By Paul Myers
Keegan Bradley might not be a household name like some of the others on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, but he is an accomplished major champion with a growing list of achievements in professional golf. His short Ryder Cup history is an impressive one as he has recently teamed with Phil Mickelson to form a formidable pairing that has given the European team plenty of trouble. Bradley is known for his fidgety style on the golf course, but there is not much shaky about his play under pressure.
To watch Keegan Bradley swing the golf club, you wouldn’t necessarily peg him for being a particularly long hitter. He isn’t an overly muscular man, and he doesn’t lash at the ball quite as aggressively as some. However, he manages to generate an average club head speed of 116.94, which ranks him at #40 for the 2014 PGA Tour season. He isn’t the longest hitter on Tour, but he does fall comfortably toward the top end of the rankings. That power along with the rest of his well-rounded game has made for a player that is likely to be a force for many years to come.
Loves the Pressure
Playing well under pressure is a skill that some professional golfers never quite master – but Bradley seems to have been born with it. He often seems to rise to the occasion when the pressure is highest, and the Ryder Cup is a great example of that. Where some other young players might shy away from playing with Phil Mickelson and the spotlight that it brings, Bradley has seemingly embraced it and appears to thrive in that role. Finding good playing partners for legendary golfers such as Mickelson has been a tough task for many Ryder Cup captains, but Keegan may have solved that problem for Tom Watson in the 2014 Ryder Cup playing.
It says a lot about the game of Keegan Bradley that he is not really considered a power player, and yet still possesses plenty of speed as proven by his 116.94 average. Today’s top players need to not only have the power to take on the huge golf courses that are played on Tour, but also have enough skills around the greens – and on them – to score well consistently. Bradley is a great example of a well-rounded player who might not lean on one area of the game specifically, but rather uses the strength of his overall game to defeat the golf course.
At the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland, the success of the Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley pairing may likely go a long way toward determining a winner. The pair will likely head out to the course in three of the four partner sessions, so getting at least two points from Mickelson and Bradley in those three matches could determine whether or not the U.S. team is able to finally pull the cup back from Europe. Whether or not they are able to do it is yet to be seen, but one thing seems certain – Bradley is probably not going to back down from the challenge.
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