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Keegan Bradley named U.S. Ryder Cup captain in surprise announcement

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Keegan Bradley, and *not* Tiger Woods, will captain the U.S. Ryder Cup team at Bethpage Black.

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Just as we all predicted, the U.S. Ryder Cup team will be captained at Bethpage Black by a beloved character who promises to inject some serious energy into the Long Island faithful.

And just as precisely none of us predicted, that captain will not be Tiger Woods.

After months of speculation surrounding Woods’ candidacy for the Ryder Cup slot, Keegan Bradley will instead captain the U.S. side at Bethpage, the U.S. Ryder Cup committee said on Monday, ending a multi-month flirtation with the lead gig from golf’s preeminent superstar. The news is expected to be finalized with an announcement at the NASDAQ in New York at noon on Tuesday.


Keegan Bradley at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

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Woods, a 15-time major champ and eight-time Ryder Cup competitor, marks a surprise “no” for Bethpage. Woods had been the open favorite for the lead position for months after the American beatdown in Rome, even going as far as to comment about “discussions” with then-PGA of America commissioner Seth Waugh.

“We’re still talking about it,” he said with a smile at the Masters in April, a point that Waugh reiterated at the PGA Championship in May.

But Woods’ schedule posed an existential issue for the captaincy: After accepting an elevated role as a Player Director on the PGA Tour’s policy board last August, Woods had obligations surrounding a complicated merger agreement with the Tour and Saudi PIF that would preempt his Ryder Cup captaincy work, which is typically a two-year position beginning in the months following the previous cup. The PGA of America held out naming a captain for months in the hopes that an agreement between the two parties would be reached, clearing the runway for Woods to serve as captain, even naming former caddie and NBC Sports analyst John Wood as “team manager” in the hopes of supplementing some of the captain’s workload. But as the calendar flipped to July, no such progress had been made, and Woods was forced to turn down the captaincy, though he could still theoretically compete on the team via captain’s selection or vice-captaincy.

The captaincy thrusts Bradley, a recent source of very public Ryder Cup heartache, into the lead role for the U.S. side in a pivotal moment for the Americans, a surprise choice that could have downstream reverberations throughout the U.S. side. Though Bradley, 38, is a proud New Englander, he has deep ties at Bethpage Black, having played his college golf at St. Johns University in Queens just a short drive away. The Johnnies hosted a tournament each year at Bethpage, and Bradley has returned to the area often in his years on the PGA Tour.

“I am incredibly honored to accept this opportunity to Captain the United States Team at the 2025 Ryder Cup,” Bradley said in a release. “My passion and appreciation for golf’s greatest team event have never been stronger. The Ryder Cup is unlike any other competition in our sport, and this edition will undoubtedly be particularly special given the rich history and enthusiastic spectators at this iconic course. I look forward to beginning preparations for 2025.”

The Americans are looking to bounce back from a devastating loss at the ’23 Cup in Rome, a Ryder Cup where Bradley was famously the last man out after a career season. Fans criticized then-captain Zach Johnson’s decision to leave Bradley off the team as evidence of U.S. leadership playing favorites in its team construction — a charge that, while not illegal, was only amplified in the wake of a historic European victory in Rome.

Bradley was largely lauded for his handling of the roster situation, and even invited Netflix cameras into his home to watch him cheer on the U.S. side with his sons. An episode dedicated to Bradley’s Ryder Cup heartbreak showed that he still has his suitcase from the 2012 “Miracle at Medinah” packed in his garage, which Bradley swears he will not open until he has been part of a victorious American side.

Now he will have the chance to do so in front of a historically rowdy American crowd at the “People’s Country Club,” perhaps even as a playing-captain.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.

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