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December 11, 2011

Keegan Bradley

Brendan Steele


DAVE SENKO:¬† Keegan and Brendan, thanks for joining us and congratulations.¬† 32‑under for the tournament, including 13‑under today.
Maybe just your thoughts on pulling away like you did.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, we played well.  We got off to a slow start, kind of like we did all three days, but we played this last stretch of holes really well.
We had some good chemistry going on out there.  I personally love playing in team events, so I really enjoyed it out there with Steeley.  Steeley played really good golf today.  I mean, it was awesome.
So it was just a fun day of golf.  We happened to shoot some really low scores for three days.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Just a fun team effort for three days.  A lot of good shots coming both ways, and we had so much fun that it made it a lot easier for us.
I think it's easier than a normal week because we having such a good time and have such good chemistry out there.
DAVE SENKO:  Questions.  Please use the microphone.

Q.  You said personally you love 'em.  This is your first one though, right?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:¬† Yeah.¬† I mean, I guess I should say I love playing with partners, playing matches.¬† We've played a bunch of matches against Phil together, and, you know, I just think that it's really fun to‑‑ you don't get a team atmosphere in golf that much.
Today in a scramble it's truly a team thing.  I mean, we're talking about every shot, reading every putt for each other.  It's just fun.  It's a good change of pace.

Q.  What's your reported against Phil?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  What are we?  We tied one.  I think we tied and we lost.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  So not bad.

Q.  Who did he play with?  Who was his partner?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Jeff Overton.

Q.  Brendan, talk about the eagle on 14 that kind of put some distance between you guys and everybody else.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, that was nice.  That was a bonus.  I hit a pretty good tee shot there, and I wasn't even able if get home.  It was still a long ways.
Keegan hits it so far that he was able to hit 3‑wood up there.¬† We were kind of in between which shot we were going to take, and we kind of both said to each other, You can make the one that's over closer and the other one is a little easier shot.
We went for the one that we could make, and lo and behold it went in.

Q.  What was the pace on that one?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Well, I got to see Keegan's first, so that was good.  It was actually a little bit slower than we thought it was going to be.  We thought it was just going to kind of race by, and he hit a really good putt and it went about four feet short.
I asked him how far short it was.  I didn't even walk up there after that.  I just asked him how far short it was, and he said, About four feet.  I said, All right.
So just lucky.

Q.  You hit a lot of really fine short game shots today.  You obviously both played great throughout the week, but talk about the extra push you got from Brendan in the short game today?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:¬† Yeah, Steeley played so well.¬† The shot that sticks out in my mind was 15.¬† I mean, I hit a good drive down there‑ so did he, but mine was just a couple yards further.¬† I thought I hit a decent shot in there and it came up way short.
Steeley hit one in there to about two and a half feet, and that was kind of where we couldn't really screw it up from there.  That shot was just spectacular.  Tough shot.  It was awesome.

Q.  Club and yardage?
BRENDAN STEELE:¬† It was 9‑iron.¬† It was 135 yards and back into the wind, so we figured it was playing about 145.¬† I could pick my wife out, Anastasia, in the background, and I aimed it right at her.¬† Just turned right off her to about two feet.

Q.  Not really normally allowed to aim golf balls at your wife.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Not normally.

Q.¬† You guys were close to the tournament record for Tibur√≥n.¬† It was 33‑under for all‑time.¬† Any awareness of that and try to put a final birdie on to match the record?
BRENDAN STEELE:  No, we had no idea.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  We had no idea, but I can tell you that we wanted it for sure.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Definitely.

Q.  And then marking the ball at the end, did you think about marking it?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I told Steeley to mark it.  I don't think he heard me.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Oh, I though you said, Just do it.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I wanted him to mark it and milk it a little bit, but it doesn't matter.  It was fun.
BRENDAN STEELE:  We're rookies.  What can we say?  We got a couple wins under our belt, but we're trying to learn.  (Laughter.)

