Pat Bradley, the Golfer Who Put a Cowbell in the Hall of Fame

Pat Bradley hits the ball during the U.S. Women''s Open in Crooked Stick, Indiana.
 Gary Newkirk / Getty Images

Pat Bradley was one of the best players from one of the most competitive eras in LPGA Tour history. Her wins came over a 20-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, but Bradley's most productive years were in the 1980s. Bradley automatically qualified for membership in the World Golf Hall of Fame when she won her 30th LPGA tournament in 1991.

  • Date of birth: March 24, 1951
  • Place of birth: Westford, Mass.

Number of Tour Wins for Pat Bradley

  • LPGA Tour victories: 31 (listed below)
  • Major championship wins: 6

Bradley's wins in majors were the 1980 du Maurier Classic (then called the Peter Jackson Classic), the 1981 U.S. Women's Open, 1985 and 1986 du Mauriers, 1986 LPGA Championship and 1986 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Awards and Honors for Bradley

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Vare Trophy (low scoring average), 1986, 1991
  • LPGA Player of the Year Award winner, 1986, 1991
  • Leader, LPGA money list, 1986, 1991
  • Member, U.S. Solheim Cup team, 1990, 1992, 1996
  • Captain, U.S. Solheim Cup team, 2000
  • Recipient, Patty Berg Award, 2001 (the award is given by the LPGA to a person who "exemplifies diplomacy, sportsmanship, goodwill and contributions to the game of golf")

Biography of Pat Bradley

There's a cowbell in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and Pat Bradley is the reason why. When Bradley won her first LPGA Tour event in 1976, her mother, back home in New England, stepped out on the family's back porch and celebrated by clanging a cowbell. And Mom did the same thing for every win Bradley had on the LPGA, 30 more of them. After each, the ringing of the bell commenced. When Bradley's career ended, the cowbell was retired, too, to its current home at the Hall of Fame.

Bradley picked up golf at age 11. She won the New Hampshire Amateur title in 1967 and 1969, and the New England Amateur in 1972-73. She played college golf at Florida International University, where she was All-American in 1970.

Bradley joined the LPGA Tour in 1974 and got her first win at the Girl Talk Classic in 1976 (she also finished second six times that year).

Her breakout year was 1978, when she won three times. Bradley's most productive years came in the early to mid-1980s. She led the LPGA in wins in 1983 (four) and 1986 (five). Her first win in a major championship was at the 1980 du Maurier Classic, then she added the 1981 U.S. Women's Open and 1985 du Maurier. Bradley just missed another major, falling to Juli Inkster in a playoff at the 1984 Nabisco Dinah Shore.

But 1986 is the year for which Bradley will forever be remembered. That year, she won three of the four LPGA majors - the du Maurier (beating Ayako Okamoto in a playoff), Kraft Nabisco Championship, and LPGA Championship. She almost claimed a single-season grand slam: In the other major that year, the U.S. Women's Open, Bradley tied for fifth place. Not surprisingly, Bradley won the money title and scoring title that year, as well.

In 1988, Bradley was diagnosed with Graves' Disease, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid. She played 17 tournaments, but made the cut in only eight. But she returned to form in 1989, winning once, with another five runner-up finishes. Bradley was given the Ben Hogan Award, recognizing golfers who come back from adversity, by the Golf Writers Association of America. (She has also served as an honorary director of the Thyroid Association of America.)

Three more wins followed in 1990. Her last big year was 1991, when Bradley won four times, captured her second money and scoring titles, and also was named Player of the Year for a second time.

Then Bradley's career went into a steady decline. She was winless the following three LPGA seasons and had no more Top 10 finishes on the money list. The last of her LPGA victories came in 1995.

Bradley played in the first Solheim Cup, in 1990, and in two more (1992 and 1996), and also captained the American team at the 2000 Solheim Cup.

According to the World Golf Hall of Fame, "during her prime, Bradley competed in 627 tournaments, posting 312 top-10 finishes, with 208 of those in the top five."

Quote, Unquote

  • Pat Bradley: "Commitment was the key. You can have success, failure, setback, and defeat, and rise above it."
  • "Every ounce of me is out there trying to be the best." - Bradley

Pat Bradley Trivia

  • Pat Bradley was the first LPGA player to cross the $2 million, $3 million and $4 million milestones in career earnings.
  • Bradley was the second golfer in LPGA Tour history to post a score of 28 over nine holes, which, at the time she did it in 1984, was the tour record. That record held until 2005.
  • She is one of four golfers in LPGA history to win three majors in a single season.
  • Bradley's nephew, Keegan Bradley, won the 2011 PGA Championship.
  • In her hometown of Westford, Mass., there is a road - the Pat Bradley Highway - named in her honor.

List of Pat Bradley's Pro Tournament Wins

These are the 31 tournaments Bradley won the LPGA Tour:

  • 1976 Girl Talk Classic
  • 1977 Bankers Trust Classic
  • 1978 Lady Keystone Open
  • 1978 Hoosier Classic
  • 1978 Rail Charity Classic
  • 1980 Greater Baltimore Golf Classic
  • 1980 Peter Jackson Classic
  • 1981 Women's Kemper Open
  • 1981 U.S. Women's Open
  • 1983 Mazda Classic of Deer Creek
  • 1983 Chrysler-Plymouth Charity Classic
  • 1983 Columbia Savings Classic
  • 1983 Mazda Japan Classic
  • 1985 Rochester International
  • 1985 du Maurier Classic
  • 1985 LPGA National Pro-Am
  • 1986 Nabisco Dinah Shore
  • 1986 S&H Golf Classic
  • 1986 LPGA Championship
  • 1986 du Maurier Classic
  • 1986 Nestle World Championship
  • 1987 Standard Register Turquoise Classic
  • 1989 AI Star/Centinela Hospital Classic
  • 1990 Oldsmobile LPGA Classic
  • 1990 Standard Register Turquoise Classic
  • 1990 LPGA Corning Classic
  • 1991 Centel Classic
  • 1991 Rail Charity Golf Classic
  • 1991 Safeco Classic
  • 1991 MBS LPGA Classic
  • 1995 HealthSouth Inaugural