Saturday, July 13, 2024

2025 U.S. Ryder Cup captain: Why Keegan Bradley, not Tiger Woods to lead team?

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Keegan Bradley was announced Monday as the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup captain. He will lead the American side against the Europeans as the U.S. looks to avenge its loss last year at Marco Simone outside Rome, Italy.

Here are some answers to questions you might have about the future matches and Bradley (click here for our most recent Ryder Cup 101).

When is the 2025 Ryder Cup?

The biennial competition will take place Sept. 26-28 on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York.


Who is Keegan Bradley?

Personally, he’s a 38-year-old, married (Jillian) PGA Tour professional with two kids. He was born June 7, 1986, in Woodstock, Vermont and currently resides in Jupiter, Florida. Bradley is a die-hard Boston sports fans who does have some N.Y. ties as he played golf at St. John’s University. His aunt is World Golf Hall of Fame member Pat Bradley.

Professionally, he is a six-time Tour winner, most recently at the 2023 Travelers Championship, where he won his “hometown” major. He also has a real major to his credit. Bradley, as a Tour rookie making his major debut, won the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in a playoff over Jason Dufner.


What is Bradley’s Ryder Cup history?

He has twice played for Team USA, qualifying in 2012 and being a captain’s pick in ’14. The U.S. lost both matches with the ‘12 edition known as the European’s “Miracle at Medinah,” in which the away team overcame a 10-6 deficit in Sunday singles to prevail. Bradley went 3-1-0 that week, losing his singles match to Rory McIlroy. He went 1-2-0 in ’14 as the U.S. lost by five points in Gleneagles, Scotland.

Recently, Bradley has been known more for being the odd man out. He was a strong consideration for a wildcard pick last year but didn’t get the call he wanted from then captain Zach Johnson, as shown during Netflix’s second season of “Full Swing.”


Why was he chosen to be the next U.S. captain?

Let’s come back to that one and first address the one below:


Why isn’t Tiger Woods the 2025 captain at Bethpage?

It seemingly made sense. Woods, who would be 49 at the time of next year’s matches, won the 2002 U.S. Open on the Black Course. Once N.Y. darling Phil Mickelson, who bolted to LIV Golf a couple of years ago, was out of the captaincy mix, all eyes were on Tiger. But after publicly hemming and hawing in recent months, Woods declined. We’ll know more on the reasons why in the coming days, as he is scheduled to compete in The Open and will meet with media, but Woods is entrenched in the Tour-Saudi PIF dealings and is trying to squeeze out any remaining playing days he has.


Bradley was tabbed as the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, a wild-card pick by the PGA that could prove to be genius.

So, back to Bradley: Why him?

The U.S. Ryder Cup team has long been accused of being a boys’ club. After Tom Watson’s disastrous stint in ’14, the leaders were Davis Love III (again), Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Johnson. Love and Stricker won (both at home), while Furyk and Johnson lost (both on the road). All were part of the post-2014 task force and none were a surprise. Self-admittedly, Bradley wasn’t one of the boys. But following a disheartening loss in Italy, the PGA wanted someone outside the box, someone with fire and spirit to match the New York intensity. That was Bradley. Ironically, Bradley’s chief Ryder Cup success came as Mickelson’s partner, going 4-1-0 together.


Who was passed over for U.S. captaincy?

Some of the leading candidates were Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Stewart Cink. All would have been considered safe choices by the PGA, slightly older players with more Ryder Cup experience and who were more connected to the bureaucracy.


Will Woods ever be captain?

The 2027 matches are at Adare Manor in Ireland. Woods, a three-time Open champion, has business connections with the site’s owner, J.P. McManus. It would make more sense for Woods to be captain there (where he’d also try to end a U.S. road losing streak dating to 1993) than in 2029 at Hazeltine in Minnesota.


Could Bradley be a playing captain in 2025?

He’s eligible to do both and nothing, outside his own decision, could prevent him from either qualifying or picking himself. Bradley is currently 24th on the U.S. points list with qualifying criteria yet to be revealed. While Woods was a playing captain for the victorious 2019 U.S. Presidents Cup team, there hasn’t been a Ryder Cup playing captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963 (the U.S. won, 23-9).

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