Major bloodlines

By Randall MellAugust 15, 2011, 3:45 am

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – All of Cape Cod knew how proud Pat Bradley was that her nephew won the PGA Championship. The Hall of Famer resurrected a family tradition Sunday night after Keegan Bradley defeated Jason Dufner in a playoff at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

But instead of rousing the neighborhood ringing a Swiss cow bell the way her mother did every time she won an LPGA title, Pat broke out a ship captain's bell, the one her brother bought her as a housewarming gift. 

'We have a lot of ships around Cape Cod, you know,' Pat said. 

Pat raced out in the yard with the bell after Keegan's victory and began clanging it so all of Hyannisport would know something special happened.

'I would have used the cow bell, but it's in the World Golf Hall of Fame,' Pat said. 

If Kathleen Bradley heard Pat ringing that bell, she would have smiled. Kathleen is Pat's mom and Keegan's grandmother. Kathleen used to ring that cow bell in Westford, Mass., every time Pat won. She rang it 31 times during Pat's remarkable career.

Kathleen also lives in Hyannisport now, 10 blocks from Pat, but they didn't watch Keegan's victory together.

'Are you kidding?' Pat said. 'We talked about it, but we both decided we wanted to totally focus on watching. We wanted to be totally engrossed in the competition. We didn't even want to chit chat with each other.'

That's the legendary Bradley focus in competition. After winning Sunday, Keegan talked about it.

'I grew up going to Pat's tournaments, totally idolizing her and wanting to be with her,' Keegan said with the Wanamaker Trophy at his side. 'I remember as a kid going to her tournaments and literally staring her in the face. I'm her nephew, but she was so into it, she wouldn't even recognize me. I thought that was cool.'

Keegan needed that kind of singular focus to overcome the wave of negative emotions that hit him on the back nine of the PGA Championship. After watching his chip shot come hot off his wedge behind the 15th hole and race through the green and into the water, Bradley found himself five shots behind Dufner with just three holes to play. His triple bogey there appeared to doom his chances.

'That was a very, very deflating moment, but I saw something in Keegan's eyes when they showed his face coming off that hole,' Pat said. 'I was watching, and I saw this determination in his eyes. That look never left him. I'm so proud of him.'

Pat said she leaped off the chair in front of her television when Keegan rolled in a birdie putt to rebound at the 16th hole and then made another birdie at the 17th. Keegan played the treacherous gauntlet of 15 through 18 in triple bogey, birdie, birdie and par to catch Dufner and force the playoff.

Keegan, just a rookie, playing in his first major championship, had a lot of help from family all week. His father, Mark, a PGA club professional in Jackson Hole, Wyo., couldn't be there to watch because of work. But Keegan's mom, Kaye, and his sister, Madison, and his 10-month old nephew, Aiden, were all there. They stayed in a townhouse together.

Aiden proved to be a large factor in the winning formula. Keegan spent the long morning before the final round playing with his nephew.

'It was just so normal,' Madison said. 'In the morning, mom got up and made him breakfast.'

She made Keegan's favorite: eggs, a toasted bagel and oatmeal.

'And I packed him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his golf bag,' Kaye said.

Kaye must have wondered how the peanut butter and jelly were digesting when she watched Keegan hit that ball into the water at the 15th. He looked like he lost any chance to win there. Kaye said her heart sank with that ball going to the bottom of the pond, but then she snapped out of it. 

Kaye remembered how resilient her son can be.

This is the boy, after all, who spent winters racing down treacherous slopes as a ski racer. This is the boy who kept getting up after all those wipeouts and crashes.

Kaye watched her son survive more frightening wipeouts than this when he was 11.

'It's scary when you are at the top of snowy hills with an icy course in front of you, the wind is howling like 30 miles per hour, and it's 30 below zero,' Kaye said. 

Kaye said she was horrified watching more than one boy taken off in a stretcher in one race, the conditions were so difficult.

Keegan walked away triumphant and unscathed, just like he did Sunday in Atlanta.

'That's one of the most impressive things about Keegan, his ability to come back like this,' Kaye said. 'He's done it so many times. He's just so rock solid, so sturdy.'

All of Cape Cod knows that now. If they didn't see it, Pat Bradley made sure they heard about it. She hopes to make a lot more noise with that ship's bell of hers in the future.

'I'm going to ring this bell in honor of my nephew,' Pat said. 'We're starting a new tradition.'

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.