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August 5, 2011

Keegan Bradley


LAURA HILL: We'd like to welcome Keegan Bradley to the interview room. It's your first-ever World Golf Championships event, but you seem to be doing just fine. A nice, tidy, bogey-free round today. Maybe just give us overall comments on your round and your position heading into the weekend.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I played a great round of golf today. It was really fun. It's great to be out here at Firestone in the middle of contention at this tournament. Today was one of the more fun days of my career for sure.

Q. Was that just because of the way you played or something special that went on?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It was really fun to be out there on the leaderboard. I had Luke Donald behind me, Phil Mickelson a few groups behind me. I mean, it's something that I dreamed about since I was two years old. It's kind of happening in front of my eyes, which is a weird feeling to describe. But it's spectacular. I just can't express how much fun I'm having out here.

Q. Does that contribute to your game, do you think?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah. I mean, it's a relaxing -- it's a weird, kind of calming feeling. When you're having fun on the golf course, for some reason you always play a lot better. When you're not having fun, you seem to be shooting some high numbers. But I'm just trying to enjoy what I'm doing out there, and it's just a lot of fun.

Q. Phil has given you some advice and you've played some practice rounds with him. How much has that helped with this week and, per se, the week that you won, the Byron Nelson?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, Phil has really helped me a lot. He's a great guy. I've actually got a pretty good story. On the third hole today, the pin is front right. And Phil, actually I played with him on Wednesday, and he said, come over here and hit this putt. This putt breaks left and it looks like it breaks right. And sure enough, I had this exact putt that he brought me over to. And I said to Pepsi, this is the putt that Phil says goes left, and I putted it left and it went in dead center. It looks like the thing goes to the right. That was pretty cool. I wanted it make it so bad so I could go back and tell him later tonight.

Q. How long was the putt?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It was about 12 feet. But it's amazing, he said, Keegan, come over here, you've got to hit this putt, and sure enough, I had -- it's a putt a lot of guys probably had because of the pin and the water and stuff, but just Phil is just a great guy, and he's helped me out a lot.

Q. What about the advice he gave you before the Byron Nelson?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I actually did one of the things he told me today. I was having some trouble with some late tee times, said I'm just not used to it. He told me to get into a routine of getting to the course early, instead of laying around in your hotel room and getting lethargic and getting to the course early and chipping and putting and getting in the atmosphere, and I did that today actually, and it worked. He seems to know what he's doing.

Q. What did you do today to kill the time and to while away the hours?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, I had a 1:00 tee time. When I've got a late tee time, I try to stay up as late as I can. I try to stay up until at least 11:00.

Q. Wow, you're quite a hell-raiser.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, that's way past my bedtime these days. You're up so early because you've got a morning tee time, so you're so exhausted, so 11:00 seems pretty late. Yeah, I try to stay up as late as I can and I shut my phone off so no one will wake me up, and then I try to sleep until 8:00 or 9:00, which is tough. And Phil said, if you're playing a match with your buddies and they said we have a 2:00 tee time, you wouldn't get there at 1:00, you'd get there at 10:00, practice a little bit and play. That's so true, I would never do that. That's what I've been doing, and it's really been helping.

Q. Despite all of your comments about the virtue of experience here, there's a lot of young players such as yourself on the leaderboard. Do you have any thoughts about that, about guys who haven't a whole lot of experience playing here or don't seem to be affected that Tiger is back in the field, although obviously he has a lot of rust and stuff, not that you can expect him to be dominant coming back?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I just think there's a lot of really good young players on the PGA TOUR right now, and I think it's a byproduct of Tiger. We all grew up watching Tiger play this golf course. I mean, I can remember -- when I'm out there playing, I can remember shots he's hit. I think it's a byproduct of Tiger.
The age group, my age group, I mean, I literally grew up watching him. I think that you're seeing a group of guys that are trying to be like Tiger as much as possible. It's difficult to do, but he's inspired all of us, definitely.

Q. Just to go back to your relationship with Phil, how did that start? How did you connect with Phil? You are kind of in different generations in terms of golf.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Phil, he takes a lot of guys under his wing, I guess you could say, more than people know about. He's always there to help. I played with him in a practice round at THE PLAYERS, and he gave me his phone number and said text me any time. And sure enough, one of the first texts I got after I won at the Nelson was from Phil and Bones, which was pretty cool.
We also share the same agency in terms of representation. But most importantly, I really truly think he's there looking to help. He's a great guy to listen to.
I mean, there's a lot of blind tee shots out there, and I spoke to him a lot about what he's looking at, and he's looking at trees or something, maybe that rookies don't pick up on. And like I said, it's experience that is so helpful to a player like me.

Q. Did you take notes on all that?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Well, my boy Pepsi, my caddie, he's taken notes, but when Phil -- it's funny, when Phil says something to you, you seem to remember it. It was unbelievable when I saw this putt, and I was like, this is the exact putt that Phil -- it's Phil, one of my idols. I'm not going to forget it, that's for sure.

Q. Is there anything that you've told Phil that he didn't know?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: No, probably not. And if I did tell Phil something, he probably would tell me to be quiet. I wouldn't expect to give him any advice. Maybe I can give him some advice on fly fishing. That's about it. Nothing in terms of golf.

