Keegan Bradley is entering this week’s British Open not playing his best golf. His best showing this year was over two months ago, when he took second in the Byron Nelson. He has since finished tied for 50th, missed the cut at the U.S. Open, tied for 18th and most recently tied for 61st.
Bradley is still relatively inexperienced in terms of years on the tour, this being his third season. But the 27-year old can say something that Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood all cannot: he is a major championship winner.
Bradley has the tools to be one of the best golfers in the world, proven by his current ranking of 12th. He also has the credentials that go along with that. He won PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2011. He also became the third player ever to win a major in his first attempt when he took home the 2011 PGA Championship, joining Francis Ouimet (1913) and Ben Curtis (2003). He was also a member of last year’s Ryder Cup team.
The downside to all of this is that Bradley has seemed to only have success at the PGA Championship in his short career. His best finish in a major outside of the PGA Championship was a tie for 27th at the 2012 Masters. In his only British Open appearance last year, he finished tied for 34th.
It would be fair to consider Bradley a bit of a sleeper when it comes to this week’s tournament at Muirfield. With big names like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson in the field, it’s easy for a guy like Bradley to fly under the radar. But with five top-10 finishes this season on the tour, all I can say is never count out a major champion when it comes to a big-time tournament.
At 4:22 a.m. tomorrow, we will see how Bradley begins his quest for major championship no. 2.