Keegan Bradley, the poster child for anchored putting before Adam Scott won the Masters with a broomstick, will belly up to his long wand at the Humana Challenge this week and for the foreseeable future, just as he has since the early days of his pro career.
In fact, though the USGA and R&A have outlawed the stroke he uses to maneuver his Odyssey White Hot XG Sabertooth starting in 2016, the diehard Red Sox fan apparently subscribes to Boston World Series champion outfielder Shane Victorino’s "every little thing gonna be all right" theory of competition.
"To be honest with you, I'm not that worried about it," Bradley, who has been the target of cheating charges by spectators unclear on the concept, told The Sports Xchange’s Tom LaMarre on Monday. "A lot of people think I will be [upset by the pending ban], but I feel fine.
"It's disappointing, but the USGA makes the rules, so we've got to follow them," Bradley said, noting that he had two years to make the switch. "I'll be working every day [of the] offseason, trying to work something in."
In the meantime, the three-time PGA Tour winner has had to prepare for Thursday’s launch of his 2014 season without the benefit of counsel, as his mentor Phil Mickelson is otherwise engaged this week.
Bradley, No. 22 in the world as he starts the erstwhile Bob Hope Classic at PGA West, did not have his left-hand man to pick his pocket ahead of the event. With Mickelson and his new driver taking on Rory McIlroy and other luminaries in Abu Dhabi this week, the 27-year-old New England native won’t be lighter in the wallet after practice rounds.
"I wish I could say he's joking around, but I don't ever [beat him]," Bradley told LaMarre about his pal's propensity to school his young charges by taking their cash.
On the other hand, though he won’t be fattening Phil’s bank account, Bradley was clear that the pre-tourney games with his Ryder Cup partner were extremely beneficial to his game, especially as a newbie in the big leagues.
"It's not really a practice round. You feel like you're ... in a tournament," he said. "But it can be good for you, with everything putted into the hole."
Mickelson, who heading into October’s Presidents Cup matches tutored eventual 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth in the lucrative or costly ways of practice-week golf (and lost a few bucks to his new protege), delights in coaching the next generation of Phils and Tigers.
The relationship flows both ways, as Bradley’s youthful enthusiasm clearly energized his Hall of Fame partner during the their 3-0 run together during the 2012 Ryder Cup. But Bradley has been known to gush unabashedly about his regard for the elder statesman.
"I love -- love! -- playing with this man," he rhapsodized after the power couple steamrolled their way to two wins on the opening day of play at Medinah Country Club. "He's just so much fun, loves the game, and plays with such excitement. And, man, can he roll the rock."
Bradley took his schooling from a pre-2011 PGA Championship practice round with his hero all the way to a playoff win over Jason Dufner in his first-ever major tourney start, and Monday he was again singing Mickelson’s praises.
"Phil has been a huge help to me," he said. "He's one of my good friends out here. We've partnered up a bunch in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup. He's taught me a lot."