Kiawah Island, South Carolina: Keegan Bradley wasn’t going to let a small equipment malfunction ruin his week at the 94th PGA Championship.
When Bradley was practising with Phil Mickelson earlier in the week his putter broke as they were strolling along one of the fairway’s on the Kiawah Island Golf Resort course.
“I was walking down the fairway on Tuesday with Phil and I hear a ping and part of my putter had fallen off in the fairway,” Bradley said. “You know, it’s a miracle it didn’t happen on Sunday. I’m thankful that it didn’t happen on Sunday or today.
“Odyssey made me a putter that’s exactly the same. It feels great. It’s my old shot shaft in there. It’s amazing, it looks the exact same.”
Bradley got his title defence at the PGA Championship off to a solid start on Thursday by firing a four-under 68 in a round that included an eagle and five birdies.
Playing in a group with Tiger Woods, the 26-year-old American started on the back nine and opened with a birdie on the par-four 10th and an eagle on the par-five 11th.
“It was just a solid, solid round,” said Bradley, who has never missed a cut in a major. “It feels great. I get announced as the PGA Champion, it gives me chills. It was really fun and I love playing with Tiger, so it was a great day.”
Bradley went through a lull after winning last year’s PGA Championship as a Tour rookie. But he proved last week he is not a one-hit wonder as he captured the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“It can change in one week,” he said. “I went from having a decent year to struggling a little bit and then I win and I’m backup here on top.”
He said Thursday’s conditions were difficult with the heat in the morning and then the wind picking up in the afternoon. Temperatures were around 32 degrees Celsius but the humidity factor made it feel much hotter.
“I’m so happy it started blowing because it was so hot this morning,” he said. “On the 14th tee was one of the hottest moments of my life.”
Weather forecasters are predicting blue skies will turn to periods of rain later in the week so Bradley said it was key to come out of the gate with a good score.
“You have to take what the round gives you,” he said. “Any time in golf if you try to push it or force it, bad things can happen.
“I just tried to stay calm and I got off to a really good start.”