Beaten to the punch


JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Beat up by the architectural elites, Atlanta Athletic Club delivered a rousing Sunday nearly equal to the one we witnessed in April at Georgia’s most famous club.

American brand names down the road, the job of breaking the skid fell to a couple of untested upstarts: Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner.

Dufner is an entirely regular guy, not the kind with paint store pants, all belt-buckle and no belly; but a guy who skips the 500 crunches before breakfast and heads right for the bacon and eggs, then backs it up with a pinch of Skoal, in no hurry and with no need to impress.

He’s the guy who has brought the waggle back, and not a Mike Weir, Chris DiMarco waggle but – with compliments to a clever tweeter – the full on Art Carney, Ed Norton “Honeymooner’s” waggle. Hello Ball!

He had hoped not to say “hello” to Bradley on his way to a playoff. 

But the rangy, homerun-hitting rookie survived the triple at the fiendish par-3 15th that humiliated players like Carnoustie’s 18th hole, the New Englander channeling his beloved Red Sox and their epic comeback over the Yankees.

Stunned, Dufner stood at 17 tee, watching the best fist pump at a major by an American since the golfer formerly known as Tiger Woods was winning in Sunday red.

And they rose on the hill, fans roaring right through to the extra session.

It may not quite have been Hogan against Snead, Jack against Arnie, Tiger against Bob May, but Bradley against Dufner turned out to be far more electrifying than a starving-for-stars public and press figured when they drearily woke up this morning.

We don’t always need famous golf people to satisfy. Magnificent golf shots will do.

Feel for Dufner; he has a couple long days ahead. Bradley has a whole new world.

He beat Anthony Kim, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Nick Watney to the major punch.

America at last has its winner, bankable and likable. It’s Keegan Bradley.