By Roger Schiffman PRO-FILE: AGE: 29 | 6-3 | 190 pounds | Jupiter, Fla. | DRIVER: Srixon Z545 prototype 10 degrees | BALL: Srixon Z Star XV
Hard to believe it has been four years since Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship, the first major he ever played. But who can forget his ups and downs over the final nine at Atlanta Athletic Club that week--eagle, triple bogey, birdie, birdie--to force a playoff with close friend Jason Dufner. It was Dufner who got Bradley together with veteran teacher Chuck Cook in late 2013. (Dufner also works with Cook.)"We haven't done much on Keegan's full swing," Cook says. "He hits the ball great off the tee and on long approaches. But I want him to be more aggressive with the shorter clubs." Cook says that not anchoring his putter (anchoring will be against the rules starting in 2016) has been a testy transition for Bradley. "He's conventional now, but we had to move his eyes more over the line, and that takes some getting used to. He's had great putting rounds, but he's not consistent yet."Bradley is also known for his unusual pre-shot routine: He stutter-steps from behind the ball, then regroups and repeats until he's comfortable. "He's visualizing the shot," Cook says. "He doesn't want to hit until he's ready. That's a good thing."
A BIG MAN'S SETUP
Chuck Cook, Bradley's teacher, sees Keegan's address position as near perfect. "He stacks his upper body beautifully over his lower body, with his feet a little wider than his hips," Cook says. "Because he has long arms and long legs, he has more knee flex than most tour players do, and his hands start a little lower."
EARLY HINGE? NO
It appears that Bradley cocks his wrists early in the takeaway, but Cook says that's an illusion. "It looks that way because his hands are low at address, but he's really going back in one piece and creating great width," Cook says. "He can keep his lower body stable because he's so flexible--he's lean and lanky."
Bradley creates torque by making a huge upper-body turn against a quiet lower body. "He moves his head half-a-head behind the ball," Cook says. "That results in an ascending blow for a high launch." Cook says he'd like to see Bradley's right arm closer to his body here. "His arms are a little disconnected. We're working on that."
SOME HOGAN HERE
"Halfway down, Keegan flattens the club [tipping it farther behind him] pretty dramatically," Cook says. "That's a hallmark of really good ball-strikers, like Ben Hogan." Cook notes how much of Bradley's right arm and elbow you can see under his left. "This results in a lot of clubhead lag and incredible speed."
NOT ONLY LONG
Bradley ranks second on tour in total driving, and you can see why at impact--he shows power and control. "His hands are even with the ball, but he stays behind it, which creates that upward hit with great speed," Cook says. "And if you looked from behind, his right forearm is in line with the shaft, a trait of straight hitters."
Past impact, Bradley's hands stay in front of his body, evidence of good synchronization, Cook says. "When you have a lot of lag, you need to finish left.
Keegan finishes up the plane line and to his left." Cook also notes his stability: "He's perfectly balanced at the finish, with a long left leg and a long right leg."