Keegan Bradley, a rookie on tour won his first PGA tournament at the 2011 Byron Nelson Classic and was in contention two weeks ago at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational before faltering with a final round 74. Little did anyone suspect that Bradley would have the resiliency to bounce back the following week to win his first major championship.
With that said, Bradley is the first PGA Tour player in history to win a major with a belly putter, a interesting topic I highlighted in a previous Won to Watch article titled “The Belly Putter Debate”. http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/06/01/won-2-watch-the-belly-putter-debate/
So does this make Bradley “The Next Great American Golfer”? Of coarse that is also up for debate but unmistakably, Bradley is proving to be a great candidate. Other candidates include Dustin Johnson, Ricky Fowler and Nick Watney, ironically all of which were upstaged by Bradley.
However, not every time a superstar is born do you always see it coming. Take for instance, John Daly, who was the 9th and final alternate at the 1991 PGA Championship when he won his first major.
So who is another American golfer on the horizon, capable of the meteoric rise of a Keegan Bradley? Dare I suggest the relatively unknown commodity, named Kyle Stanley.
Stanley has been going about his rookie season like a seasoned vet, currently ranked 47 in the FedEx Cup. Stanley also held the lead at the 2011 Honda Classic before a 3rd round 74 pulled him out of contention. Kyle then nearly got it done at the 2011 John Deere Classic before Steve Sticker closed with a miraculous birdie on the 18th hole to three peat as John Deere Champion. However, the second place finish afforded Stanley a spot in the 2011 Open Championship, where he finished a respectable T44. Most recently, Stanley closed with a final round 66 at the 2011 Greenbrier Classic to finish T9.
Now, Stanley has a nice pedigree to go with all this speculation, as he had a great collegiate career at Clemson University. After all, Stanley won the 2007 Ben Hogan Award and played alongside his compadres Dustin Johnson and Ricky Fowler in the 2007 Palmer Cup.
Granted…Stanley does not have the physical stature of a Dustin Johnson or the bravado of a Rickey Fowler, however what Stanley does have is an unassuming personality, a dose of obscurity and a world of talent, just as Keegan Bradley had before he won the 2011 PGA Championship.
About the Author
Written by High Fade
I am a PGA and European Tour golf enthusiast with a passion for writing. My goal is to provide you with insightful and informative player profiles and tournament content.