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This year, no Beantown distractions for Bradley

Keegan Bradley
Getty Images
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 04: Tiger Woods talks to the media during a press conference after playing a practice round prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 4, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)  - 

NORTON, Mass. – He learned his lesson a year ago, when he played in front of the hometown fans for the first time, as a major champion, and then was spotted all over town – at the New England Patriots game, at the Boston Red Sox game, seeing this, attending that.

When it came time for the Deutsche Bank Championship, however, Keegan Bradley bottomed out during a second-round 76 and missed the cut in the second event of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

“It was just a lot going on, no real downtime ever, and that was a big adjustment to me,” he explained Thursday. “That took a big toll on me last year.”

After winning the 2011 PGA in his first major start, the now-26-year-old admittedly had trouble sleeping – for weeks. During Deutsche Bank week, he threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park, flipped the coin at midfield during a Patriots game, and was “pulled in a million different directions.”

Not so this year, thankfully. Sure, earlier this week Bradley hosted a fundraiser in his hometown of Woodstock, Vt. (about three hours north of Norton), for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund, helping to raise more than $100,000 for those affected by Hurricane Irene more than a year ago. But this time, the Red Sox are out of town, in the midst of a West Coast road trip. The Patriots are gone, too, as they make final preparations for the regular season.

Perhaps that was a welcome sight?

“A little bit, yeah,” he said. “I promised myself I would stay real low-key no matter what, but that helped for sure. It’s hard to say no to some of these things that are childhood dreams.”