Keegan Bradley hailed the people of Northern Ireland as “extraordinary” as the US PGA Champion gears up for the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.
Bradley has Irish ancestors, and the 26 year old American admitted his visit to the Irish Open – which marks his first professional appearance in Europe - was a fantastic opportunity to take in the country of his forefathers.
“The area is unbelievable and the people are extraordinary,” said Bradley. “I didn’t expect it to be like this.
“They have been great to me. I got to see a lot of the local tourist spots – I’ve just been having a blast everywhere I’ve been. Everybody’s spirit has been so great, and it’s cool to come to a place and experience all of that.
“My family comes once a year. I don’t get to come – I’ve only come once when I was seven years old. My two uncles and my dad used to play in this tournament called the Three Brothers. They were the only ‘American Team’ – you have to have three brothers from Ireland and they play.
“My grandmother’s name is Kathleen Bradley, maiden name is O’Brien. She was so excited. My whole family were thrilled. It was a dream of mine to come over here and play in this tournament, and it was just great how it worked out.
“Hundreds of people have told me ‘welcome home’, which gives me chills every time they say it. It’s such a neat thing to be able to say to me, because I wasn’t sure how I was going to be accepted over here, and everybody has just been so great.”