Q. First time you texted him, did you sign your name to it?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Actually he did, like I needed to know who it was. But yeah, actually I think I did, and I remember reading it over like ten times to make sure it was all -- I didn't sound like a little kid or something.
Yeah, it's a cool guy to know.

Q. I apologize if you started the press conference with this, but what are you getting out of those occasional Tuesday games with Phil and the four of you tend to float around with different guys, and Fowler played with him at St. Georges, Watney subbed in, DJ seems to be a pretty constant presence. Could you sort of describe what you glean from that and what the mood is like, because it looks like there's a lot of needling and trash talking and good natured ragging?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, Phil likes to talk a little trash out there. But it's fun. I mean, for a player like me to have Phil kind of in your ear is fun, anyway. But it's just kind of a thing that he started. It's funny, I saw an article this morning about it, popped up on my Yahoo(r).com or something, and it talked about his games that he plays on Tuesdays. And I read that he's doing it to try to help us young players in case we play in a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup, and it's intense. It's fun. It's always fun. It's never -- but coming down the last couple holes, it gets a little quiet, and he's starting to call Bones over, take a look at this putt. I mean, he doesn't want to lose to us, that's for sure, just like we'd like to beat him so we can tell all our buddies. All in all, he's there to help, and just a super nice guy.

Q. You guys had a match on Wednesday, right?

Q. I was kind of going to ask you what Phil's prime motivation is, it's not so he can take money off you early in the week then?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I think that he likes to (laughter), preferably. I think he'd prefer to, but I really think Phil enjoys being part of the guys out there and kind of talking some trash to the players as he walks down the range and we're getting ready to go to the match, and I'm warming up, and I'm a little bit nervous. I never get nervous when I'm even playing out here, and it's just a little different feeling. And I hear Phil talking to Butch, and he goes, so these rookies over here have been talking some trash, I hear, and I'm trying to think if I said something to him.
But it's really good. I mean, the last time I played with him at THE PLAYERS, and then I won the next week. So maybe it's a good omen for all of us.

Q. You sound like a kid in a candy store at the moment.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, every week out here on the PGA TOUR for me is so much fun. It's a dream of mine, and I truly enjoy it. To be out there in contention here at Firestone and World Golf Championships, I probably don't really realize what's going on quite yet, but I'm just trying my best to enjoy it because if you start thinking about it, it probably gets you screwed up. I'm just going to keep going.

Q. This is a hard question to ask. I'm trying to think of the right way, because I don't know that you've known the before; you got mostly the after. Tiger Woods of right now, this instant, is it still in the minds of the rookies that have no scar tissue, you've never been stomped on by him on the PGA TOUR or really had much experience with him at all? Do you still look at him the same way and is there still an aura or fear factor with him or does he have to sort of reclaim that before the young guys will look at him the same way as Phil has been forced to look at him all these years because of the overlap?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: It's tough for me to personally say how it would be like to play against Tiger on Sunday. I know when I look at him, he's still Tiger Woods to me. I was sitting in breakfast on Tuesday by myself, and he came and sat down at the table, and it's the first real interaction I've had with him, and it was a little different for me. He's Tiger Woods to all of us still.
I think that what you have is a lot of really good young players coming up that may be ignorant to the whole thing, but if he gets -- when he gets it back, and he's up at that leaderboard, I'm sure he'll have the same impact on the leaderboard. He's a good player, and I'm sure, I'm positive that he'll be back to the way he was.

Q. Firestone is playing a little bit easier this week. Still, you must be doing something right to be where you are. Can you just talk about where you've been, what you've been doing well this week in two days and why you're up there?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, if you hit the fairways out here, you're going to have some mid irons in, which with these soft greens you can throw some darts and they just sit right there. If you are hitting in the rough, the course is going to be a lot tougher, and any time -- length is definitely an advantage out here. And when you're hitting it down there with some length and in the fairway, I think you can attack this place.
Like I've said before, the greens are so good that if you get one up there and you put one on line, it's going to go in. I think the reason why it's playing a little easier is the greens are softer. And if you hit the fairways -- if you play well, if you hit the ball well, you're most likely going to score because the course is very rewarding right now.

Q. Are you driving it well, hitting it close, making putts? What are you doing?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I'm driving it very well. And it's funny, the few times that I've hit a bad shot, I've actually got a little lucky.
The worst shot of the week was today on 9; I kind of -- I walk up to the tee, and there's a few cameras, and I kind of thought where I was, and I hit this kind of hook off the tee. And I get down there and it's in the 10th fairway, and I'm actually fine. So I mean, it's just the type of thing that happens. If it's four feet to the right, I'm in the rough, going to at least maybe bogey. So I got lucky on that one bad shot.
But if you hit it in the rough, I'm sure it's difficult, but I'm hitting a lot of fairways for sure, and I'm missing my shots in the right spot where I can get it up-and-down.

Q. If this was your Tuesday/Wednesday practice day with Phil and he showed up wearing pink pants like he did today, what would you guys be saying?
KEEGAN BRADLEY: I don't think he'd show up on Tuesday or Wednesday if he's playing in that game with us with pink pants on. Yeah, I don't think he would do that. But I heard when he was walking down the range, I was walking up, and I heard a couple guys at least say something to him. But Phil can take it better than anybody because he has to take it because he can dish it as well as anybody, too.
LAURA HILL: Keegan, pleasure. Have a good weekend. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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