Say what you will about the current state of the PGA Tour, but Keegan Bradley’s victory over Rickie Fowler this weekend was great for the game. Two struggling veterans fighting to get back into the winner’s circle was great TV. The suspense of the tournament took a back seat to cheering hard for whichever guy you were pulling for, or perhaps the suspense was heightened by it.
In reality, many of us weren’t watching live when Keegan parred 18 to beat Fowler by a shot (Rickie birdies 18!). But if you had been following throughout the weekend, you knew that Rickie was in contention, taking a lead into the final round.
Most golf fans were (well, ARE) pulling for Rickie to get back to the top, and this was his best chance in a long time. The truth is that he’s getting back to his top form after making some changes to his equipment, opting for some more forgiving irons (YES, even the Pros need forgiveness sometimes!).
But he played a somewhat mundane round on Sunday which allowed Keegan to push ahead by two after a 17th hole birdie. If you haven’t seen his post-win phone call to his wife, check it out. Both were trying to hold in their tears as they talked, to no avail.
You see, Keegan’s last win came 4 years ago at the BMW Championship. And Rickie hasn’t won since 2019, and had fallen as low as 85th at the end of last season. Whomever won was going to be relieved, to say the least.
Some will argue the opposite of my point, saying that 2 “has beens” fighting for a tournament win across the globe is bad for golf. That the LIV defectors have diluted the fields. That these two wouldn’t have been near the top if they hadn’t left the Tour.
Look. We’ll never know. What we do know is that it was fun to see. And the emotional reaction from Bradley shows how much it means to these guys. And it shows that winning matters. Not just money.