As Rory proved to us with his runaway win at the U.S. Open following his personal debacle at The Masters this year, at the highest level of competition, it is the guy with something to prove that you have to worry about.
So after being shunned as a captain’s pick for the U.S. President’s Cup team, Keegan Bradley goes out the first two days in the WGC HSBC Champions event and shoots 9 under par to be two strokes off the lead at the halfway point against on of the elite fields of the year. He actually had the lead at 10 under through the first eight holes yesterday when he stumbled and made his first bogey of the tournament. He was on cruise control the rest of the way and is well positioned to make a run for his first WGC title come Sunday.
This is no small accomplishment for a young player categorized by many as the next great American hope. To travel half way around the world, deal with sleep deprivation and no comfort food, and be competitive against the top players in the sport is a tall order. Bradley seems focused and determined to prove to himself that he belongs and maybe to Captain Couples that a mistake was made in leaving him off the American President’s Cup squad.
I am reasonably sure that Freddie’s decision was less his own and more that of the Australian sponsors and the network with the TV rights for this event. Rightly so, Couples more high profile pick will mean longer lines at the gate and a bushel of ticks in the TV audience rating. Commerce trumps reason once again!
Bradley shot 72-72 over the weekend to end 9 under and T-16. Not the torrid finish he had in mind but he did finish ahead of some well known entities who will be on both squads for the President’s Cup.