“I’m going to be playing a lot with Keegan, it’s no secret here,” said Mickelson, who will make US Ryder Cup history by playing for a ninth time, and will partner with Bradley in the second foursomes match Friday morning against Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.
“It’s fun playing with Keegan because this is his first event, first team event. He is so excited, and that exuberance and energy that he brings, you feed off of it.”
Bradley didn’t play in the Walker Cup, and hasn’t played in the Presidents Cup. But he is no stranger to US team play, having watched his aunt, Pat Bradley, compete in multiple Solheim Cups. One of the first things he did this week was take a picture of his golf bag, with his name and “USA” featured prominently, and text it to Pat.
“Just to get her excited,” he said. “She brings an intensity to the game, and that’s what I hope she passed on to me.”
Love wants that from all four of his rookies, knowing that one-third of his team might not have any Ryder Cup experience, but with all four ranked high (Simpson eighth, Dufner ninth, Snedeker 10th, Bradley 14th), expectations won’t be lowered.
“They may be rookies here at the Ryder Cup, but they’re major championship winners, they’re FedEx Cup winners,” Love said. “They’ve done a lot, they’ve played a lot of great golf, and they’re really comfortable, confident guys.”
Having veterans around can certainly help the rookies from a preparation standpoint. How much rest should they get? How nervous will they be? Soon, they’ll be thrown into the mix, carrying the hopes of a nation on their accomplished shoulders. It’s an honor and a responsibility that none take lightly, but it’s also a moment that can’t be duplicated until their first Ryder Cup match arrives.
Bradley has already seen a sliver of it. In fact, it’s been that way ever since he and his teammates arrived at Medinah Tuesday — a loud, energetic welcome that isn’t terribly different from the ones in 1999.
“Oh my God, I’ve had the most fun I’ve maybe ever had on a golf course,” Bradley said. “I kind of expect that to happen every day this week.”