US PGA champion Keegan Bradley is believed to be thinking seriously of digging up his Irish roots with an appearance in next month’s Irish Open.
According to our sources, the 25-year old American has made enquiries about taking on fellow major winners Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington at Royal Portrush from June 28 - July 1.
Calls and emails to Bradley’s publicist have so far met with no response but after winning his first major in Atlanta last year, Bradley said: “I’d really love to return to Ireland and play in the Irish Open some day. That would be really cool.
“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 auntie Pat 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 in Kenmare. I went over when I was about eight but I can’t remember too much about it so I really want to go back again.”
His aunt Pat Bradley, a Hall of Fame legend and with six LPGA majors, reckons it was his Irish “toughness” that helped him beat Jason Dufner in sudden death in Atlanta last Augusta.
Auntie Pat, whose grandparents hailed from Ballycotton, said: “He showed some Bradley toughness. We’re an Irish family and we have that Irish toughness and he showed that today [the US PGA]. I am just so very proud of him the way he fought back and brought it home.”
His Irish ‘homecoming’ will add some extra spice to what promises to be a bumper Irish Open in front of sell-out crowds.
The American will also get to see a familiar face as he lives just across the river from US Open champion McIlroy in Jupiter, Florida.
His appearance would guarantee at least five major winners in the field for the first Irish Open held in Northern Ireland since 1953.