Keegan Bradley Starts Homecoming Early With ‘Surreal’ First Pitch At Fenway

Bradley has quite the week a first pitch and the U.S. Open

by

June 15

BROOKLINE — Keegan Bradley can hit a golf ball just shy of 400 yards, but for some reason being 60 feet away from home plate prompts more nerves than any tee shot.

Bradley, who graduated from Hopkinton (Massachusetts) High School after growing up in the golf-friendly climate of Vermont, started his homecoming tour a few days early as he threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on Tuesday before his beloved Boston Red Sox hosted the Oakland Athletics.

“Well, I was such a nervous wreck yesterday. I kept telling my wife, ‘Why did I agree to do this?'” Bradley joked Wednesday at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., before competing in the 2022 U.S. Open.

“Things were getting fuzzy. That’s how uncomfortable I was,” Bradley added. “I was proud of the strike I threw — or the ball I threw. Sometimes in my life there are moments that are shocking, and being out on that mound at Fenway Park with my family there and playing here is really surreal. Truly it is.”

Bradley would later correct himself about one thing.

“Yeah, it was a strike,” Bradley said, prompting a crowd of laughter. “I said, I couldn’t even see it it was going so fast. So I think it was a strike, yeah.”

Bradley, whose wife’s uncle is Red Sox legend Carlton Fisk, or “Uncle Pudge” as Bradley referred to, also threw out the first pitch in 2011. It was the same year he won the biggest golf tournament of his career, the PGA Championship, but the toss from the Fenway dirt more than a decade later provided a much different moment.

“What a fun night,” Bradley said. “I’ve thrown the first pitch one other time, but I hadn’t even met my wife yet, no kids, so to be out there with them, be on the field and have 20-plus family members there it was really, really fun.”

Bradley has shared how he was a nervous wreck in that 2011 moment, too, as the Red Sox hosted the New York Yankees. It didn’t help that he received conflicting advice from former Red Sox pitchers Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester on whether he should throw from the windup.

Bradley acknowledged how Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki, standing at 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds —  a much larger backstop than the 5-foot-8 target Dustin Pedroia he threw to in 2011 — fortunately did not try to throw him off his game. A handful of Bradley?s friends did, however.

“I was texting a few buddies that I know that play baseball. The one guy said, just get on the mound and throw it as hard as you can. I go, that’s horrible advice,” Bradley explained. “That would be like you getting on the first tee and me just saying tee it up and swing as hard as you can. It was horrible.”

With one memorable moment in the past, Bradley now will turn his focus to creating another one on the links. He referred to The Country Club as New England’s “crown jewel.” Bradley will start his pursuit of the U.S. Open on Thursday at 1:47 p.m. ET with Marc Leishman and Aaron Wise.

Bradley’s excitement is just as noticeable as his love of New England sports.

“I’m definitely biased in this regard, but I consider Boston to be the best sports city in the world, or the country at least,” Bradley said. “They’re going to be loud. They got Game 6 (on Thursday). What a time to be in Boston. I wish I wasn’t playing in the tournament so I could go have fun with all these sporting events, but really, really awesome.”

You can follow along throughout the U.S. Open with NESN?s coverage from The Country Club here.

Thumbnail photo via Scott Taetsch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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