Five things we learned from Keegan Bradley’s Ryder Cup press conference

Five things we learned from Keegan Bradley’s Ryder Cup press conference
Please Share

Two weeks into the job, Keegan Bradley was officially unveiled as the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain on Tuesday afternoon in New York City.

Here are a few revelations from the presser:

An unlikely call

Two Sunday nights ago, Bradley fielded a phone call from PGA CEO Seth Waugh, PGA president John Lindert and last year’s U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson. The news came quick, and from Johnson: Bradley was going to be the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain.

“Some pretty incredible news that I had no clue was coming,” Bradley said.

Not only did Bradley not expect the news; he didn’t interview for the position, which was initially tabbed for Tiger Woods before Woods declined, citing his inability to commit the time to the job. Bradley, who with two Ryder Cups under his belt has the least experience of any previous U.S captain, was also picked over past assistant captains such as Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.

“I wasn’t fully comfortable with some of the people that were passed over,” Bradley said. “I have a lot of respect for the people that came before me and people that deserve to be in this position, so that was a heavy thought and moment.”

Added Lindert: “We had a couple phone calls and talked about a variety of different attributes that we would want in our next captain. As you start to check off the boxes, and you have a PGA champion, you have somebody who went to school here, is familiar with the New York base, the fan base, is very familiar with Bethpage Black, is the son of a PGA member. There are a lot of boxes that Keegan checked off and his enthusiasm for the Ryder Cup stood out above everything else and we just felt that that was the ah-ha moment. When Keegan’s name was mentioned, it was all hands went up and we were a hundred percent behind it.”

Bradley going younger with vice captains

When it comes to Woods, Bradley said, “I have told him he can be as involved as he wants to be.” But Bradley also vowed to take a fresh approach with selecting who will captain alongside him.

Last year, the U.S. vice captains were Steve Stricker, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Fred Couples and Cink.

“They’re going to be a lot younger, closer to playing,” Bradley said.

Fewer captain’s picks likely

While Bradley believes the current points system is good, he did hint at the possibility of adding “a few more automatic qualifiers” back into the fold. The U.S. changed from four picks to six prior to the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

Bradley also was adamant that he would not pick himself should he fail to qualify for the 12-man U.S. team on points.

“I want to make the team on points, otherwise I’m going to be the captain,” Bradley said.

He’s currently No. 24 in the standings, so as of now, Bradley would not be a playing captain. Though he firmly believes that can change.

“I feel as though I’m still in the prime of my career and can make this team,” Bradley added.

Phil won’t be vice captain, but don’t rule out LIV picks

Bradley maintained that he still has a close relationship with Phil Mickelson, but he doesn’t believe that Mickelson is interested in accepting a vice captain’s role.

But as for potentially picking LIV players, Bradley didn’t shy away from answering.

“I’m going to have the 12 best players on the team,” Bradley said. “I don’t care where they play. So, we have a mission to win this tournament. I’m not worried about the LIV stuff. I want the best players on the team. By the time we get to Bethpage in 2025 we have no clue how the layout of the golf world’s going to be. As it comes to going to LIV events, if there’s guys that are on the fringe, I’m willing to do that.”

Not so fast, Netflix

Much of the past two years on Tour have been documented by Netflix cameras for the “Full Swing” docuseries, including Bradley’s heartbreaking call from Johnson last year telling Bradley that he did not make the team for Rome. But the cameras were notably absent from the U.S. team room at Marco Simone, a decision made by the players.

Bradley was asked Tuesday if that would change next year.

“I had an unbelievable experience with Netflix,” Bradley said. “They were great to me. It was a big decision to put my family on TV. That’s not a decision that’s for everybody. And I’ve only been captain for two weeks, I have not broached this subject, I have not even thought about it, I don’t know who is going to be on the team, but it’s definitely a decision that’s going to be based on what’s best for the team. It’s not something that is for everybody. It’s a nerve-wracking process to go through being filmed all the time and that’s something that I’ll have to cross later on.”

Source link