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"We had this ongoing bet through the course of the season where every stroke under par was like five or 10 bucks," Curran says.
The matches were almost always tight. "It was a bet we could have without someone getting beat up," Curran says. "He hit it long back then, but we were competitors. We weren't ogling over each other's games. We wanted to beat each other's asses."
They loved their hearty New England heritage too, the golf played under gray skies, the accents as thick as clam chowder. "We hated the people who would escape New England and go down to the Leadbetter Academy and go to high school in Florida," Curran says. "You play the cards you're dealt. Everybody down South has that mentality that the weather today is nice and tomorrow will be too. Back home [in New England], if you had a nice day, you were getting it done because you didn't know when the next good one was coming."
After college—Bradley at St. John's, Curran at Vanderbilt—they finally gave in and joined the professional golf parade and moved to Jupiter, bringing their Puritan pride to the Sunshine State.
"Keegan is cautiously shy," Diovisalvi says. "He fits in with everybody. He's the nicest guy, but he doesn't go out at night. He calls me and says, 'What do I eat? What's the right prescription to get my food to sustain my rounds?'
"I heard that passion a long time ago," adds Diovisalvi, who worked with Vijay Singh on his ride to No. 1. "I really believe that there are very few individuals who can focus on a goal and set the bar that high. Keegan has the ability to focus."
And so the New Englander does, often playing in the red and white of St. John's and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on multigrain bread, almonds, raisins, peanuts, trail mix and two Clif Bars. Bradley says he has never felt more comfortable or fit.
It's Saturday now, and Bradley is on another leader board at the Nelson. His round over, he hugs Peggy Nelson, who is seated beneath an umbrella near the 18th green. He signs autographs for fans who don't have to ask his name. What a difference a year makes.
And what a difference a month makes. How much better can it get for Dufner, the 14th-ranked player in the world? Before the Ryder Cup he'll have three chances to pick off a major at courses (Olympic, Lytham and Kiawah) that should favor one of the game's best ball strikers and wind players.
"I love the setup of the U.S. Open," said Dufner, whose best finish in five Open appearances is 33rd, at Pebble Beach in 2010. "I think it suits my style of golf, and I think I could play well."