Keegan Bradley sent a few late night text messages Friday to his buddy Michael Jordan — after the golfer found himself stuck in a mental rut during the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill — hoping to pick up some motivation from the former NBA star. The ultimate competitor's simple message to Bradley was simply "play much more cocky."
The simple but direct message seemed to have resonated after Bradley made a charge up the leaderboard in Saturday's third round with a 6-under-par 66 to get to 7-under for the tournament.
“I was talking to ‘MJ’ a bunch this off”‘season, and he was telling me to play much more cocky,’’ Bradley said. “He wants me to play with a lot more aggression and be cocky and just pretend like I’m playing him, which is normally a pretty good beating.
"I texted him [Friday] night and told him I [am going to do] what he was saying for the entire round [Saturday]. I just was going out there and pretended I was him."
The little pep talk resulted in eight birdies as Bradley jumped into contention for Sunday's final round.
"He just wanted me to be more cocky out there, more aggressive, and I’m learning through him what the mental side of what he was thinking, and that’s a big help to me," Bradley said. "I kept telling myself out there that I hit these shots a million times in practice, so let’s just do it again, and I really didn’t miss hit a shot all day."
Bradley, who hit all 14 fairways yesterday, said Jordan "uses examples where times I have been ... sometimes a little passive."
"[Saturday] and [Friday] the last nine holes I felt like I was being cocky and carrying myself a little different," Bradley said.
So how does Bradley — who says he gives Jordan five shots a side — do when he tees up with his psychological motivator in Jupiter, Fla. where they both have homes?
"Definitely easiest money I've ever made," Bradley said about playing the world's fiercest competitor.