Spitting Image: Keegan Draws Fire For Slow Play, Saliva

Photo Courtesy, AP

You play too slow, and you spit too much.  That’s the message from the golf media to Keegan Bradley after Sunday’s final round of the Northern Trust Open, during which Bradley’s overactive salivary glands and yippy pre-shot routine became as much of a story as the tournament’s dramatic ending.

Bradley finished in a tie for second at Riviera, eventually falling to Bill Haas on the second hole of a three-man playoff.  But the 2011 winner of the PGA Championship and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, who had previously been a fan favorite, has been ridiculed the past two days by the media for his “annoying” tendencies, which include a “deliberate pre-shot routine where he backed off shots three, four, five, and even more times,” and his “uncontrollable and habitual” spitting.

Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle, devoted an entire column to Bradley’s tics, calling him a “poster child for all of the game’s problems.”

Bradley plays “glacially slow,” Michaux writes, in fact, “so painfully deliberate you want to scream at the television or pray they’ll show another erectile dysfunction commercial or three before Bradley finally is ready to pull the trigger.”

As for his saliva issue, Michaux says, “Bradley is such a consistent loogey launcher that tournament officials should walk behind him ready to mark casual water. It is a tic that is as repulsive to viewers as it is inconsiderate to peers.”  Ouch.

(I recommend you read Michaux’s full column – witty and well-written).

Bradley seems like a genuinely nice kid, and –  apparently stung by all the criticism – he issued an apology for the spitting today.

“To be honest with you, I really had no idea I was doing it,” he said. “And I feel bad. I just ask everybody to just kind of bear with me as I go through this, because it’s something I’ve done without even knowing it. But I will do my best to stop. It’s something that I’m glad has come up, because I’m able to kind of nip it now.”

Let’s hope he does…and takes a few less practice swings while he’s at it.

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