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BMW CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
July 1, 2019
THE MODERATOR: We're going to begin the media day. Thank you for everyone coming out here to Medinah Country Club for the 2019 media day for the BMW Championship.
Certainly recognize a lot of familiar faces in the crowd and some new ones, so we appreciate the great turnout we've had today.
My name is Vince Pellegrino; I'm the senior vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association. We appreciate all the support we've been receiving for this championship this year from the media.
We've got some topics and announcements to cover before we kickoff brunch and golf. First, we're really excited to welcome Keegan Bradley for an interview via Skype.
If you're a fan of golf, you know Keegan has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in his career. He was voted PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year in 2011 after winning the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Keegan also won the Bridgestone Invitational in 2012 and made the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2012, going 3 and 1 here at Medinah, and again in 2014.
Prior to media day, we gathered some questions for Keegan, and we look forward to hearing his responses.
Now let's welcome Keegan Bradley. All right. There he is.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Hey, guys.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: Hey, Keegan, how are you? It's Vince Pellegrino.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: How is it going? Thank you so much for having me. It's one my favorite events and obviously one that is very close to my heart.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: Thanks for being here. Obviously winning the 2018 BMW Championship last year, going into that championship how were you feeling about your game, and did you have any sense for how special that week would be for you?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, I was playing well. The prior week I was in the final group with Bryson DeChambeau in New York and I shot 75 or 76, which was a huge disappointment, but obviously the game was trending.
Then I came to Aronimink and the BMW Championship and just fell in love with the course. BMW always puts on such an incredible event and it has a major type feel.
I'm just so thankful to have won it.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: We certainly had some tough weather conditions last year and we ended up playing on Monday afterwards. You shot a 6-under 64 to force a playoff with Justin Rose. Describe what you're feeling on the tee box knowing how close you were to winning the tournament.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, it was one of those moments you work your whole life for. I had to come back from some pretty dark times, and all of a sudden I was standing on that tee with a chance to win a playoff event, the BMW Championship, and it was just so exciting.
I had so much fun that day. We kind of got lucky with the weather even though we were playing on Monday. There was a chance we weren't even going to play.
I was thankful to be out there. It was just a magical day.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: So it had been six years since your last tour victory. What was it like to see that winning putt drop and really having your wife and son there to share in the moment with you?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It was just incredible. It's a thing that tour players dream about, having your family there when you win. Whether you win one event is a big deal, but even sometimes when you win your family is not there or people that you love aren't there.
I was lucky enough to have my wife and new son, Logan, there. I had dreamt of that moment of having that winning putt go in and having them run out and give me a hug. I got to live it, and it was everything I thought it would be.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: Yeah, it was a great championship. And considering we have the Top 70 players in the world and the strength of the field was incredible that week, how did that rank among your professional victories and accomplishments?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, I'll tell, it's one I'm probably going to look back on most fondly because of the family aspect, having everybody there and the battle it took to get back it that point. It's an event that I can't really measure just because of the emotional side of it. It just meant everything. It kind of brought me back to a spot in my career that I felt like I could win and contend again.
I look back at that moment as a game changer.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: I guess did it mean a little bit more to you being a Boston fan winning in Philadelphia?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: (Laughing.) It did, especially after the Eagles beat the Patriot. The fans of Philadelphia are so passionate. It was awesome to play in front of.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: We've got some great fans here in Chicago for this year's championship. You've got some personal history here at Medinah. You played in the Ryder Cup in '12 and had a great week finishing 3-1 overall.
What are some of your memories of that week and of Medinah?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, when I think back to the Ryder Cup of Medinah, it's probably the most fun time I've ever had playing the game of golf. Every single second was fun, exciting. The adrenaline rush of being there and in a Ryder Cup. You know, Sunday didn't go the way we wanted, but other than that it was as much fun as I've ever had on a golf course.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: What do you remember most about Medinah as far as the golf course? Do you have a favorite hole or most memorable hole on course No. 3?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I've always loved that 17th hole, the par-3. It's the perfect yardage and it's just a great hole. A lot can happen there, especially coming down the end of a tournament.
It's just an exciting finish.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: So the last time the PGA TOUR has been here was 2006 for the PGA Championship. What sense do you among the players on tour about the excitement coming back to a facility like Medinah for the 2019 BMW Championship?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, any time you get to play at venues like Medinah or Aronimink or courses like that, just adds to the hype and the value of the event. We know coming to this tournament you're playing a major-caliber course, a Ryder Cup course, and it just brings that much more to the event that we can look forward to and the fans can as well.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: So there is a lot on the line this year. It's the PGA Tour playoffs. The PGA TOUR season has gone from four events to three events this year, ours being the second and there is a lot on the line.
Is there a different mentality amongst the players coming into the playoffs?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Absolutely. I think it's more of a race. You have one good finish, especially at the BMW Championship, the second one, you're right there to win the FedExCup or right there to make the TOUR Championship.
