Women’s golfing great, Pat Bradley declared it was ‘Irish toughness’ that helped her nephew Keegan Bradley claim victory in the PGA Championship.
Bradley, 25 became the first player in eight years since compatriot Ben Curtis to win Major Championship on debut in winning a play-off over the hapless Jason Dufner.
It was the first occasion since 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines that a player wearing a red shirt on a Sunday won a Major, and it wasn’t Tiger Woods.
Bradley’s fire was just too good for Dufner’s ice cool exterior.
And while Bradley was born and bred in New England, his Irish ancestry is as strong as his Atlanta resolve.
Bradley’s grandparents were born in Cork, and the new Major Champion travelled with his parents when just eight years of age to visit his Irish ancestors.
Then last year the three brothers of his PGA professional father journeyed to the Emerald Isle and returned home having captured the ‘3 Brothers International Classic’ that’s been held every year since 1978 at the Kenmare course near Killarney in Co. Kerry.
Nine years ago, LPGA ‘Hall of Famer’ Pat Bradley, who had been the USA Solheim Cup Captain two years earlier in 2000, accompanied the three brothers to Kenmare.
The now 60-year old Pat Bradley, and aunt to Bradley, won six Majors among her 36 pro career victories.
In fact, many of Bradley’s trophies are on display at Old Head after she was afforded life membership of both Old Head and Kenmare.
“He showed some Bradley toughness,” she said.
“We’re an Irish family and we have that Irish toughness and he showed that today and I am just so very proud of him the way he fought back and brought it home.
“It’s a wonderful win to honour his father, who is a PGA pro for many many years and Keegan’s honoured his dad with this win.
“I’m going to ring the bell after this.”
But while Bradley delighted his family, friends and supporters with a first Major success there’s sure to be plenty of raised eyebrows in winning with a non-conventional putter.
Indeed Bradley became the first-ever player in the long history of the Major’s to win using either a belly or long-handled putter.
And the American was proud do so.
“I’m very proud to be the first player using a belly putter to win a major,” he said.
“I remember people saying to me when I first switched, as they would go, ‘But nobody has ever won a Major with it’.
“And I remember looking at them and saying: ‘I’m going to be the first one to win a Major’, and joking pretty much.
“It’s a surreal thing it’s true.”
Bradley also becomes the second straight player win using a non-conventional putter after Australia’s Adam Scott used a long-handled putter to capture last week’s WGC – Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.
And Bradley revealed where his caddy Steve ‘Pepsi’ Hale got his knick name ‘Pepsi’.
When Bradley was competing on the secondary Nationwide Tour there was none of Hale’s favourite soft drink ‘Pepsi’ on hand.
So Hale would go out on the course well before tee off and hide cans of Pepsi about the course, and then he’d duck into bushes or walk behind out buildings and come back to Bradley with cans of Pepsi.