Before there was Jordan and Justin, there was Keegan and Phil. And the old pals are trying to spur one another one for strong finishes to the 2017 season.
Mickelson and Bradley have been close since at least the 2012 Ryder Cup with Mickelson serving the dual mentor/buddy function for the combustible Vermonter, who joined the Tour in 2011.
Neither Mickelson nor Bradley have had a particularly good year—heck, neither has won a PGA Tour event in the last four seasons. Mickelson has five top-10 finishes in 21 starts in 2017, Bradley, five top 10s in 28 starts, but neither have challenged for a trophy.
That said, Mickelson, undisclosed health issues behind him, is rounding into form in time for the Presidents Cup. Bradley, who didn’t make the U.S. team, needs a good week in Illinois to qualify for the Tour Championship—and thus stamp his ticket for next year’s majors.
Mickelson addressed this at the BMW Championship.
“We all go through highs and lows in this game. He and I have been on a stretch where we are not playing at our best and we are close to getting it back. I can see in it his game, I can feel in it my game and I really enjoy playing on the events with him.”
Further, Lefty said he sent his former Ryder and Presidents Cup partner something of an inspirational text before the tournament: “And I just sent him a little text,” Mickelson said.
“’let’s have a special week, we’re close, we’re playing well, let’s put it together this week.’”
Mickelson’s motivation worked, at least in round one. Bradley opened with a six-under 65. Hopefully, he keeps it up.
It’s been far too many Sundays since we’ve seen Bradley’s signature stink eye or pre-shot fidgeting on our televisions.