Q.  The whole day you guys never gave up the lead.  There was a few times where other teams would tie your score, and then you would birdie the hole to maintain the lead.  You're aware of the fact that the whole time you never really opened the door for someone to come and pass you?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, those guys tied us, but they were so far ahead of us that it really didn't matter that much.  I mean, we figured if we birdied every hole we would be tough to catch.
We only made two pars on the ‑‑ well, we parred 18, so we made a few pars on the back with an eagle.
I was looking at the board.  Were you?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, I was looking at the board.  It seems a little bit closer than it is I think.  Because when we see the board on 13 and other guys are through 16, well, they may be one or two back, but they're one or two back and three holes ahead.
So really a little bit farther back.  But when you look at it, it looks like everybody is close.  Seems like everybody is within two shots.
Definitely if you make a mistake guys catch you pretty quick in this format.

Q.¬† Birdies on 8 and 9 were key to go from a one‑shot lead on Nick and Mark to three?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, those were big.  The 9th hole was really big birdie, because I had hit a decent putt that kind of broke a little bit more than I thought.  Steeley made that really good putt on nine.
I think the birdie that was really big was 11.  We made par an 10 from just off the green.  That was pretty bad.
And then we made a really good birdie from out of the shells on 11.  I think that was the biggest birdie of the day because it kind of got us rolling again.

Q.  Just to back up, the birdie on 8, do you remember how far the putt was?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:¬† The putt was‑‑¬† Steeley made ‑‑ what did you make, a ten‑footer?
BRENDAN STEELE:  Yeah, something like that.  It was Keegan's shot in there, and he hit it a really good putt.  Just hit it a little firm and lipped out, so I got a good read on it and, yeah, was able to knock it in.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Then Steeley hit driver down there.  I hit wedge to about five feet, and Steeley made it.

Q.  And 11?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  That was all Steeley.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Keegan hit it in the bunker.  I hit it in the shells first, and then he hit it in the bunker.  We played it off the shells, and I hit it to about 15 feet under the hole and made it.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:¬† I only putted ‑‑ we thought about it ‑‑ I only putted from on the green twice on the back, which was pretty awesome.¬† He made everything.¬† Pretty much on the green he was making everything.¬† He was putting first and making everything.

Q.¬† Keegan, between this and winning the grand slam a little while ago, Freddy is slowing down.¬† Seems to be room for a new king of the made‑for‑TV season.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I would love to take over for Freddy for that.  I just enjoy these events a lot.  They're fun and it's kind of like a bonus to be there.  It's cool to be in that group of guys at these events.
This event playing with Steeley was awesome.  I think we'll be playing here for a long time.

Q.  You do get the invitation back as defending champions, so you can mark that on your calendar.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, definitely.
BRENDAN STEELE: ¬†Yeah, you won't have to twist our arm for that.¬† We had a great week here.¬† It's the most fun I've had all year by far.¬† Every day from the pro‑am all the way through was all fun.

Q.  John Curran is your caddie; is that right?

Q.  And 10% of a win?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, he's back there.  He's my roommate in Jupiter.  Plays on the Hooters Tour.  He's a pro.  Very, very good player.
As everybody knows, it's tough to play out there.  It costs a lot of money.  So I'm sure that this check is going to help a lot.
I was more nervous for him than I was the whole day.  I knew how much this check was going to mean to him.  That's what I was thinking about that whole back nine.
I mean, it's just great that we get the win and he gets that nice little 10%.

Q.  Brendan, did you get a look at this riffraff that he hangs around with, and are you going to get looped into the group there over in Jupiter?
BRENDAN STEELE:  I don't know that we'll be moving to Jupiter any time soon, but definitely could spend some time there.
It seems like a pretty fun crowd, so definitely would like to do that.

Q.¬† Rookies or even second‑ or third‑year guys don't often get invitations that this type of event.¬† The fact that you got in, bring a little fresh blood to the whole thing, what do you go back and tell the next group of Nationwide guys that comes up?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:¬† I mean, I think they should be inspired by what they've seen come out of the whole rookie class this year.¬† I don't know even how many wins we've had this year coming off Nationwide and Q‑School.¬† We had a major and like six other wins.
It should really inspire them and show them that they're not that far away.  I always liked it when I saw guys on Nationwide, because I played three year of Nationwide.
Whenever they would come up and play well on the big tour, I would go, Okay, well, I've played with him.  I know how he plays.  I know I can stay with him.  If he can do it out there, so can I.
So I think they can take a lot from it.

