US star admits he's haunted by 'brutal' Ryder Cup defeat

Ryder Cup Trophy

He was one of the star performers for the US that week but Keegan Bradley has revealed how the pain of being on the losing side in the 2012 Ryder Cup still haunts him nearly eight years on.

Speaking in the latest edition of bunkered - issue 180, out now - the American opened up on what it was like to be on the wrong side of one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time, as Jose Maria Olazabal's Europeans rallied from 10-4 down to win 14.5-13.5. 

The improbable win and Sunday fightback was immediately dubbed the 'Miracle at Medinah' and has been passed into folklore as one of the greatest-ever victories from the jaws of defeat. 

However, whilst the win was celebrated by everybody in Europe, those of a US persuasion have been left to suffer the ignominy of being the losers in one of sport's most thrilling days. 

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And, according to Bradley, the pain isn't going away any time soon.

"I think about that Sunday almost every day,” he told our sister magazine. “I think most of the guys probably do. I just remember how bummed out I felt. It was a tough deal. On Sunday night, that’s usually the night that everybody gets together, has some drinks and lets their hair down at the end of a long week. There was none of that for us.

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“The next morning, I remember getting up and getting ready to leave and they were dismantling the team room, taking down the name tags, the decorations and so on, and it was really brutal. Like, ‘ten out of ten’ brutal. And like I said, it’s something I think about pretty often because the memories are so conflicted. On the one hand, they’re incredible but then, on the other, they’re not. 

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"I often find myself thinking what it would have been like if we would have won. You’ve got to hand it to Europe. They played incredible. I mean, Ian Poulter, he just played so great. 

"I was flicking through the TV channels recently and I just happened to stumble upon highlights from that year. I won’t lie, I quickly turned it off. It’s too hard to watch.”

Keegan Bradley

Bradley was one of four rookies on the US side but was a revelation for Davis Love III's side, combining with Phil Mickelson to win in each of the opening three sessions. After being surprisingly benched on the Saturday afternoon, he was then involved in a final day drama all of his own when his opponent, Rory McIlroy, almost missed his tee time. 

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The Northern Irishman arrived at the course by police escort with only minutes to spare but, despite his less-than-ideal preparation, went on to beat Bradley 2&1 in the third match out.

To his credit, Bradley is honest enough to admit the peculiar circumstances affected him.

“It was unsettling,” he said. “I remember an official came up to me and said, ‘Hey, if Rory doesn’t show up, he’s disqualified’. I said, ‘Listen, I’m not going to forfeit this match. If he shows up late, we’ll just let the guys in front go off and we’ll go after them.’ Taking a point away from him just because he hadn’t show up on time would have been so weird and I didn’t feel good about that at all. 

"As it worked out, he showed up with something like 15 minutes to spare and there was just a lot of commotion. But hey, he played great.”

Get more!

Read the full interview with Keegan Bradley in issue 180 of bunkered, on-sale now from all good newsagents. Alternatively, subscribe and get it delivered to your door. Details here.

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