In my opinion, the most compelling attraction of sport is the unknown. With every new game, match, or round comes the anticipation of not only the outcome, but the various events, and the unique way they play out, which create so much excitement that ultimately resolves in said outcome.
For many, there is also the appeal of the familiar surroundings in which the game is played. There is something about the unique history and challenges that each ballpark, arena, or course provides, and how past experience, or lack thereof, may play into the strategy and execution for each participant. For some, it might be the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field or the Green Monster of Fenway Park. For others it might be the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, or the glitz of New York City’s Madison Square Garden. For most golf fans, however, there is no more sublime arena than that of Augusta National and The Masters Tournament.
With the 2013 version beginning in less than a week, I wanted to take a look at one of my favorite young stars, give a somewhat tongue-in-cheek prediction of how he might fare next week, and show all of you what he will be wearing each day.
Keegan Bradley, nephew of famous LPGA golfer Pat Bradley, burst onto the golf scene back in 2011. With his stirring victory in the 2011 PGA Championship culminating from a very late Sunday surge to push fellow rising star Jason Dufner into a playoff loss, Keegan won the first major in which he ever participated, and carried that momentum to the 2011 PGA Rookie of the Year title. Despite only notching one more win since that famous Major victory, Bradley is regularly seen stalking the top of the leader boards on the PGA Tour, and is considered by many to be an early favorite to win another Major in 2013.
Bradley enters this year’s Masters following a string of successful finishes with a 10th, 3rd, 7th, and 4th in his previous four tournaments. One of the longest hitters on tour, Keegan should have little problem getting into his scoring irons often at Augusta, though he will have to control his accuracy off the tee to get himself into the best positions on the scoring holes. Bradley is also an excellent player on the Par 5s, ranking 3rd on the PGA Tour this year in Par 5 scoring. These are very good skills to have heading into The Masters, so if his short game is on, he will be hard to beat. Let’s read how the 2013 Master's week might go for Keegan, shall we?
Wednesday, April 10th – Par 3 Contest
Keegan’s mother, Kaye, reprised her role on Keegan’s bag, but this year son took a backseat on all tee shots preferring to resist getting into the habit of firing at every pin on the course which could spell disaster on the big course. Stepping up to the spotlight, Kaye aced the 2nd and 8th holes en route to a Bradley Par 3 victory. Bad omen, however, as no winner of the Par 3 Tournament had ever gone on to win that year’s Masters Tournament.
Keegan looked as good as Kaye played, wearing his Tommy Hilfiger White Cassidy Polo Golf Shirt, Black Malcolm Golf Pants, and Black Trophy Belt.
Thursday, April 11th – First Round
Despite having already gone through his first experience at the 2012 Masters, and stealing the spotlight at the 2012 Ryder Cup, Keegan felt the jitters on the first nine, knocking several putts too far past the hole, and gutted out a 38 on the front side. With the early nerves swung out, however, Bradley took hold of his game on the back nine with a 32 including eagles on both 13 and 15 for an opening round 70, only three strokes off the lead.
Still styling up the course, Keegan sported an athletic look with his Midnight Blue Tommy Hilfiger Keith Polo Golf Shirt, White Malcolm Pants, and WhiteTrophy Belt. Some fans were able to see him wearing the Tommy Hilfiger Midnight Blue Preston Sweater while warming up as well, but the day quickly warmed up, so the sweater never appeared on the course.
Friday, April 12th – Second Round
The weather chose not to cooperate on day two, with cool temperatures and gusty winds wreaking havoc across the grounds, even knocking over a Pimento Cheese Sandwich stand. Keegan struggled with his driving all day, several times having to blast out of the pine straw. What could have been a disastrous round for Keegan, was saved by his timely putting, making bombs on both the 3rd and 11th holes, and chipping in for an incredible Par save on #14. Keegan shot an even par round of 72, and ended the day six shots back of the leaders while several big names missed the cut.
Despite the difficulty of the round, Keegan maintained his sharp style wearing the Tommy Hilfiger Midnight Blue Jefferson Polo under his Midnight Blue Preston Sweater, with a pair of Midnight Blue Malcolm Pants and his White Trophy Belt.
Saturday, April 13th – Third Round
Though some had still not recovered from the troublesome conditions they fought through on Friday, Bradley came out on Saturday refreshed and on fire, with birdies on the opening three holes, and another on eight to shoot a cool 32 on the front side. After a lip out bogey on the 10th, Keegan quickly regained his form with a birdie at 12, another eagle at the 13th, a birdie on 15, and another on the 16th that came within inches of being an ace. Bradley’s stellar 64 vaulted him to within one stroke of the lead, and beat his previous best round on August by 5 strokes.
Perhaps fashion has little to do with performance, but it is hard to argue with the way Keegan looked on Saturday. His preppy look had everything short of a collar pop, built around his Tommy Hilfiger White Gram Polo golf shirt, Black Malcolm Pant, and White Trophy Belt. I was surprised to see him remove the apparent lucky charm Tommy Hilfiger White Preston Sweater after the 3rd hole, however, with three birdies already on the card. It was probably just coincidence that left him one over par on the next 7 holes.
Sunday, April 14th – Final Round
The final round may well have gone worse had he saved a couple more strokes on Thursday or Friday, and been playing with the lead, but sitting a stroke back on the first tee imbued Bradley with a sense of calm confidence. Though he carded two front side bogeys on the 2nd and 9th, they were offset by birdies at the 3rd and 5th, and only lost Keegan a stroke to the lead.
Standing on the 10th tee with nine potentially explosive holes to make up those two strokes, Bradley calmly made Par, then amazingly chipped in a birdie on 11 from Chipbeckistan garnering raucous cheers from all around Amen corner. in a cruel and ironic twist, those cheers actually caused Jason Dufner’s ball, which had been hanging precariously on the steep face of the rough fronting the 12th green, to roll back into the water, effectively eliminating Dufner from his chance at a Major victory yet again. Bradley went on the eagle 13 for the third time this week, and remained tied for the lead after making birdies at 15 and 16 to merely keep up. A huge birdie on 17 helped Keegan grab the lead at Augusta for the first time in his career. Keegan faced down a tough 12 foot downhill putt for Par and the lead on 18. Keegan pulled it just a smidge, but it caught the edge of the cup and dropped.
After a relatively quick visit to the scorer’s tent, Keegan returned to the 18th green to watch the leaders finish up. After pushing his drive into the trees right, Phil could only bogey 18, finishing three shots back of Keegan, while the rejuvenated Henrik Stenson barely missed his 18 foot birdie putt giving Bradley the victory. Though Tiger was not far back, only two strokes behind Bradley, the King of the Red (and Green) on this day was Keegan Bradley, your 2013 Masters Champion. The famous Green jacket would become the decoration for Bradley’s Sunday best of his Chili Red Tommy Hilfiger Kennedy Polo golf shirt, White Malcolm pants, and White Trophy Belt.
With the win, Bradley has won his second career major in only his third season on tour, and placed himself squarely on the list of players with a bright path to the Hall of Fame. He sets a standard for other golfers to model themselves after, and does so with a preppy fashion that can only be afforded by wearing Tommy Hilfiger’s line of golf apparel.
Will this be an accurate foretelling of what we are going to see next week? We’ll have to see, but I can tell you that the fashion portion of the story will play out. If you like the style, please come check it out for yourself at BeaverGolf.com, and if you are rooting for Keegan in this year’s Masters, then let’s hope the storyline comes true as well.
Fairways and Greens!