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May 29, 2014

Keegan Bradley


THE MODERATOR:  Keegan Bradley, thanks for joining us for a successful 5‑under 67, Round 1 of the Memorial Tournament.  Obviously a lot of attention to what you're using on the putting surface.
So with that I'll turn it over to you for some opening comments on the round.
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I played so great today.  I putted very well.  Hit the ball well.  Just really in control of my game.
So nice to feel, especially around here.  This is my lowest round I think I've ever shot out here.  So felt really, really solid.

Q.  With the putter change, how close have you been?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I was really disappointed with my finish at Byron, putted really poorly.  I was actually talking to my mom, of all people, who is a golfer, but she's not I'd say a huge golfer.  And she said, I'm going to tell you something.  I don't think you're going to like it.  I was like, All right.  She said, I think you should use the short putter.
So I hadn't put any thought into it up until that point.  That was on Sunday last week.  And so I thought I needed something to get me excited about playing because I was bummed.
So I took it out.  I played 36 holes a day with M.J. last week.  And I told him I really wanted him to chirp at me, make me uncomfortable, which he's good at.
And we just kept playing and playing.  And I felt better and better with it.  And I came here and not knowing what I was going to do, and I just played a round with Brendan Steele and I felt good with it again, and I thought there's no reason for me not to do it.  I thought I could slip under the radar a little bit as well.
Now it's out there and people know.

Q.  Has the rule change that it doesn't go into effect for another 18 months, has it been in the back of your mind, or was your attitude like I'm just going to deal with that when the time comes?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  My original plan was to hopefully qualify for the Ryder Cup team and really start to think about switching after the Ryder Cup.
I would say that it's constantly on my mind of I gotta do this, I gotta start thinking.  And I've done some stuff in terms of getting the putters and putting with them for five minutes, but that's about it.
I just decided:  I think that this is a good week to try it.  Again, I'm totally in a trial period here.  I'm not in any way saying I'm switching for good from now on.
This is just for right now and this week.

Q.  How different is it putting with the conventional‑sized putter?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I say there's pros and cons.  One of the positives is I feel as though I have a lot more touch on the greens.
On a course like this or Augusta or any major championship that I play on, I felt like I've needed a little more touch than I've had.  And so the positives of this putter are I can hit softer putts.  My long lag putts are a ton easier.
And the negatives are just simple of mentally I'm aware that people are watching me.  And that's the hardest part.

Q.  When I asked you about this yesterday, you said you still weren't sure.  At what point was the tipping point when you decided to go‑‑
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I kind of felt bad when you asked me, because I was pretty sure at that point I had come so close to going completely under the radar.
But I was pretty confident.  I talked to Phil a little bit.  I talked to my parents.  I talked to everybody, Jill.  I've spoken to everybody around me and just explained to them unless something pretty drastic happened here, I was going to switch.
And I had been using it and nobody had noticed.  Because I feel as though what I wanted to do was come as close to it as I could without ‑‑ so people couldn't tell.  I wanted it to be similar, and I think I've done that.

Q.  How long have you been tinkering with this model?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  Not long.  I got the putter at Bob Hope, and I've never ‑‑ I've putted with it there with Johnny Thompson from Odyssey.  And other than that, zero.
Every now and then I'll play with my buddies and I'd take it out and see if they notice, putt one hole with it.  But basically zero.  I mean, this week‑‑ last week I put a ton of time in.  A lot.

Q.  What was your mom's reasoning behind thinking that you should use the putter?  And, secondly, how much was wanting to make the Ryder Cup on the forefront of your mind and thinking about tinkering or needing a change?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I think just maybe when my mom said it, it kind of struck me as maybe I should do this.  Once I started thinking about it, I got more and more excited, excited to go practice and get up in the morning and work.
And I'm just trying to get better.  Whether it helps me make the Ryder Cup team, that's great.  But I'm focused on winning tournaments and majors, and if I do that, I'll be on those teams.

Q.  Did your mom tell you why she thought you should do it?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  No, I think that she knew that‑‑ I think she knows that, and people around me know that, it weighs on your mind.  You've got almost like a ticking clock in your head.
So I think she knew it might have been a good idea.

Q.  What was the psychology of not wanting people to know?  Was it just because you didn't want it to turn into an issue, you felt like‑‑
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I felt‑‑ like I said, at this point right now I am aware people are watching and they're waiting to see how I do with it.  I thought my best chance was to get through this week and then in case if I did switch back to going I'm going to go belly, I didn't want to have to maybe explain why.  I thought maybe I could sneak under.
It was mostly for my own sanity.

Q.  Were you overthinking it?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I overthink everything.  So probably.

Q.  When was the last time you used the conventional putter and can you remember what the results might have been back then?
KEEGAN BRADLEY:  I used‑‑ the last time I used a conventional putter was Nationwide Tour.  It was my second event.  That's in 2010.  It was in either Australia or New Zealand, and I came in 25th.  I remember it exactly.  So it's been a long time.
But I don't think‑‑ I never switched because I was a bad putter, I just switched because I felt as though I putted better with a belly.

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