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Full steam ahead: Bradley wins the WGC-Bridgestone

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Every week on the PGA Tour, more than a hundred competitors start out at the beginning of the week and only one man wins. But this year, seemingly more than most years, in addition to one clear winner there is one clear loser. This week, Jim Furyk was the tragic victim, relinquishing the lead he had held for the entire tournament with a double bogey on the final hole to give Keegan Bradley the win in the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Bradley carded a 6-under par 64 to finish at 13-under 267 for the tournament, one stroke ahead of Furyk and Steve Stricker.

Furyk played brilliantly through the first three rounds, hitting fairways and greens and raining every put the looked at.  For Sunday’s final round, Furyk racked up three consecutive birdies on the first three holes on the rain-softened Firestone South Course. But he played the next 12 holes 1-over, opening the door to the streaking Bradley, Stricker and South African Louis Oosthuizen.

Bradley played brilliantly, carding six birdies and no bogeys. His intensity, fidgeting and death stare over his putts make him look like Henry Hill from GoodFellas out for a round, but that same intensity served him well as he inched his way closer to the lead. After clutch par saves on Nos. 16 and 17, Bradley went into the final hole just one shot behind Furyk.

For Furyk it was déjà vu all over again, as he snapped-hooked a drive to the left that evoked memories of his misshaped effort off the tee on the 16th hole at the U.S. Open. Furyk caught a break when the trees spit his ball back onto the fairway about 170 yards out. Bradley striped his drive, leaving himself 164 to the pin.  With the tournament on the line, both Bradley and Furyk hit sub-par approaches. Furyk left himself an almost impossible downhill chip over a bunker to a green sloping away from him, while Bradley was plugged in the bunker that Furyk had to negotiate. Furyk took two shots to get himself to six feet from the hole. Meanwhile, Bradley splashed out to 10 feet and literally frightened the ball into the hole for his par. Amazingly, Furyk had to hit his putt to tie and earn a playoff. He motored it past the hole, giving Bradley his 3rd PGA Tour win and the first since his win at the 2011 PGA Championship.

Bradley is the kind of player that everyone likes to watch and no one wants to play against. His piercing gazes and countless gestures are almost Sergio-esque, but he looks like he’d wack anyone who’d try to heckle or rush him. There is no quit in Bradley, no relaxing. No matter where he is on the leaderboard he is sweating the details and grinding so hard he leaves a trail of brake dust on the fairway.

While being one of the Tour’s most popular players amongst his peers, Bradley reminds longtime Tour observers of the great competitors of previous generations, guys like Hale Irwin and Raymond Floyd who had to have the right combination of talent and nasty to notch victories while competing against the likes of Nicklaus, Palmer, Watson, et al. The nephew of LPGA great Pat Bradley is golf royalty who has learned from the best what it takes to be good, and what it takes to be great. As he now heads for Kiawah to defend the Wannamaker Trophy, Bradley is seeking to break the string of 17 different winners in the last 17 majors. There are probably a lot of people who would pick somebody else to win, but there aren’t a lot who would tell him to his face.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

Michael Williams is the contributing editor of Newschannel8 Capital Golf Weekly and Bunkershot.com, as well as a member of the Golf Writers Association of America.

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Troy Vayanos

    Aug 6, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Congratulations to Keegan, it was a great effort to win another big title with a major like field. He holed some big putts down the stretch when it counted. In good form leading into his defense of the US PGA next week.

    Felt sorry for Jim Furyk who found trouble at the 18th. It was like the US Open all over again.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: “The Traditional” Edition

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Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers…But really, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour we spotted over the past couple of weeks.

Grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please. And be sure to check out the rest of our tour photo galleries when you’re done.

Patrick Reed with a fine articulation of what we’re calling “The Traditional” wedge stamping: First and last initials, usually in white or black. 

Here’s The Traditional on Keith Mitchell’s Mizuno T22 wedge as well as a slab o’ wedge tape positioned to raise CG.  

Tyler Duncan’s Traditional stamping on his Vokey SM10 also includes a note about head weight in Sharpie. 

The Traditional, again, this time for Cam Smith on his Vokey SM10 in Jet Black.  

Jason Dufner’s Cobra’s SB wedge bears his initials, JD.

A variation on The Traditional, Lee Hodges’ initials are surrounded by “RTR,” as is usually the case on his wedges — Roll Tide Roll!

Phil Mickelson’s PM Grind wedge has a saucy little 64 stamped on the toe and a slab of lead near the toe peak. 

John Rahm’s Callaway Jaws Forged wedge featured the motto of his LIV Golf squad, Legion XIII.

John Daly’s Sub 70 wedge is superb, featuring the logo of his alma mater, the University of Arkansas. WPS! 

Check out our tour photo galleries here.

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Equipment

Photos from the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Custom Camerons and some “super” new grips from SuperStroke are filling our galleries early in the week as well as WITBs — including the always interesting “Cashmere Keith” Mitchell.

Check out links to our photos below, which we’ll continue to update throughout the week.

And while you’re making your way through our photos, be sure to check out last year’s incredible gallery of prototype and personal Ben Hogan golf clubs.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 PGA Championship

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, for the PGA Championship.

While we see fewer equipment changes and new gear seeding at major championships, we get a look at custom gear and looks into the bags of players we rarely see, which is just as exciting. In the case of the PGA Championship, this means a look at the gear some of the PGA Professionals who qualified for the tournament will be gaming, and LIV players, such as Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed.

Check out links to all our albums from Valhalla below and check back throughout the week as we continue to update.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

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