PINEHURST, N.C. – As Keegan Bradley worked his way up the standings Sunday at the U.S. Open, he wasn’t thinking about a top-10 finish or an increased payday.
Bradley’s focus was on Scotland.
“I was nervous coming down to the end, because there’s so many Ryder Cup points on the line here,” said Bradley, who carded a 3-under 67 in the final round. “It’s a battle for me because of how bad I want to be on that team. I know that one shot here or there is double points, so it was nerve-wracking.”
Bradley struggled mightily in his two previous U.S. Open appearances, missing the cut at Merion and tying for 68th at Olympic in 2012. He turned that trend around at Pinehurst No. 2, finishing the week with three sub-par rounds and a 1-over 281 total – a score that at the start of the week many thought would have been enough to earn the trophy.
“If you would have told me 1 over on Wednesday afternoon, I would have said you would win by three,” Bradley said. “So it’s by far the best U.S. Open I’ve played…I don’t think I’ve broken 15 over par at one of these yet, so this is big for me.”
Bradley began the week in 21st place on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, with only the top nine players after the PGA Championship automatically earning spots at Gleneagles in September. While a top-10 finish this week will likely move him up the list with double points awarded at majors, Bradley knows that he still has work to do if he is going to make a second straight Ryder Cup appearance.
“I know that I’ve got to make a move, I know that captain (Tom) Watson is watching. (Assistant captain) Andy North is watching every shot,” he said. “This is big for me, because I want to be on that team first and foremost. I know that the start of that was here today on Sunday.”