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April 25, 2012

Keegan Bradley


COLIN MURRAY: Keegan, thanks for joining us here in the Interview Room at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Couple of close calls this year with playoff runner up finish at Northern Trust then a T-4 a couple weeks ago at Houston.  Just start off talking a little bit about your year to date and we'll go from there and talk about this week and then open it up to questions.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  New Orleans is one of my favorite events of the year.  I absolutely coming here, I love the golf course, I love the people.  It's a first class event so it's -- I'm so glad to be here and with Zurich, and it's a week I look forward to start the year.
COLIN MURRAY:  First start since a T-27 at the Masters.  Just talk about where your game is right now and expectations for the week.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  My game is in a very good place.  Once again, I will you ever the golf course so I really look forward to playing this weekend, this week and I feel very good and the course is in as good a shape as it could possibly imagine so I know all the players are very excited.
COLIN MURRAY:  Thank you.  Go ahead and open it up for questions.

Q.  Keegan, can you just go through the steps in your career that got you to the PGA Championship, what were the key elements of getting there?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  You know, it started out, it started at St. John's and kind of got passed over a little bit.  I've always been playing with a clip on my shoulder.
I was able to luckily play a year on the Hooters Tour where at one point I was down to $1,200 in my bank account.  I ended up winning that week and I think that that was the start of the PGA Championship.
I kind of from then -- from there forward I've really been improving and playing better and I'm work withing Jim McLean and Rotella and people that help me, too.

Q.  Working with Rotella, I mean I kind of know what he tells me but what is the most important things he's told you?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  You know, just the fact of not try too hard out on the golf course.  You know, try less and just be more relaxed.
I think, you know, a lot of rookies, lot of guys first come out, they try to force playing well than to just relax and let it happen and that's been kind of our goal, me and Rotella to do that more than go out there and try to press it.

Q.  Been very consistent this year, no missed cuts, T-27th your worse.  What's behind the consistency of the play?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I think that it has a lot to do with it being my second year on Tour, knowing the courses and the cities but also me and Jim McLean took a hard look at my stats and decided the short game will be much better, especially my bunker play and my chipping, and we focused on that in the off-season and I turned those two areas into one of my strengths which is the reason why I think I've been contending every -- almost every week.

Q.  This second go round on the Tour schedule, how have you adapted, where you play, how you're prepared, second go round, do you feel like it's helped you this year?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  It's helped me a lot just knowing what to expect every week:  Skipping a few tournaments here and there, getting a little more rest, but, most of all, knowing what's coming and knowing what the course is like here in New Orleans, know where I'm staying, know where to go eat dinner, stuff like that.
Little stuff you think would be silly but really helps a second year guy.  I think all that stuff combined is what's been a big help this year.

Q.  Point about St. John's, maybe a minor parallel, your colleague career was not necessarily very high profile and went through mini tours to get to this point.
Do you kind of see any parallels having the early stretch of your career that maybe you were not as respected in '04 as are you now?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah.  I've always kind of been a player that's been underlooked my whole career.  I actually had a pretty good college career at St. John's.  I just never seemed to get any credit which seemed to -- I'm glad it happened, I'm glad that kind of was my path but, you know, now I'm starting to prove that I can play out here and it's really fun to feel like you're a part of the PGA TOUR and one of the better players out here, and it's a lifelong dream.

Q.  On this golf course, a lot of the grass around the green is kind of grainy in those swales, in those low cut areas.
How comfortable do you feel around there and what's kind of your game plan for that and does that remind you of any other course?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah.  I hope to hit every green that I play this week because those -- around the greens it's so severely into the grain.  I've never seen anything like it.
But, you know, it's a very specific technique and I think you know, I live in up in Jupiter, Florida.  We got a lot of into the grain chips.
It's definitely something you need to be aware of if you need -- you need to grip it a little tighter and just be forceful through that into the grain chips and hopefully you get into around the hole and make some putts because it is difficult to chip around here.

Q.  Bubba is going through it right now, he's coming back from winning that Major.  What did you do, what kind of advice was important you were given when you camp back from winning the PGA, dealing with all the attention, demands and all that kind stuff?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  It's very different.  I don't envy him in that aspect.  I envy the Green Jacket that he has.  But it's something that you just have to get through, basically because it is a lot.
Even if you have an off week like he had, it's still probably even crazy serious than if you were at a tournament because you're doing stuff, media, your friends are calling, your family is calling and it's a very hectic time and I know he's handling it very well.
I remember back to what I was doing and it always happened so fast and it felt like time was going in double the rate.  So, you know, it is very important to get your alone time and prepare for a tournament.

Q.  How long would you say it keeps a guy down?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  It took awhile.  Especially for Bubba being already a high profile player, I think that it's going -- might last a little longer.
Bubba seems to really enjoy it which is what you need to be able to do.  Most importantly is get you back into your routines and when you're going to the tournament and at the tournament because that's the kind of stuff that can change with more requests.

       Q.  The putting greens here, see some parallels between here and Sawgrass?  Do you A, agree with that and do you see that, B kind of courses set-up for others and does that help as you get down the schedule?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  This grass down here is so grainy.  I don't think it's quite like Sawgrass but it is nice to play on bermuda grass, you know, going into the next couple of weeks is basically all bermuda, even into the Nelson.
So, it is cool how they do it and I know that people really love where this tournament is placed in the schedule and I hope it doesn't change.

Q.  When you enter an event do you ever handicap the field and I need to get past these guys or it's more about your game and the course you're playing?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I've never done that but I do think about the golf course, think about specific holes and specific shots that I need to hit.
But I never look at a specific player.  If a guy like Phil or Tiger or, you know, those guys are in the field, you definitely kind of seen what they're doing and stuff like that but, you know, when I come to a tournament I'm trying my very best to focus on myself because I got enough to worry about than to think about other players.

Q.  Did you watch the finish of the Masters in the clubhouse or were you -- where were you --
       KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I wasn't able to watch the playoff.  I was flying home.  Unfortunately, I was teeing off way too early to be able to watch it.  I got to see some the highlights.  It was very impressive play by both players.  I thought that they both played great and they both could have won but it's cool to see an American win another Major which is a cool thing.

Q.  Have you played much with Bubba and even in practice rounds, and have you tried to emulate any of the shots that he hit there?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I have played a bunch with Bubba.  No, I'm not trying to hit shots like he's hitting now.  I'm trying to do what I do best.  He's a very impressive player and I think he's going to win a lot more.

Q.  The playoff with Jason at Atlanta Athletic, that approach shot he hit on the first hole was so solid and then for you to respond like that.
What was going through your mind at that point and did you see any kind of comparison you could make to what Louie kind of dealt with after Bubba kind of recovered as he did?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Yeah.  I think in a playoff it's very important to be by yourself and do your own thing.  I know when on the first playoff hole I didn't watch Jason hit but I could hear the gallery and I knew it was close.
But I was very -- so focused on myself.  When you're winning tournaments you seem to do things the right way.  When you're struggling to make a cut or coming in 50th, some bad things creep into your mind.
But in that situation, I was able to really just focus in on myself and what I needed to do and, you know, I really just enjoyed the moment and it looked like Bubba was doing that.  I think that's what's important in playoffs.
COLIN MURRAY:  Okay.  Anything else?  Keegan, thanks for your time.  Best of luck this week.

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