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MASTERS TOURNAMENT


April 3, 2012


Keegan Bradley


AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

TOM NELSON:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  We are pleased to welcome Keegan Bradley to the interview room.  Keegan is making his Masters debut this week, and as you'll recall, he won the Byron Nelson last summer, as well as the PGA Championship in Atlanta in dramatic fashion in a playoff.
Before we open it up to questions, first of all, Keegan, congratulations on being here.  Would you tell us how it feels playing in your first Masters.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:¬† Yeah, it's already been a special week.¬† Every time I get the okay to come down Magnolia Lane, it's a great feeling.¬† So I really am having a great time, and it's good to see‑‑ first time I've seen the course with people on it was today.¬† So it brought back a lot of memories of watching it on TV.

Q.  Have you ever been able to, in your limited experience here so far, practice rounds, on the putting green, have you been able to tell what type of putts here are going to be helped the most by using the belly putter, anything of any particular length or break or speed?  How is that going to translate into helping you putt well here?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, I don't think that the belly putter will help me in any particular putt.  For me personally, I putt better with the belly putter.  But out here, I don't think there's one putt or break in the green that it's really going to be an advantage for me.

Q.  What putts are you making now that you weren't with conventional putters?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I always felt that I was a good putter before, and I felt like the belly putter just made me a better putter.  It just felt more comfortable to me but I know other players don't feel as comfortable with the belly putter.  I wouldn't say there's putts I'm making more of; it's just personally, I feel comfortable over it.

Q.  Between the PGA and East Lake, you admitted it got a little overwhelming after winning the PGA with everything that was going on.  In a new year, did you seek anybody's advice about how to handle everything, and did you make any changes?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, I talk to a lot of veterans all the time about stuff, especially Phil Mickelson.  He's helped me out a lot.  I've just been able to manage my time a little better Monday through Wednesday.  I'm also a lot more comfortable out here on Tour at each event.  It's my second time around.  Just talking to the veterans, they have really outlined what I need to:  be very specific with your time and efficient, and it's been a big help this year.

Q.  A question I've been getting a lot since August, how is it that St. John's, such an urban school, produces good golfers, not just you on Tour but a lot of local amateurs.  How does that work?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, it's a pretty cool thing.  Andrew Svoboda plays on the Nationwide Tour and he's had a second already  this year.
I think it just breeds good players by the courses we play a lot in New York.  We play a lot on Long Island.  It's a specific type of player that goes to St. John's, maybe a guy that got overlooked, has a little chip on his shoulder maybe and wants to do well and work hard.
I think that's the reason why these guys have done well, is it's almost a mentality, living in areas like Queens and areas like that.  It becomes part of you.  That's why people are just very hard workers and want to succeed, and I think that's why everyone is playing so well.

Q.  You've had a chance to play with Phil.  Have you had a chance to talk to Jack Nicklaus at all?  And what have you been able to glean from them to try to put into practice this week?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I talked to Jack a little bit at The Bear's Club.  I've spoken and played a lot more with Phil.  There's not one thing that I can point out that Phil has helped me on.  It's one or two things per hole really.
Just being out here with Phil is inspiration and makes me want to win this tournament, just by the way he carries himself around here.  You can just tell once he comes in here, he's a champion and he deserves to be treated like one.  And it's just inspiration for me to hopefully get to that level.

Q.  From years of watching on TV, is there a particular shot, a tee shot that you are dying to take, once you got a chance to play this course?  And are there some holes out there that you are looking forward to playing because they set up well or you see the holes well?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, I think every shot on the back side is kind of memorable.  Especially 12, the tee shot on 12 and the tee shot on 13 is the one I looked forward to the most when I first came here.
I think that the backside really suits me well from tee‑to‑green.¬† Every single shot, I can hit a little draw, which is what I like to hit.¬† Even on 11, the dogleg right, I can hit it up the right with a little draw and it's actually a better play.
So I think the backside just fits my eye very, very well.  Especially the par 5s.  You've got to hit little draws in there.  Once you walk over that hill on 11, it kind of rejuvenates you and gets you excited to keep going.

Q.  Playing with Phil and talking to Jack, did you feel like not having played in the Tournament before you came here, there was a strategy of what you wanted to do based on what they were suggesting or helping you with?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, I found myself just kind of watching Phil, what he was doing kind of off to the side, just seeing how he prepared for this tournament.  Like I said, it was inspiration to see a guy who is so successful, has won the Tournament three times, four majors, seems like hundreds of wins.  He's preparing so hard for this tournament that he's won three times.
It just shows how hard you have to work to win this tournament or any tournament.  Phil has told me where to hit some shots, where to miss some shots, what pins to go at, what pins not to go at.

