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May 29, 2011

Keegan Bradley


THE MODERATOR: We welcome our 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship winner, Keegan Bradley to the interview room. Has it sunk in?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It honestly hasn't. I'm sitting here. I still don't know what happened since I made that last putt on the 18th. I lost my caddy -- oh, he's right here. But it's an unbelievable feeling, and it's only going to get better.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about the day. You played with Jordan Spieth, and you had a great following around you all afternoon. Talk about how the day unfolded and your game.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, Jordan is a spectacular player. He had a lot of pressure out there. He had a lot of spectators. Pepsi and I knew, on the 10th hole, he hit one to about 6 feet and there was a huge ovation, and I hit mine to about 2 inches, and there was two claps, and we're thinking did it go long, is it short? So he had a lot of pressure out there.
He played spectacularly. I couldn't imagine myself in high school contending out here like he is, so he's a great player and he's only going to get better.
THE MODERATOR: Did that take the attention off your game?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah. It was definitely different. This is a smaller version of playing with Tiger or Phil, but their fans are so loyal to him, and he has loyal fans, and it was actually a little bit relieving and he was a great kid -- couldn't have had a better pairing, so it worked out perfect.

Q. You were pretty steady the whole day. Can you talk about coming down the stretch and realizing what was at stake?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I tried to not look at leaderboards. I kinda knew where I stood, somehow. There are so many leaderboards out here that it's tough not to accidentally see one. I saw that I was in second and I didn't know what the lead was but 17 and 18 are playing so difficult that I knew if I could just make some pars, I would be tough to beat.
It was definitely an interesting hour out there. Wind started to pick up, but I got a great caddy in Pepsi, who has a new Cadillac now, and he's won out here, so we make a great team, and he helped me out a lot.

Q. Can you take us through the playoff hole, the drive and then your thought process through the second shot?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, it all started -- I was on the putting green and people were telling me that there has only been one birdie on the 18, and I'm going "Don't even tell me"! I knew once that happened he was going to make birdie and to make birdie on 18 to force a playoff is spectacular, Ryan played great.
It started there. I was nervous, and that hole is so tough to hit the fairway there, and I kinda wiped it over to the right a little bit. Then I really hit the shot of my life. I hit about a 50-yard hook around the trees onto the green, and if it goes two inches more to the left it's on the water. That's how it works, and I got a lucky break I guess.

Q. How does it feel to win the Byron Nelson, being a rookie on the PGA TOUR, and how were you able to gain momentum in the playoff round?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Winning at all out here is so difficult. It really hasn't hit me yet. I'm sitting here in front of you guys. That's the start of it, but I'm -- I'm speechless, and I'm so proud of the way I played and I'm so proud to win Byron Nelson's tournament. That's an amazing thing for me.
I grew up idolizing Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson a lot, and I know a lot of history about the both of them, and to win his championship, his trophy, to see Peggy Nelson out there on the green, it's an unbelievable feeling, and it's surreal.

Q. Any chance you've heard from Pat, text message or anything? And how much have you guys talked about golf at the highest level and what she has accomplished and what you hope to accomplish?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: My cell phone is sitting right here, I haven't turned it on yet, but I'm sure once I do that thing will be going crazy. No question I'll talk to Pat tonight. She is a lot calmer on the golf course than she is watching me. I'm sure she was by the TV going crazy, my uncles and aunts, my mom, dad. I talk to her regularly through text messages and phone calls about tournaments and what it's like to come down near the end.
This is the closest thing we ever have had in common in terms of playing. She is going to be thrilled, and I'm guaranteed to have at least a couple text messages, probably tons, and probably a couple of voice mails, so it's going to be fun to catch up.

Q. Have you talked to her at all this weekend? Will there be any cow bells?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: The cow bell is in the Hall of Fame and I was walking up 18 after Ryan hit it in the water and it crossed my mind that I could win this tournament, first time really all day. I was thinking about that cow bell, and I started to get emotional. It was like, pull it together, don't start thinking about the cow bell, because the cow bell in my family is an iconic thing, and it's in the Hall of Fame, so we might have to take it out.
My mom has started her own tradition. But I did speak to Pat a bunch this week, and it's just fun to talk to her. We can relate without saying that much and she can say something to me that's right on. We've spoken a lot.

Q. You talked a little bit about that being the shot of your life from over there on the right rough. Looked like they moved the lemonade stand to create a little bit of room. Talk about how you executed that and what happened over there in terms of clearing a runway for you. How low did you have to keep it?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I had 163 to the hole, I had a tree in front of me that I had to keep it under, I had a big tree further than that, and an even bigger tree to the right, so I had to hit a low hook. And I was thinking worst case I hit it to the right, and do anything but hit it in the water, and I can get it up and down from there.
I struck it perfectly. As soon as I hit it I could feel that it was good. I couldn't see anything because the crowd ran across but I -- as soon as I hit it I felt it, I thought, man, I can't hit it any better, and I ran out and then I see it coming down sideways, and I was thinking for a split second I was like, that thing could go in the water, and it sat right there. Two inches to the left it goes in the water, so it was a good break but also a good shot.

