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Family First: Woodstock Golfer Keegan Bradley Returns Home With Family Priorities In Mind

  • Keegan Bradley picks up his nine-month-old son Logan after putting on a golf clinic to open his annual Charity Golf Classic at the Woodstock Country Club in Woodstock, Vt., Monday, August 27, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Professional golfers Keegan Bradley, middle, and Jamie Lovemark, right, warm up their swings while Brendan Steele, left, addresses onlookers and participants in Bradley's annual Charity Golf Classic at the Woodstock Country Club in Woodstock, Vt., Monday, August 27, 2018. The event benefits the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and the University of Vermont Cancer Center and Vermont Childrens Hospital. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Spectators and Charity Golf Classic participants follow a ball hit by professional golfer Keegan Bradley at the opening of the annual event at the Woodstock Country Club in Woodstock, Vt., Monday, August 27, 2018. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and the University of Vermont Cancer Center and Vermont Childrens Hospital. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 8/27/2018 11:57:02 PM
Modified: 8/28/2018 9:25:44 AM

Woodstock — As Keegan Bradley talked his way through the clinic that precedes his annual charity golf tournament at Woodstock Country Club on Monday morning, one little voice cut occasionally through the chatter. Bradley’s infant son, Logan, squealed under the attention of his mother, Jillian, and numerous other well-wishers.

Things have changed considerably for the Bradleys, who welcomed Logan to the world last Nov. 13. The whole family made the trip north for the seventh Keegan Bradley Charity Golf Classic at the former Woodstock High golfer’s home course, and there were moments when the youngest Bradley drew as much notice as his father.

“It’s hard; it’s really, really difficult,” Bradley said about the reordering of his personal priorities. “Our wives really have to pick up the slack for us, because even if they’re there at a tournament, we’re gone most of the day. They’re the real ones that have lives that change dramatically, so we’re so thankful for that.”

Monday brought Bradley again back home, where many friends still reside. The 32-year-old grew up in Woodstock and attended Woodstock High through his junior year before moving to Massachusetts to complete high school, heading off to St. John’s University for college and then on to professional golf.

The tournament, tied to the week of the PGA Tour’s Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston, has always been a time of reunion for both Bradleys. Two of Bradley’s best friends on the tour, Brendan Steele and Jamie Lovemark, also made it back, with Steele additionally adjusting the role of new dad to 10-month-old daughter Victoria.

“It’s nice that we’re in a position where they can travel with us quite a bit,” Steele said. “For me, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on her growing up, which is really nice. I don’t think that I would be very comfortable traveling without them. It’s really nice for me to have them along.”

Professional golf is largely a year-round pursuit with few long breaks. Even though the current PGA Tour season is on its last legs, entering the second round of the four-round FedEx Cup playoffs, the next season will fire up in early October, right after the Ryder Cup.

Golfers won’t have much down time moving from one schedule to the next. Bradley played the first three events of the 2018-19 slate last October, giving himself a good start toward his current playoff standing.

Having Logan hasn’t changed Bradley’s tournament-playing schedule much … yet.

“You definitely think more about playing a little less or maybe play more of the local tournaments,” said Bradley, who resides in Jupiter, Fla., now. “Maybe an event in Florida that I wouldn’t normally play, maybe you play in that one.

“It’s definitely a huge adjustment. After we play all day, we used to come home and would kind of lay down on the couch and rest up. Now, you’ve got to come home and do a lot more stuff. It’s definitely a big adjustment, and it’s hard to balance it, but it’s so great to have them there. Now, when I’m at tournaments and they’re not there, I’m bummed.”

Bradley’s competitive priority remains reaching the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta. He’ll need to be in the top 30 of the FedEx Cup points standings in order to qualify; he sits at 47th following Sunday’s tie for 34th place with five others, including Lovemark, at the Northern Trust in Paramus, N.J.

Bradley let opportunity slip at Ridgewood Country Club, following a 9-under-par 62 on Saturday — his best round of the season and one of the best of his career — with a 7-over 78 on Sunday that led to a drop of more than 30 places in the tourney standings. Answering a question at the pre-tourney clinic, Bradley said he deals with nerves on a “case-by-case” basis and genuinely feels “totally fine” in nervous moments.

Even by those standards, Bradley said Sunday was hard to explain.

“There’s so much to play for the rest of the year,” said Bradley, who held second place at Paramus through three rounds. “One good week, one good round on Sunday, can change your whole year. … We’ve got a big couple of weeks ahead of us for us three guys. This is the time to go out and play good golf. That can make our next year a lot better.

“I got out there on Sunday, and it just wasn’t there. It’s just one of those things in golf that’s mind-boggling. You don’t get it. I was through nine holes and was shell-shocked. But that’s how it is; I’m proud that I put myself in the final group again, in a bigger tournament, on Sunday. Next time, I’ll be better equipped to handle that.”

The parent stuff is coming along. Keegan and Jillian mugged with Logan on Woodstock’s practice green for photographs after the clinic before giving their infant son a few playful tosses into the air.

Logan, of course, squealed.

Divots: Bradley said his tournament was expected to top the $1 million mark in charitable earnings on Monday. Bradley started the event in 2012 in response to townwide damage from Tropical Storm Irene. He has since earmarked much of the funds raised to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation’s support of the University of Vermont Cancer Center and Vermont Children’s Hospital. … Some question remains on when next year’s Woodstock charity tournament may be held now that the PGA Tour is abandoning TPC Boston, reducing the FedEx Cup playoffs to three weeks and ending its 2018-19 schedule by late August. The move leaves mid-June’s Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands outside of Hartford, Conn., as the tour’s only New England date. Ben Harrison, Bradley’s agent, said planning for the next Keegan Bradley Golf Classic won’t begin for at least another month. … Bradley and his mates usually take swings during the clinic from strips of artificial turf, but Lovemark accepted a dare from Bradley to strike a ball from the Woodstock practice green without taking a divot. Using a wedge, and with Woodstock head professional Matthew Closter watching, Lovemark picked the ball clean without leaving a mark.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.




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