Friday, July 12, 2024

Tiger Woods turns down US Ryder Cup captaincy with Keegan Bradley to take his place

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Tiger Woods has turned down the opportunity to captain the United States at next year’s Ryder Cup, with Keegan Bradley the shock choice for Bethpage Black.

Bradley will be announced at a press conference in New York on Tuesday after Woods left the PGA of America, which oversees the US arm of the biennial dust-up, desperately searching for an alternative at the 11th hour.

At 38, Bradley will become the youngest Ryder Cup captain in the modern era – since Great Britain & Ireland became Europe in 1979 – and is clearly a left-field option to try to stop Luke Donald’s team from retaining the trophy.

However, as ever where Woods is concerned, his controversial decision will monopolise the headlines. Despite questioning a few months ago if he would have the time to succeed Zach Johnson, citing his involvement in the peace negotiations between the PGA Tour and the Saudi bankrollers of LIV, the 48-year-old was still widely expected to accept the role after the US’s defeat in Rome last year.

Speaking before the news emerged, Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie sounded almost certain that Woods would step up. “I think he should,” Montgomerie told Telegraph Sport. “I mean, if there’s one thing Tiger wants to do as captain it is to win the damn thing. And Bethpage is the best opportunity you could think of. A home crowd in New York? Oh my god. I’m not even sure Europe will be allowed to win! I’m sure Tiger is just hanging on to confirm it.”

Inevitably, many will view this as Woods, whose Ryder Cup record as a player was notoriously unimpressive, showing a lack of commitment to his country, but since his reinvention as a mentor to many of the younger US players, this will be a difficult accusation to level.

Speculation will build that Woods will assume the role for the 2027 match in County Limerick. Woods is close to JP McManus, the owner of host venue Adare Manor, and to become the first US captain to win away in 34 years would fit in nicely on an unparalleled CV.

“I know he’s friends with JP and would want to do it there. Fine,” Montgomerie said. “But he should start in New York.”

As it was, it is understood that Woods was prepared to take on the position if the PGA of America reduced the normal exhaustive captaincy commitments ahead of the match. Yet no deal was reached and with the clock ticking, Team USA were forced to look elsewhere.

Bradley is a huge surprise. He was overlooked for Marco Simone last October as Johnson went with Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler instead. Bradley won twice on Tour last year and was devastated when he was not named among the wildcards.

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