You know, instead of having three events before this, all of a sudden we're right in the middle of it here at the BMW Championship. It's such a great decision. It's going to be very, very exciting.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: So you've played in several professional events in the Chicagoland area, including the BMW Championship. We talked a little bit about the fans in Philadelphia. What is it like to play in Chicago? What do you like about it? What hopefully you don't like about it?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, my experience with the Chicago fans with the Ryder Cup was incredible. I got to feel what it was like to play in a home game for a big time sporting team. I could feel the passion of the fans in Chicago. They're passionate and they were behind us, and we look forward to playing in front of them this year.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: So here at the Western Golf Association, all proceeds of the championship will benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation, which is a caddie scholarship. Certainly we're all about caddies.
Can you describe the relationship you have with your caddie and how important that is the to dynamic of a golfer's success on tour?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, it's so great that you guys do that. Caddies for us tour pros are -- we spend as much time with them as we do our own families. They're within three feet of us for six days a week, six hours a day. They live through the ups and downs just as much as anybody.
Caddies are such an important part of our success out here. A good caddie can really help you play well. My caddie, Chad Reynolds, really helped me get to this point and win this tournament. We're so thankful and I'm so thankful for what caddies do and the passion they bring.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: Well, something new this year for us at the tournament. On Wednesday we're going to have Evans Scholars caddie for the professionals during the pro-am. Certainly your caddie is going to walk along with you, but that will be a unique thing we used to do back in the Western Open days. Now that we're in the summer we'll have Evans Scholars caddie. You'll get to witness that up close and personal on Wednesday during the championship.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: That's great. I really look forward to that.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: We're going to open it up to questions for members of the media.
Q. This moved from September to August. You guys feel like it will be more front and center in big TV markets like Chicago, and how does that impact your playing that week?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, we always struggled with the weather kind of with the BMW a little bit being later in the year. Now that it's earlier in the year I expect the weather to be better. We never know, but that's always a plus.
When we get to play in major markets like Chicago, New York, Boston, L.A. it just brings a different excitement to the course. It just brings that extra -- just a little extra adrenaline that we love to play for. Especially in Chicago. The fans in Chicago are extra crazy.
Q. What are your thoughts on the overall truncated schedule on the PGA Tour with a lot of movement this year?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, it's definitely tougher for us players just because once this first major hit -- it's crazy. Once we played the Bethpage major it just seems like it's gone by so quick. I can't believe we're almost in the playoffs.
It makes it exciting to where we have these big events. It seems like every couple weeks is a major or WGC or playoff events coming up. It's exciting, but I think it's harder on us players. There is so much that you're playing for on the PGA TOUR, and every week is life changing with FedExCup points or big purses or the honor of winning a BMW Championship. It's just a lot.
Q. You were partnered with Steve Stricker at the Ryder Cup here. What are your thoughts on him being the Ryder Cup captain?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, everybody knows Steve Stricker is a really passionate guy, and all of us, especially me, we look up to him as a role model for us. He's been on all these teams; he's great player and even better guy.
To have a guy like him with local ties to where we're playing is only going to bring more energy to us.
It would be an honor for me to play for Steve Stricker. I know every single guy on this PGA TOUR would love to play for him, too.
Q. What did you learn from Urban Meyer playing with him in the pro-am at Memorial?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I learned how not to swing a golf club, that's for sure. I never played with Urban, and I had such a great time talking football. I always am careful because I don't want to bombard people with questions about what they do and football because I love football so much.
But he was so open and talking to me about Belichick and his teams and what he was going to do in the future. I can just sense how charismatic the guy was and why guys would love to play for him.
Q. Getting back to the PGA TOUR schedule, do the players relish getting a little bit more time off after this year's playoffs and into September before they really start the grind again?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, I've never been on the tour where we had it. I know we are going to love that. It's such a bonus, because in this long FedExCup season, if you take three or four weeks off, that's a big chunk of points gone or where you could plummet down the list.
To be able to take I think it's three weeks off and know no one is out there getting points, no one is playing, we can take some time off, I think a lot of guys are going to really enjoy that. I know I will.
Q. In the new age of golf and golf fandom, how important is it for a golfer to carry themselves with a little bit more swagger?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, I mean, it's definitely -- even since I came out on the tour the quality of players is just incredible from top to bottom. You got guys like Brooks now who's playing so well who seem to be winning every major, and then you got these younger guys that seems like every year you got a new kid from college coming out that's ready to play and compete in on PGA TOUR.
You got to go out there and be ready to beat these guys. Definitely that can help.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: Any more questions for Keegan? Well, we're going to wrap this up. We really appreciate you being with us here today. Best of luck for the rest of the season. Look forward to seeing you here at Medinah, and you've been a great champion for the BMW Championship and all the best.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Thank you so much, guys, and thanks to BMW for putting on such a great tournament in Medinah. I can't wait to get back there. Thank you.
VINCE PELLEGRINO: Thanks a lot, Keegan.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports