Editor’s note: Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
By Brian Keogh
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
HEROIC US PGA CHAMPION Keegan Bradley wants to dig up his Irish roots and make an appearance in the Irish Open. And his legendary aunt Pat Bradley—a Hall of Fame player and the winner of six major titles—reckons it was his “Irish toughness” that helped him come back from a 15th hole triple bogey to snatch the Wanamaker Trophy from Jason Dufner after a heart-stopping play-off.
Auntie Pat, whose grandparents hailed from Ballycotton in Cork, insisted: “He showed some Bradley toughness.
“We’re an Irish family and we have that Irish toughness and he showed that today. I am just so very proud of him the way he fought back and brought it home.”
Pat, 60, won 31 LPGA events in a Hall of Fame career including three majors in 1986 alone. Her mother Kathleen celebrated her wins by ringing a cow bell in their home town of Westford, Massachusetts. The cow bell is now in the Hall of Fame but Auntie Pat grabbed a ship’s bell on Sunday night to ring in her nephew’s second tour win and his first major in his first major start.
She said: “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.”
The Bradley clan are regular visitors to Ireland, where Pat is an honorary member of Kenmare and the Old Head of Kinsale, where some of her major trophies are on display. Three of her six brothers—Chris, Tom and John—regularly tee it up in the annual Brothers International Golf Classic at Kenmare, winning it in 2001.
And that’s why golf’s latest major champion is keen to show his Irish cousins his skills by making an Irish Open appearance some day.
Keegan said: “I’m really proud of my Irish heritage. I have a shamrock on my bag and my logo’s a shamrock too.
“The Bradley family is intensely Irish and my aunt is very proud of her roots in Cork and so am I. She goes over there every year with my uncles when they play in the Brothers Tournament.
“I went over when I was about eight in 1994 but I can’t remember too much about it so I really want to go back again. I’d really love to return to Ireland and play in the Irish Open some day. That would be really cool.”
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.