Bradley’s charity tournament in his hometown benefits the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund.
As a little boy, Bradley used to carry his golf bag on the bus to elementary school. That way, after school, he could play with his dad, who was a local golf pro.
A few kids laughed at him, but they probably aren’t laughing any more. For the first time since high school, he’s come back in triumph, and to pay back a debt.
"I think that the people of Woodstock and the Country Club here always believed in me more than anybody," Bradley told reporters at the tournament. "And that meant a lot to me personally. I don’t think they knew quite what was coming in the long run but they took such good care of me here. They didn’t owe me anything and they just let me come out here and play and work on my game. And I think that’s what a lot of clubs should learn from, what they did for me here at Woodstock."
Bradley ended up on the golf team at St. Johns University in New York. His coach traveled to Woodstock for the charity tournament. But he got his earliest lessons from his dad, and from his aunt, Pat Bradley. She was the same age when she won the LPGA championship as he was when he won the PGA last year. And she was looking on proudly with the rest of his family at the tournament in Woodstock.
"His dad gave him the fundamentals. His dad gave him the direction. And I think my career in the LPGA just enhanced his desire to be inside the ropes," Pat Bradley said.
After her nephew hit a few flawless practice shots, his dad stepped onto the putting green and thanked the crowd for supporting the fundraiser. Mark Bradley lives in Wyoming now where he is the golf pro and teacher at the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club. But this time last year, he picked up the phone.
"Basically what happened is, Hurricane Irene hit this place. I called Keegan. I said, ‘You need to go home,’" Bradley recalled. " ‘You need to go home and do something.’ It took a little while but here he is, Keegan Bradley."
The gallery applauded its hometown hero.
The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund expects to raise between 75 and 100 thousand dollars, with sponsorships, foursome fees, and a raffle.
And soon Keegan Bradley will be back at work on the links, preparing to play with the sport’s biggest names on the Ryder Cup team next month.