Q. What club?

Q. Could you talk about flying under the radar? You played with Jordan, and a few shots back going into the weekend, was that any kind of advantage for you? Do you like playing like that?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: That's been kind of my role my whole career, I flew under the radar. I grew up in Vermont. I didn't get many looks for college, even though I felt like I was winning my whole career, even in college I won a bunch of times at St. John's University in New York, I didn't get much credit. It's kinda been my thing my whole career. I was in a great spot today. I knew I was in a great spot -- once I made the turn at 1-under, I figured I'm in a good spot if I can continue to hit good shots, which I really did, and I made some really big putts comin' down the end.
Going under the radar is kinda my thing. I hope to someday not go under the radar, but I'm fine with it.

Q. What was the wait like for you, first, second, third, not knowing where you're going to be? What were you doing during that time?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I got done, and I went over to the range and there is a little room there with a TV. I start watching TV with Pepsi, and I thought, I gotta get out of here, I can't watch this. I went out and sat under the shade under a tree on the range, and I'm getting updates, and he made bogey, and I started hitting wedge shots and trying to stay loose.
It's 100 degrees outside. You don't really need to warm up again, but it was terrifying to be honest with you. In the back of my mind I'm like, just don't go into a playoff, just let me win this thing, let me sneak it out, but it happened, and Pepsi kept reminding me you've got to keep thinking he's going to make birdie.
And it was funny, I was really, really nervous and then when he made the birdie, I calmed way down. I don't know what that was or what happened but as soon as I heard the roar of him making that birdie, I felt my heartbeat slow down, I calmed down, which I don't know why but it probably was, I got to go back out there and play.

Q. Keegan, you're used to winning, a lot of people may not realize that, but you're used to winning a lot. Did you set goals when you started this rookie year? If so, what were the goals like for you? Was winning one of the goals? I know you just finished, but can you see yourself changing the schedule at all now as you move up in the number list?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I did set goals and winning was one of 'em. There is a bunch of other things I would like to do.
Every rookie would like to win Rookie of the Year, everybody wants to play well in Majors. I've never played in one. I'm going to get to play in the PGA now, which is unbelievable. My schedule might change a little bit because of those tournaments but as of right now I haven't thought about that.
It only can change for the better now. I can't tell you what it's like for a rookie to have to think about reshuffle -- these are the things that people don't know that goes on, and the reshuffle and then keeping your card and am I going to get to THE PLAYERS. It's tough. Now a two-year exemption I can't tell you what that means to me.

Q. Can you talk about what it was like coming in here?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I qualified for THE PLAYERS, and I get to play with Phil Mickelson on Monday of THE PLAYERS. He taught me a lot. I played really well at THE PLAYERS. It's a tough spot to be a rookie at THE PLAYERS. And I made the cut and finished near the end, but it was a great week, and I had this off week, which I really needed.
I took last week off. And Pepsi, my caddy -- I was going to play Colonial and take this week off. Pepsi, God bless him, he said, "I really think this course fits you better." I don't know what he knew but he was right. Thank God I took last week off.

Q. As you were going into the sudden death playoff did you think, oh, gosh, this is just like THE PLAYERS between Tom and K.J. Choi?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I often wonder why guys don't go to the range and warm up, instead of watching TV, and I did remember some things from watching that, that I didn't want to sit around and tense up and watch these guys come down near the end. It is cool to win in a playoff.
I don't know what my record is in playoffs in terms of my whole life, but I'm 1-0 on the PGA TOUR which is all that I care about now.

Q. You said that throughout your life you felt like you haven't been given enough credit. How does it feel being the underdog and coming out on top?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It's great. There are guys that are supposed to be good, they're always good, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, guys like this have been good their whole lives and not gone under the radar, and that's good, too, but it's rewarding to get out here when I wasn't getting invites to things as an amateur or Junior that I thought I should have, and some of those guys aren't here, which is kind of a good feeling. I would be lying if I said it wasn't. It's great to be the underdog and come out on top, for sure.

Q. Is there anything about the weather conditions that brings out the best in your game?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, coming from New England, we play in some pretty nasty stuff. I can remember growing up playing in snow. I remember growing up in Woodstock, there came a point in the year where the golf ball you played didn't matter. You could play Top Flight, Srixon, Pinnacle, doesn't matter and I kept as many balls as I could in my pocket, and this was when I was 15 years old, and hitting as many as I could.
You go out here, and this is tough for anybody, but I seem to have played some really good rounds in the wind this year. I just switched golf balls to the Srixon Z-Star and that slices through the wind. It a great ball, and I just seem to have been playing well in this wind, and staying patient is the biggest thing.

Q. Can you give us your caddy's given name?
THE MODERATOR: Keegan, thank you. Congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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