Q.¬† As a first‑timer coming here, what is your mind‑set coming in?¬† Phil can give you hints and things, but really on a course like this, the experience counts so much.¬† So how do you approach going in there the first time?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Well, I'm pretty used to going into these tournaments as a first timer.  All last year I did it, and this year I've had to do it a bunch, too.  And there's only so much advice I can take.  People tell me to go at this pin, but if I'm in a bad position, I can't.  So it's going to be a lot of learning as you go.
And sometimes when you don't realize that if you miss this pin two feet to the left, you're going to make bogey, you can go right at it and hit a great shot.  I think sometimes it helps to your advantage.  I think last year at the PGA, it helped me that it was my first major and I didn't really know what was going on and I was just able to play my game.  I think in a weird way, it sometimes helps you.  But certainly experience is something I'm giving up at this tournament.

Q.  Going back to L.A., you've been in contention pretty much your last four tournaments.  Has that been easier than you expected?  Because guys say they just want to put themselves in position to win.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, my biggest goal to start the year was to be in contention every time I played pretty much.  That was what I wanted to do better.  And for me personally, I'm having so much more fun when I'm in contention, and I enjoy myself a lot more out there.  And last week, I got to play with Phil on Sunday and I think it's just been a great preparation to come into this tournament.
And the fact that I've been in contention means that I'm playing good golf, which is good, too.

Q.  Seems like you've been able to move on, because you haven't closed, but you played well enough in L.A. to do that.  Are you good at just putting it behind you and moving on?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, I'm lucky to love my job and love every week that I go to a new course, I'm just as excited for the last one.  So it's so easy to put a playoff loss like Riviera behind me.  I have so many PGA TOUR events to play in.  It's been my goal since I was a little kid to play out here.  It's exciting for me to play every week, and to come to a tournament like this just rejuvenates you.

Q.  Besides the Tournament and the place and the grounds, what struck you the most about this environment?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I couldn't believe how green it was, to be honest with you.  It's everything that I thought it was and a lot more.  I've never been to a place that's exceeded the expectations by so much.
When you walk on the 11th fairway and you see 12 and 13, it's shocking, first time.  And I just think that everything that people say about it is true.  It's got a magical feel to it almost, and that's the part of it that I think you need to put aside when you're playing the Tournament.  That's why I've come here so many times and played with players like Phil and just be comfortable getting ready to play a golf tournament and not put too much pressure on myself.

Q.  I know your aunt has given you a ton of advice since you were able to walk.  Is there anything she might have stored up, waiting for you to win the first couple of tournaments or the first big one?  Has she come back to you since the PGA and said, now that you know how this feels, here are some things you need to focus on from here on out, the experience that she has and winning all that she has?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah, Pat has been a huge influence on me.  Some of my earliest golf memories are watching her play inside the ropes.  She's always giving me advice, always.  It's cool.  I can talk to Pat, she can understand what I'm going through.  She knows what it's like to be at a major and have your whole family in town and figuring out what to do with practice schedules.
So it's been fun to relate to her about that.  She's got advice for me every day, and I'm lucky enough to have someone else in my family that's been able to give that to me.

Q.  Have you ever able to get her to use a belly putter or long putter?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I think she's too good of a putter to switch, but maybe I'll try it next time.

Q.  History says that it's really hard for a first timer to win this tournament, but yet, some people are throwing your name out as someone that could maybe do it.  Would that surprise you if Sunday night you're winning, or, based on the way you've been playing, are you sort of expecting to be in the mix?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Well, I've won every major I've ever played in.  (Laughter) So I don't think it's that hard to be honest.  (Laughter).
I know how hard it's going to be to win this week.  But you know, I know Fuzzy Zoeller did it.  I know I'm sure going to try.  I know that this course suits me better than any on Tour, I just love it.
The key is to not put too much pressure on myself.  I realize that a guy like Tiger or Phil, I just heard that Tiger has played in this tournament 18 times, so he's played in this tournament not that much less times than I've been alive.  It's part of it that I'm giving up.
But like I said, I think there's a bit of first‑time ignorance almost; that you don't know, you just go out and play the course and I think that can help sometimes.
TOM NELSON:  Keegan, we wish you all the best here on your Masters debut.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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