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Reunion with LIV buddies helps spark Keegan Bradley to opening 68 at PGA


PITTSFORD, N.Y. – During simpler and more-congenial times, these practice rounds were legendary, with Phil Mickelson often leading the way. They were played at regular Tour events and majors as well, and they normally came with hushed wagers and a good amount of trash talking.

But those practice rounds that Keegan Bradley enjoyed went away with LIV Golf last year. Mickelson joined the breakaway league in June after skipping the Masters and PGA Championship and Brendan Steele, a staple of those early-week “games,” joined LIV earlier this year. Both players were promptly suspended by the Tour for violating the circuit’s conflicting-event release policy, leaving only the majors where they could rejoin Bradley for the customary rounds.

The threesome reunited this week at the PGA Championship and, at least for Bradley, it provided a spark on Day 1 at Oak Hill.

Full-field scores from the PGA Championship

“Steeley is one of my closest friends in the entire world. It’s been so great hanging with him and playing practice rounds and going to dinner and complaining about how hard the course is and stuff like that. It’s been a blast,” said Bradley, who opened in 2-under 68 Thursday. “I miss seeing a lot of guys that have gone to LIV. It’s fun to get to these majors and see them, but especially for me and Steeley, we are pretty close friends, so we have been looking forward to this week.”

It was a similar reunion for Dustin Johnson at last month’s Masters, where he was reunited with old friends following his jump to LIV Golf last year. Earlier this week, Jon Rahm seemed to speak for many when asked his thoughts on the LIV players in this field.

“I never got into the feud. I’ve never had any negative feelings towards any player that went over to LIV,” Rahm said. “In fact, I’ve mentioned many times I still play with many of them and still try to play practice rounds with Phil, played with Talor Gooch yesterday. Really doesn’t make a difference to me.”