephew recalled. “I remember as a kid going to her
tournaments and literally staring her in the face and … she was so into it,
she would not even recognize me. And I thought that was cool.”