When Woodstock native and standout professional golfer Keegan Bradley notched his first victory on the PGA Tour in four years on Oct. 16, winning the Zozo Championship in Japan, it elicited a swell of emotions that were powerfully evident in a moving phone conversation with his wife Jillian that he shared on social media.
The call back home to Jupiter, Fla., initiated by Bradley’s caddie, Scotty Vail, himself teary-eyed as he handed his cell phone to Keegan, went viral, drawing nearly 500,000 views on Twitter alone:
Keegan Bradley: Oh my God, it’s so good to talk to you.
Jillian Bradley: I love you so much. We watched every second.
Keegan: (Choking back tears.) I can’t keep it together.
Jillian: I’m proud of you, honey. So proud of you.
Keegan: Love you.
Jillian: You’ve earned every single second of this. You’ve worked so hard. I’m so proud of you.
Keegan: Thanks. I miss you guys.
Jillian: I miss you, too. So proud of you.
Keegan: Thanks. Love you. I’ll call you again in a little bit, okay?
Jillian: Love you so much. Yay!
“It took me by surprise,” Keegan Bradley said of his emotional response in the brief phone chat he had with his wife after walking off the green victorious after the 72nd hole of the Zozo Championship last month. “I’ve never really had the reaction to winning on the PGA Tour — the whole moment was kind of overwhelming and to be able to FaceTime the family took me by surprise, too. It hit me all at once — I was just overwhelmed,” added the Woodstock-born-and-raised golfer.
Keegan has long credited family with being a major source of inspiration for his success at golf. Bradley’s aunt, Pat Bradley, won 31 times on the LPGA Tour and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. His father, Mark, a long-time PGA club professional now working in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, instilled a love for the game that young Keegan honed at the Woodstock Country Club in his youth. And Jillian, herself an Upper Valley native whose father, Bob Stacey, was the town manager in Hartland for 20 years prior to his retirement in 2017, is her husband’s most stalwart proponent and cheerleader. The two have known one another since their teenage years, when Jillian befriended Keegan’s sister, Madison, and married in 2016 after several years of dating.
Bradley spoke with great affection recently about his native Vermont and New England and what his roots mean for him when he’s on the annual PGA Tour grind, with its exhaustive travel demands and relentless pressures. “Jillian’s parents still live in Hartland and we’ll come up for the holidays,” Keegan offered. “And we always try to come up around the Travelers tournament in Hartford each year. We’ll spend a few weeks on each side of that in Vermont and in Boston, where my mom lives.
“We’re both super proud of where we’re from and our New England and Vermont heritage — it’s something that I carry around with me throughout the whole world,” Bradley continued, speaking on behalf of Jillian as well. “I am just so proud of where I grew up — and it’s so unique compared to the other guys. I feel like it’s an advantage that I have over everybody.”
As he customarily does, Bradley enthused about the loving support of family and the backing of his coach, caddy, and others he surrounds himself with while on the PGA circuit. “I just feel so lucky,” he offered. “The people I have around me — from my coach (Darren May) to my caddy (Scotty) to my wife Jillian — I always say to people that Jillian, and this is probably why I got so emotional on that phone call, she allows me to be the best that I can be,” Bradley said. “I don’t know if that is always true with a lot of marriages and partnerships. I just loved that phone call because she was just as big a part of that win as I was. It feels very nice to reward and honor the people around you who have sacrificed so much.”