Bradley living the dream
Keegan Bradley admits that he still cannot believe his meteoric rise to fame and laughs when he considers being a major champion.
The 25-year-old set out at the start of the 2011 campaign with the prospect of having to win enough money to earn playing rights for the next season but that is all now a thing of the past due to his success last year. It all began 12 months go at this week's event, the Byron Nelson Championship, when the Woodstock-born youngster beat Ryan Palmer in a play-off to win his maiden PGA Tour event to secure his card for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. But that was just the start of his glorious year as he won his first major - the USPGA Championship - at the first time of asking, having never before played in one of the big-four events. He was voted PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in December last year and nearly added another title to his collection at the 2012 Northern Trust Open, losing out in a three-way play-off to Bill Haas. The Florida resident has enjoyed an up-and-down year to date but will look to bounce back from a disappointing outing at Sawgrass in Texas this week at a venue that will always hold great memories for him. "I went from an unknown rookie trying to keep his card to winning a PGA Tour event and locking up my future a little bit," he said. "This tournament might have set up my whole career. People don't realise what the stress level is of a rookie on the PGA Tour, trying to keep your card." Bradley finished in a tie for 27th at this year's Masters but has been tipped to win many more big tournaments throughout his career, and he admits that he still has to pinch himself on occasions when thinking about what he has achieved in such a short space of time. "Sometimes I will be sitting around and I will realise that I won the PGA and start laughing, by myself, like I can't believe it," he added. "It seriously happens all the time. I keep the trophy on my mantelpiece in front of my TV in my room, and I'll just be watching TV and I'll look over at it and start laughing, because it seems so bizarre that's the trophy, it's in my room.