Bradley on hand for pancreatic tourney
Justin Nutter – The Duncan Banner
DUNCAN — Of all the celebrities on hand for Monday’s annual pancreatic cancer golf tournament, Bobby Bradley’s story may have been the most interesting.
Following his high school career, Bradley, a native of Wellington, Fla., was seemingly on the fast track to the Major Leagues. The path became clear when he was taken in the first round of the 1999 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Bradley’s plans soon encountered a big detour.
“I ended up having a bunch of surgeries,” Bradley said. “I had to have five surgeries and ended up with some nerve damage.”
The ongoing injuries and doctor visits ultimately led to the end of his baseball career, but his run as an athlete was far from over. Not long after hanging up his baseball cleats, Bradley joined a friend for a simple round of golf.
He didn’t know it at the time, but that trip to the course would ultimately lead to the start of his new career.
“It’s kind of a funny story about how I got into the sport of long drive,” he said. “My scouting director with the Pirates invited me to go out and play golf one day. After nine holes, we were grabbing a bite to eat and he said there was a long drive qualifier for the RE/MAX finals. I ended up entering the tournament and, three days later, I won it.”
Not long after that event, Bradley played in his first professional competition and qualified for the finals. More than a decade later, he is a mainstay in professional long drive competitions. The former baseball prospect is now a four-time RE/MAX finalist and said he likes to use his talents for charitable causes across the country. He’s done charity work with former Oklahoma quarterback Jason White – a participant in Monday’s tournament – and he said White helped him get involved with this year’s event.
“I hit for Jason last week, and I’m honored to be out here raising money for pancreatic cancer today,” he said. “I just try to raise as much money as I can, give away gifts and prizes and provide some entertainment for the players.”
Tournament players had the opportunity to pay Bradley $100 to tee off for them on one of the holes at The Territory, and the he said the results were great. Before the tournament began, he said he hoped to raise $10,000. He was halfway to his goal less than two hours into the tournament and, when it was all said and done, he passed the target number by a considerable margin.
“We ended up raising $12,400,” he said.
Bradley added there are several things that can affect his drives, including wind, weather and course layout. Fortunately, he said Monday’s conditions were as good as he could have asked for, and it led to some of the longest drives he’s ever hit.
“I hit one about 470 yards,” he said. “It’s probably one of the farthest balls I’ve ever hit in my life. My longest ball is 479 in Cabo San Lucas, but today, I have practically every variable. We’re just having some fun and it’s for a great cause.”