NORTON, Mass. – The Travelers Championship held a media day on Monday, but it was held at TPC Boston in Norton about a two-hour drive from the Travelers’ home course, TPC River Highlands, in Cromwell, Conn.
As the only PGA Tour event in New England, the Travelers wanted to introduce the tournament to media members who would spread the word about the longtime Connecticut event.
TPC Boston hosted 17 PGA Tour events, but hasn’t had one since 2020 when Dustin Johnson won the Northern Trust there and no more PGA Tour events are scheduled for there.
The Travelers will be held June 20-23 next year and will be a “Signature Event” with 70-80 players competing for a $20 million purse and no cut.
Keegan Bradley captured his sixth PGA Tour victory in June at the Travelers Championship and he was on hand at TPC Boston. Winning the Travelers ranks very high on his list of accomplishments, but not being one of Zach Johnson’s six captains picked for the U.S. Ryder Cup team was one of his deepest disappointments. He watched a lot of the Ryder Cup on television as the U.S. lost, 16 1/2 – 11 1/2, to Europe in Rome last month.
“It was pretty difficult,” he admitted. “First and foremost, I’m a fan of Team USA, so I was watching as a fan, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I could have made a difference. It was tough. It was tougher to watch this one because I was so close to making the team, but it’s motivation to try to make the team in the future.”
Bradley is ranked 18th in the Official World Golf Rankings, higher than four of Johnson’s six captains picks: Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Sam Burns.
The six U.S. captain’s Ryder Cup picks, including Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka, posted a dismal 4-12-4 record. Does he feel he could have fared better?
“I struggle with that,” he said, “because in my head, my ego says, ‘Of course, I could,’ but then I think that’s a selfish thing to say because of how good these players are. But I think I’m a good teammate and I would have helped the team.”
Bradley would like to see the U.S. Ryder Cup captain devise a game plan the way a football coach prepares an offensive or defense scheme and not vary from it.
Bradley, 37, compiled a 4-3 record for the U.S. in the Ryder Cup in 2012 and 2014 and he was 2-2-1 in the 2013 Presidents Cup. He went 0-3 in singles matches, however.
“I was expecting to play in every Ryder Cup for the next decade,” he admitted.
More recently, he came to peace with the fact that he might never play in another Ryder Cup, but he got his hopes up after winning the Travelers. That’s why it hurt even more when he wasn’t selected this year as a captain’s pick.
Bradley grew up in Woodstock, Vermont, and lived in Portsmouth, N.H., for two years. Prior to his senior year, he moved to Hopkinton, not far from TPC Boston, and while competing for Hopkinton High he was the Division 2 state medalist in 2004.
Bradley said he hopes the PGA Tour returns to TPC Boston.
“I really miss playing here,” he said. “I have incredible memories of coming here. The first time I saw Tiger Woods was out here when I came to a Tour event. I think it’s important that we have tournaments in New England, but Boston particularly because for people from New England, Boston is the capital and I think that sports in New England are different than anywhere else and I think that golf in late summer and fall in New England is the best place to play golf in the world.”
As a PGA Tour rookie in 2011, he won the Byron Nelson Championship and the PGA Championship to earn the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award.
Later, Bradley suffered through some lean years and he admitted it took him a lot longer than he expected to regain his touch on the greens after the belly putter was banned. Finally, he hired a coach, Phil Kenyon, who helped him learn how to putt again.
He tied for second at the Travelers in 2019, won the Zozo Championship in October of 2022 for his first victory in four years and won the Travelers last June while setting the tournament scoring record with a score of 23-under 257.
“When you work yourself back from a low place, you appreciate things more,” he said.
His victory in Cromwell, Connecticut, at the Travelers meant a lot to the native New Englander.
“I felt the pressure on that Sunday, I really did,” he said. “I was nervous before the round. I was nervous the night before and when you go out and perform at a level under those sorts of nerves, things change, and I’ve felt like I’m better equipped to win another major after that because of the atmosphere and the pressure I felt that day.”
Bradley’s aunt is World Golf Hall of Famer Pat Bradley and his father, Mark, is the head pro at Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club in Jackson, Wyoming.
On the web: TravelersChampionship.com