Heroic US PGA champion Keegan Bradley wants to dig up his Irish roots and make an appearance in the Irish Open.
And his legendary aunt Pat Bradley - a Hall of Fame player and the winner of six major titles - reckons it was his “Irish toughness” that helped him come back from a 15th hole triple bogey to snatch the Wanamaker Trophy from Jason Dufner after a heart-stopping play-off.
Auntie Pat, whose grandparents hailed from Ballycotton in Cork, insisted: “He showed some Bradley toughness.
“We’re an Irish family and we have that Irish toughness and he showed that today.
“I am just so very proud of him the way he fought back and brought it home.”
Pat, 60, won 31 LPGA events in a Hall of Fame career including three majors in 1986 alone.
Her mother Kathleen celebrated her wins by ringing a cow bell in their home town of Westford, Massachusetts.
The cow bell is now in the Hall of Fame but Auntie Pat grabbed a ship’s bell on Sunday night to ring in her nephew’s second tour win and his first major in his first major start.
She said: “It’s a wonderful win to honour his father, who is a PGA pro for many many years and Keegan’s honoured his dad with this win.
“I’m going to ring the bell after this.”
The Bradley clan are regular visitors to Ireland, where Pat is an honorary member of Kenmare and the Old Head of Kinsale, where some of her major trophies are on display.
Three of her six brothers - Chris, Tom and John - regularly tee it up in the annual Brothers International Golf Classic at Kenmare, winning it in 2001.
And that’s why golf’s latest major champion is keen to show his Irish cousins his skills by making an Irish Open appearance some day.
Keegan said: “I’m really proud of my Irish heritage. I have a shamrock on my bag and my logo’s a shamrock too.
“The Bradley family is intensely Irish and my aunt is very proud of her roots in Cork and so am I.
“She goes over there every year with my uncles when they play in the Brothers Tournament.
“I went over when I was about eight in 1994 but I can’t remember too much about it so I really want to go back again.
“I’d really love to return to Ireland and play in the Irish Open some day. That would be really cool.”
Bradley had many Irish friends during his college career and remembers having strong rivalry with Dubliner Neil O’Briain before moving on to the third tier Hooters Tour.
Now a professional hoping to follow in Bradley’s footsteps and make his breakthrough into the big league, O’Briain fondly remembers their clashes.
The Royal Dublin man said: “I played with Keegan a good few times in college. He played No 1 at St. John’s in Maryland and I played No 1 for Wofford College.
“It was clear that he was a serious player even in college. His ball striking was excellent and he wasn’t afraid of taking on tough shots.
“His game inside 100 yards was very solid. He is a very nice guy on and off the course, very down to earth.
“Although the two of us played different games, him being a long hitter and myself being an average to short hitter, we were very similar stroke average wise.
“It is great to see him achieve so much and it has definitely shown me that with hard work and dedication that I may be able to achieve great things in the game.”
Bradley was down to his last $1,000 when he left college but did well on the Hooters Tour and then earned his PGA Tour card by finishing 14th on the Nationwide Tour money list last season.
But he’s made an incredible start to his rookie season, winning the Byron Nelson Championship earlier this year before claiming the US PGA in his first ever appearance in a major.
O’Briain said: “I have been struggling with sponsorship, as a lot of players do, but hope to get the help I need to continue my quest for my European Tour card and success on tour next year.
“I hope to be teeing it up with Keegan again soon!”