Litke: Bradley's 'best day' gets even better
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Keegan Bradley called his Ryder Cup debut “the best day of my life.” Barely 24 hours later, somehow it got even better.
After stealing the show Friday with back-to-back wins, Bradley again partnered with Phil Mickelson to make beating the Europeans look easy. This time the Americans punished Englishmen Lee Westwood and Luke Donald 7 and 6, tying the record for the biggest margin of victory in an alternate-shot match.
The only thing wider at Medinah Country Club was the grin on Bradley's mug. No U.S. rookie has gone 3-0 at the Ryder Cup since Loren Roberts in 1995. The last European to turn the trick was Sergio Garcia in 1999, who halved his fourth match and then lost in singles. That may explain why U.S. captain Davis Love III decided not to tempt fate by giving Bradley and Mickelson the afternoon session off.
“Phil was giving me a pep talk early in the round, saying we need to come out hot against these two great players,” Bradley said. “We were lucky enough to do that.”
Lucky? Bradley, a right-hander, and Mickelson, a lefty, meshed so well in the alternate-shot format, they looked like mirror images. They went 1 up on No. 1 with a birdie, made five more after that and didn't lose a single hole. Both have putted well, and Bradley's length off the tee plays right into Mickelson's strengths — his approach play and an uncanny ability to clean up missed shots with his short game.
In addition to their complementary styles, what has made them unbeatable is how Bradley, 26, and Mickelson, 42, deploy their energy and experience to the benefit of both. Mickelson even compared their partnership to the great Spanish duo of the late Seve Ballesteros and current European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, the most successful pairing in Ryder Cup history.
“To partake in his great play and experience the Ryder Cup together,” Mickelson said, “has been awesome. ... It brought our best golf out.”
Bradley, who won the PGA Championship in 2011, said his sky-high confidence was a direct result of playing alongside Mickelson. Bradley doubted he'd be pumping his fist after nearly every big putt or shamelessly daring the galleries to get even louder if this were an individual competition as opposed to team play.
“I would never do that in a stroke-play event. I mean I do — in my career, I've had big moments where I've showed my emotions. But here, I always know Phil is going to be there, whether I missed the green or hit it in the woods ... It's just very relaxing to know I have a Hall of Fame partner that knows how to get it up and in from anywhere on the course.”
Jim Litke is a sports columnist with the Associated Press.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kang’s 9th-inning home run gives Pirates wild victory over Twins
- Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
- Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
- School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
- Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
- Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
- Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
- Van Halen plays plenty of favorites in First Niagara show
- 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
- More than 100 stamp bags confiscated in Greensburg; 4 arrested
- Pirates’ Liriano unaffected by poor last outing against Twins