Bradley: More 'pinch-yourself' moments at Medinah

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2012, 10:42 pm

MEDINAH, Ill. – Over the past few years, as Keegan Bradley has ascended from St. John’s standout to PGA champion to Ryder Cup rookie, he’s admitted to having plenty of “pinch-yourself” moments.

His first Tour start. His first money game with Phil Mickelson. His first event as a major winner.  

Well, the 26-year-old experienced another one Tuesday at Medinah: walking across the bridge toward the first tee during a Ryder Cup practice round.

“Probably the proudest moment of my entire career,” Bradley said.

And the actual competition is still three days away.

Keegan’s day began with a text message to his aunt, Hall of Famer Pat Bradley. It was a picture of his U.S. team bag, a photo that screamed, Can you believe I made it? Pat replied, “USA all the way.”

A few hours later, a crowd of about 30,000 fans lined the fairways at Medinah, craning their necks to get a view and chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A,” a few lucky fans receiving the Ryder Cup lapel pins that were dispensed throughout the afternoon. “It was basically a Sunday crowd at a major,” Bradley said.

He played alongside Mickelson, a frequent practice partner, and Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, the formidable pairing that debuted last year at the Presidents Cup. Those were the teams: Keegan-Phil vs. Webb-Bubba. When asked who won, Bradley’s expression suggested defeat. Good thing it’s only Tuesday.

Said Bradley, “But oh my God, I had the most fun I’ve maybe ever had on a golf course. It was honestly one of the highlights of my career today.”

Listening to him Tuesday, you get the feeling Bradley will be saying that a lot this week. More pinch-yourself moments. And can you blame the guy? He’s cutting up with Phil and Tiger, players he’s grown up idolizing. He’s surrounded by Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps and Justin Timberlake.

“It’s kind of a smack in the face almost to where I am,” Bradley said. “Sometimes it’s all happening so fast, you kind of don’t catch it. And there are times this week where I’ve said, ‘I’m in the same room with these guys, and that’s pretty special.’”

Bradley and Mickelson enjoy their practice-round battles, no doubt, but perhaps for different reasons – Keegan because he feels more nervous during their high-stakes games than the actual tournament, Phil because he’s recruited Bradley in preparation for moments such as the Ryder Cup.

“I’ve always played very well after I’ve played in a Phil match because he gets your juices flowing, you start putting balls into the hole,” Bradley said. “If I’m ever playing against Phil, I want to beat him so bad that sometimes it doesn’t bring out the best golf in me, and it’s a great way to prepare for a tournament like this.”

Of course, he will have little trouble getting jacked for Friday’s opening session.

It figures to be yet another pinch-yourself moment in a week full of them.

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Thomas: Winning hometown Honda would 'mean a lot'

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:53 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas is trying to join Rickie Fowler as a winner of his hometown event.

Thomas will play in the final group alongside Luke List on Sunday at the Honda Classic after matching the low round of the week with a 5-under 65. He is at 6-under 204, one shot back of List.

The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year is one of several residents of nearby Jupiter. After Fowler won last year, Thomas (who missed the cut) returned to the course to congratulate his neighbor on his fourth Tour title.

“I hope I give him the opportunity or the choice to come back,” Thomas said. “But I’ve got a lot of golf in front of me before I worry about him coming here.”

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

More important to Thomas, however, is winning this event, which is played at PGA National, one of the most difficult non-major courses on Tour.

“It would mean a lot,” he said. “It means a lot to win any golf tournament, but it would mean more because of how prestigious this golf tournament is and the list of winners that have won this event, how strong of a field it is, how difficult of a golf course.

“A decent number of my wins have been on easier golf courses, so it would be cool to get it done at a place like this.”

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Woods paired with hotshot rookie Burns at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:38 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rookie Sam Burns will be in the biggest spot of his career Sunday – playing alongside Tiger Woods.

Burns, the reigning Nicklaus Award winner who turned pro after two standout years at LSU, will go off with Woods at 12:45 p.m. at the Honda Classic.

Burns, 20, who earned his Tour card via Q-School, is playing this week on a sponsor exemption, his fourth of the season. He is 13th on the money list this year, after a tie for second two weeks ago in Colombia.

Burns and Woods are tied for 11th, at even-par 210.

Sunday is an important round for Burns, who can earn a spot into the Valspar Championship with a top-10 finish here.

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List leads Honda; Thomas one back

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 11:25 pm

Luke List, one of a legion of PGA Tour players who live in Jupiter, just two exits up I-95 from PGA National, shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Honda Classic. Here's how things stand going into the final round at PGA National:

Leaderboard: Luke List (-7), Justin Thomas (-6), Webb Simpson (-6), Tommy Fleetwood (-5), Jamie Lovemark (-5), Alex Noren (-4) 

What it means: Leader List has played well this season, with no finish lower than T-26 in six starts. Thomas, of course, is the reigning Player of the Year. The next best pedigree among the leaders belongs to Simpson, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open and three other PGA Tour titles.

Round of the day: Thomas and Noren both shot 5-under 65s. Thomas made two of his six birdies in the Bear Trap (at the par 3s, Nos. holes 15 and17), while Noren played that stretch (15-17) in 1 over. Noren made his hay elsewhere, including an eagle at the last that canceled out his two bogeys.

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Best of the rest: List, Simpson and Kelly Kraft all shot 66.

Biggest disappointment: After an opening 76, Jimmy Walker probably thought he was back on track with a 68 that allowed him to make the cut. Alas, the improvement was temporary, as he ballooned back to a 74 on Saturday.

Shot of the day: Tommy Fleetwood hit a fairway wood from 282 yards to within 8 feet of the cup on the 18th hole. He then made the putt for his second eagle of the day.

Quote of the day: "The course played a fair bit easier with not as much wind." - Thomas

Biggest storyline going into Sunday: List may be in the lead, but most eyes will be on Thomas, a five-time winner last year who has yet to lift a trophy in 2018. And of course, more than a few people will be keeping tabs on Tiger Woods. He'll begin the day seven shots back, trying to channel Tiger of 2012 - when he posted a 62 on Sunday at PGA National (which was good only for a runner-up finish to Rory McIlroy).

Jason Dufner in the third round of the 2018 Honda Classic. Getty Images

Dufner wears "BOSS" hat while playing with Tiger

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:20 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Jason Dufner doesn’t have a hat sponsor this year, freeing him up to wear whatever lid he wants.

That’s why he’s already worn caps with camouflage, American flags and The Notorious B.I.G.’s face.

He saved his most audacious look for Saturday at the Honda Classic – a blue cap with “BOSS” and five gold stars on the front.

“Perfect time,” Dufner said with a smile, “playing with Tiger (Woods).”

And where did he find the cap, which generated plenty of buzz on social media?

At Rickie Fowler’s house, of course.

“There’s not much behind it,” Dufner said. “I don’t have a sponsorship this year, so I’m doing whatever I want to do. This one was laying in Rickie’s house last night, so I grabbed it.”