Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson draw first blood at Ryder Cup

Ross Kinnaird - Getty Images

The U.S. took an early 1-0 lead Friday at the Ryder Cup, thanks to the clutch play of rookie Keegan Bradley and his mentor,

Forget the blossoming bromance between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson are golf’s new power couple.

Throughout their 4 & 3 win over Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, the Ryder Cup rookie and his mentor exchanged fist pumps, chest bumps, and butt slaps to get the U.S. on the board with the first win of Friday’s foursome matches. The mutual admiration society was in full bloom after Bradley closed out the previously undefeated foursome duo (4-0 in Ryder Cup play until running into the Bradley-Mickelson buzz saw) with just another clutch birdie putt from downtown to clinch the win on the par-4 15th hole.

As Mickelson had predicted earlier in the week, Bradley was one of the Ryder Cup debutants to infuse energy and enthusiasm into the old guys.

“He was building me up and getting me ready and I had to kinda hold him back because he was...just ready to get on the first tee,” a jubilant Mickelson told ESPN with his new best friend looking on admiringly. “You could see in the morning he was just really fired up. He played some of the best golf and to be his parter was an awesome experience.

“I love, love playing with this man,” added Mickelson, who has taken the 2011 PGA champ under his wing since he exploded onto the PGA Tour last season. The two play practice rounds whenever they can. “He’s just so fun, loves the game, and plays with such excitement.

"And man can he roll the rock,” Mickelson said about his belly-putting partner as the two dissolved into laughter.

For sure, Bradley, who said prior to the matches that playing with Mickelson would be a dream come true, returned the compliment.

“I feel so comfortable out here with Phil because I know wherever I hit it, he’s going to be able to get it up and down or close for me,” Bradley, who had the honors on the first tee and absolutely bombed his first-ever Ryder Cup drive down the middle of the fairway. “It was one of the most memorable days of my life so far.”

Mickelson and Bradley will take on Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in the second match of the afternoon four-ball matches. The Northern Irishmen also won their foursome contest, 1-up, over Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker.

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