On Tuesday night, I drove through Palm Desert to meet some friends at a popular bar near the courses hosting the Bob Hope. I arrived, took my seat and greeted two PGA Tour rookies occupying the table. One was a name everyone has heard of, a kid that is expecting great things in 2011. He's tall, confident and enjoying the pro life.
The other wasn't nearly as boisterous. It was 24-year-old Keegan Bradley, a rookie this season after finishing seventh on the Nationwide Tour money list a season ago. His first start was at the Sony Open where he missed the cut, and as the tour pros were sipping water, passing the time before their Wednesday morning tee times, Bradley was talking about what he might do with his time off during some of the big events.
Thing is, if Bradley keeps playing like this, he won't have to worry. Through three rounds at the Bob Hope, the St. John's graduate is 15-under, three shots back of the leaders and in a great position to pick up one of the most comforting things a rookie can possess early in the season; a fat check in January.
A lot of the young golfers these days let you know how great they are, but it was nice to see a kid like Bradley not do this. An east coast kid, Bradley rolled his eyes in disgust when I asked him about the Patriots losing to the Jets. He shot hoops and played pool with the rest of us before he had to retire to his life of four-star hotels and perfectly manicured golf courses.
It's funny, on Tuesday Bradley was talking about an early trip to Vegas if he didn't get in the Waste Management Open. Now, three days later, he is thinking about a whole other Vegas, as he chasing Jhonattan Vegas for the next two rounds.
Keegan seems like the type of kid you like rooting for, and during the weekend, that'll be my job. We aren't supposed to cheer in the press box, but on your couch, watching golf, it's a little different. It's hard not to like the humble guys that let their golf clubs do the talking. So far, Bradley's sticks are doing a very nice job of that.