Q.  You guys have said you talked about this for quite a while.  You said you weren't going to goof off this week.  How does it feel to come through and win it?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, I saw Steeley at Chevron, I guess that was last week, and we were talking about how excited we were to play.  Couple of the reporters overheard us and were kind of surprised at how serious where were about the event.
That's just kind of how me and Steeley are, I think.  We're not going to come to an event just to mess around.  We were very serious all week.
Today part of our game plan was I was going to tee off second, but whoever hit the shot in was going to go first.¬† I felt like that was‑‑ actually John came up with that, our caddie.¬† It really kept a good rhythm to our group.¬† It wasn't like I was going second each time or he was going first.
I think it was a huge part of it.

Q.  Keegan, obviously folks have gotten to know you from the PGA win.  Brendan, for people that don't know you as well, talk about the short game element, how much do you rely on that?  And just the victory this year in your rookie season, what's your confidence level look forward?
BRENDAN STEELE:  My confidence level is pretty high.  I actually finished off the season with some good events, too.  It was good just to get some other good finishes around the win, because you don't want to just have the win and be leaning on that and not have played well anywhere else.
I played well at the PGA for three days at least, then had some good events.  One really good event at Deutsche Bank, and played well in a couple of the fall finish events.
I don't usually rely on my short game very much.  It's usually the weakest part of my game.  Worked on it a decent amount this week, and Nick, my caddie, is always helping me with it.
He's got a lot of good technique and some shots that I don't have, so he can teach those to me.  It seemed to work this week.

Q.  Goals and expectations for 2012, guys?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I mean, we all want to contend and try to win every tournament we play in and climb in the world ranking.  There is so much room for me and Steeley to improve or game, but also in contending in more tournaments, getting up in that world ranking.
Just fun things can only happen from playing good golf.  I know me and Steeley are just looking to win more tournaments.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Definitely into contention.  I think he's right on point there.  You can't always control what other guys do and whether you can actually win the tournament, but you can get yourself there.
The more you get yourself there, the more times it's going to turn out the way you want it to.  That's definitely the goal.
If we can get into the final few groups, five, seven, ten times next year, then I like our chances.

Q.  The expectation raises when you win, particularly with you, Keegan, having the major.  Is it going to be difficult to not put too much pressure on yourself following up a good year with another?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, definitely that's the thing that me and Steeley will have to fight the most, is putting too much pressure on ourselves to play well.
That's something you kind of have to go through and experience.  It's easy to say not to do that, but you physically have to do it.  I know I put a little extra pressure on myself at the end of this year to try to make that Presidents Cup team.
I didn't play my best golf, and I'll try to learn from that and play better golf next year.

Q.  You're in good shape on the Ryder Cup list, though, right?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah.  I truly hope to be on that team and play for Captain Davis Love and be on that team with those boys in Chicago.

Q.¬† Would be remiss if I didn't ask you about Tiger.¬† Just thoughts on the large number of first‑time winners this year and last year both.¬† Obviously everyone talks about the level of talent that is coming on TOUR.¬† Do you feel like you're two of the guys that have been able to step into some of the void that Tiger's sort of struggles in the last couple years have opened the door a little for others to step up?
BRENDAN STEELE:  It's opened the door a little bit in some of the bigger events, because he doesn't play a lot of the events that the rookies got wins in.
He wouldn't be playing Valero or Byron Nelson.  I know Kirky won Viking and Greenbrier.  Those are some of the events, kind of the regular tour events, if you will.
But I think that there is just a really good proving ground with the nationwide Tour.  The guys get ready faster.  Once they get out here, there is not as much of a learning curve.  I think that's what you're seeing more as a result.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, I think it's really good to have Tiger back and contending.  I was lucky enough to play with him last week in a practice round, and he was hitting the ball as good as I've ever seen a person hit it.
I think it's really good for both me and Steeley.  I know personally I want to play against Tiger on the PGA TOUR.  That's what we grew up watching.
Until you really do that, you haven't proved‑‑ I mean, personally for me, I want to go up against him and play just like anybody else would, because he's the man.¬† I look forward to a 2012 season with Tiger playing well and healthy for sure.
BRENDAN STEELE:  Definitely going to make it a lot of fun for the players, for the fans.  I mean, it changes a tournament when he's there.  It's got a different feel.  We both get really excited when we see him out there.  It's a lot of fun.  He definitely seems like he's healthy and can practice now and is really rounding into form.
It's exciting for us.  Happy to be a part of it.  It's good for the game.
DAVE SENKO:  Thanks, guys.

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