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Keegan Bradley Breaks American Major Championshp Drought at PGA Championship

American's Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner were the unlikely finalists at the 93rd PGA Championship. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

The PGA Championship has a long history of producing unheralded, unlikely, or unknown champions.  Jeff Sluman, John Daly, Mark Brooks, Rich Beem, and Martin Kaymer are all part of the who’s WHO?? of PGA champions.  Add 2011 champion Keegan Bradley to that list. Bradley outdueled equally unlikely contender Jason Dufner in a three hole playoff to hoist the Wanamaker trophy.

Bradley’s victory snaps a six major drought for Americans.  Plenty of foreigners made valiant charges, but Bradley and Dufner were the unlikely duo left standing after 72 holes of regulation.  Equally unlikely was Bradley’s appearance in the three hole playoff.  After making a triple bogey at the 15th hole, Bradley trailed Dufner by five shots with three holes to play.  Bradley made gutsy birdies on 16 and 17 while Dufner bogeyed 15, 16, and 17.

Most casual fans probably tuned out Friday when Tiger Woods missed the cut, but the final major of 2011 proved to be the most dramatic of them all.  The two protagonists, Dufner and Bradley, will be marginalized very differently by golf analysts.  Dufner will be described as a winless but gutsy 34 year old journeyman who will probably never contend in another major.  Bradley, the nephew of LPGA hall of famer Pat Bradley, is a 25 year old rookie who is seen as one of the rising stars on the PGA tour.

As for Tiger, this is the third straight year he failed to capture a major.  At 35 it is unfair to close the book on Eldrick Woods, but we definitely need to welcome the next generation with open arms.

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