Keegan Bradley’s relationship with Michael Jordan is hardly news. The New England native grew up a fan and player of both golf and basketball — a relationship that eventually led him to square off with His Airness on both the hardwood and the links.
On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Bradley breaks down his relationship with Jordan, which he says started at one of America’s most esteemed tracks.
“Yeah, the first time I met (Jordan) was at Medinah, and I’ve always said, there’s no one who loves golf more than MJ, he plays 36 holes almost every day,” Bradley said. “He loves the Ryder Cup, which is such a cool thing. He goes every year, doesn’t matter home or away.”
After their Ryder Cup meetup in 2012, a friendship formed between Bradley and Jordan over a common bond.
“It’s just another guy I met who loves golf,” Bradley said. “Loves to go out and play a match. Loves to joke around on the course. And again, that’s someone who’s your idol as a kid, and now you’re able to have a friendship with him. He’s just the greatest guy.”
But even with their rosy relationship, Bradley isn’t afraid to reveal the key to beating the GOAT in golf.
“I always say, if I’m running low and I don’t want to go to the bank, I just text MJ and ask if he wants to play a few holes,” Bradley laughed. “The thing with MJ is if you can get him down, you’ve got to beat him.”
In ESPN’s wonderful 30 for 30 on Jordan’s life, “The Last Dance,” the only theme more prevalent than Jordan’s killer instinct was his ability to create a chip on his shoulder in competition.
In Bradley’s view, so long as you can keep Jordan from earning that chip on his shoulder, you should be able to beat him.
“If you start talking and he gets excited, he’ll start pressing you,” Bradley said. “He likes to press you to get you uncomfortable, so you’ve got to get him down.”
Bradley’s strategy for keeping Jordan out of his pocket? Keeping his own mouth shut.
“Whenever I get him down, I don’t say much,” he said. “I just go about my business. I can’t pick a favorite story because there’s too many of them. It’s like how you can’t pick your favorite kid.”
If only the NBA teams of the 90s had similar intel.
You can watch the rest of Bradley’s Subpar episode below to hear more on his relationship with Jordan and why he loves playing with Phil Mickelson in team events.