Keegan Bradley: Performance at Ryder Cup Will Fuel Young Star to Big 2013 Season

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2012

MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Keegan Bradley of the USA celebrates a birdie putt on the ninth green during day two of the Morning Foursome Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 29, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Although he already has a major championship to his credit, Keegan Bradley is having a breakout performance in the 2012 Ryder Cup.

Through three sessions of the event, Bradley and his partner Phil Mickelson have earned three full points, each win in more impressive fashion.

The group earned the first point of the match with a 4-and-3 victory over Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia. Neither European had ever lost a team event at the Ryder Cup before Friday. The American duo then followed that up with a victory over No. 1 in the world Rory McIlroy and teammate Graham McDowell.

In the Saturday morning session, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald did not even have a chance, as Bradley and Mickelson were able to win by a dominant 7-and-6 margin. This is the largest margin of victory in the history of this competition.

While Mickelson is the more well-known player in this pairing, it is important not to understate the impact that Bradley has had this weekend. Lefty has participated in nine Ryder Cups in his career, but until these past few days, he had a 7-13-6 record in team competitions.

Bradley's shot-making ability—he contributed six birdies in the four-ball competition—is matched only by his energy. His long putt to seal the opening-round victory was followed by a tremendous celebration, and it has helped fuel all of Team USA to a big start.

The 26-year-old was relatively anonymous coming into this tournament, but that will not be the case anymore.

With the confidence he has shown this weekend, it is obvious that he is set for a big year in 2013. Bradley already has three tournament wins in his career, including the 2011 PGA Championship. He also had an impressive repeat performance at that event by taking third place at the 2012 version.

Although he tailed off in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the youngster finished the regular season eighth in total points. 

What makes Bradley so good is his ability rack up birdies. He was eighth on tour with an average of 3.91 birdies per round. He was also in the top 10 with an average of 113.1 holes per eagle. Once he gains more consistency, there will not be many people in the world that will be able to beat him.

Bradley has shown the skill. Everything else will come with age and experience. 

The New England native represents the future of golf. He is already in the top 15 in the world rankings, and only Rory McIlroy is younger among that group. 

If Keegan Bradley continues to play with the same confidence and emotion that he showed in the Ryder Cup, the sky is the limit for his career.