Bradley sick of being called cheater, tired of ban talk

By Randall MellFebruary 26, 2013, 5:50 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The furor cuts more painfully to Keegan Bradley.

As a guy who thrives using a belly putter, Bradley revealed Tuesday at The Honda Classic just how much the controversy over anchored putting has worn on him.

Bradley said that fan who called him a “cheater” during the World Challenge late last year wasn’t a lone wolf.

With the PGA Tour coming out Sunday against the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club’s proposed ban on anchoring, and with a resolution broiling toward completion, Bradley acknowledged he has struggled with the debate.

“It's been actually pretty difficult, especially lately,” Bradley said. “I'm being called a cheater more than ever by fans, by some writers. It's really tough. I can't imagine how people can say that to me, or to anybody out here. It's been really difficult, and I'm sick of it to be honest.  I'm ready to be over it.”

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Bradley acknowledged he probably reads Twitter too much.

“The word cheater, I mean, it's amazing that people can say that,” Bradley said. “It's probably the worst thing you could ever say to an athlete.”

Bradley has been using a belly putter for about five years. He won the PGA Championship with it at the end of the 2011 season, initiating a run where three of five major championships were won with belly putters. The proposed ban came out at the end of that run.

The 90-day comment period put forth by the USGA and R&A ends Thursday. The governing bodies announced that they will make their determination on whether to implement the rule sometime during this spring.

“It’s a mess,” Bradley said. “It's going to be a mess.

“There's so much hearsay that's going on with this. There's so much media around it that one day I hear one thing, ‘Oh, there's no way it's going to happen,’ and then the next day I hear, ‘It's going to happen next year.’  So I'm going to wait and see. I realize that I'm going to have to deal with it for the next couple years, which I'm fine with, but I do know the Tour has my back, which is helpful.”

That’s how Bradley understood PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem’s pronouncement Sunday that the Tour is opposed to the proposed ban, though Finchem has yet to say if the Tour would ultimately adopt implementation of such a rule.

“Commissioner Finchem and the PGA Tour (have) always had their players’ backs, no matter how big or small the group is,” Bradley said. “I'm very proud, and it makes me feel good that my Tour, the Tour that I play on, has my back.”

Bradley was pleased both the PGA Tour and PGA of America came out against the proposed ban during the 90-day comment period.

“If they are really taking this comment period seriously, I think they really need to look at what's been said by both those organizations,” Bradley said.

In five official PGA Tour starts since the proposed ban was announced, Bradley has one top-10 finish, a tie for fourth in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He tied for 16th in his last stroke-play start, the Northern Trust Open, and lost to Marcus Fraser in the opening round of last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play.

“I think a big part of Keegan’s game is that he has a phenomenal heart,” said Jim McLean, Bradley’s swing coach. “This bothers him; I think it weighs on him, but he’s been able to handle it so well because he’s such a super competitor.”

McLean believes Bradley would adapt to a standard putter quickly, but Bradley doesn’t want to putt that way.

“Keegan works at it,” McLean said. “You don’t just grab a belly putter and putt well with it.”

Bradley will be looking to win The Honda Classic with it this week while shutting out all the folks who don’t like the fact that he’s using it.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry