Keegan Bradley announced as 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup captain in surprise move by PGA of America

Keegan Bradley announced as 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup captain in surprise move by PGA of America
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Keegan Bradley has gone from snub to skipper.

Controversially left off the 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup team, Bradley will take charge as the captain for next year’s matches at Bethpage Black.

It’s a stunning move Monday by the PGA of America, which for months had been courting its first and seemingly only choice, Tiger Woods. But the 48-year-old apparently turned down the gig after expressing doubt publicly that he could handle all of the responsibilities of the captaincy as well as his ongoing duties as a player director for the PGA Tour policy board.

In that void emerged Bradley, the team’s passionate spark plug from a decade ago who will go down as one of the most outside-the-box captain’s choices in the history of the event.

At 39 next fall, Bradley will be the youngest American leader since Arnold Palmer (then 34) in 1963.

Bradley is currently ranked 19th in the world and as much of a part of the PGA Tour landscape as ever, ranked 37th in the FedExCup this season while competing in all of the circuit’s signature events. He won twice last season, including at the Travelers Championship – a victory, he thought, that gave him a realistic shot at playing his first Ryder Cup since 2014.

Desperate to make the team, Bradley stalled out the rest of the year and finished 11th in the points standings. Captain Zach Johnson passed over Bradley for a wildcard pick for the likes of Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, with Bradley’s brutal heartbreak captured during filming for Netflix’s “Full Swing” documentary.

Criticism of Johnson’s choices only intensified after the Americans lost again in Rome, their five-point defeat continuing their run of futility abroad that now extends more than three decades.

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

The appointment of Bradley perhaps signals a change in direction for Team USA, which has mostly reheated past-their-prime former assistants that only perpetuated the mentality that it’s an old boys’ club. Bradley has played on just two Ryder Cups and one Presidents Cup and never served as an assistant behind the scenes.

Famously, Bradley never unpacked his luggage from the team’s Ryder Cup collapse at Medinah in 2012 and vowed not to until he was part of a winning squad. During Sunday singles that year, Bradley lost to a late-arriving Rory McIlroy in the leadoff match.

“I just hope, some day, I get to win a Ryder Cup and open that thing and just have a peace-of-mind moment,” he said during his Netflix episode, “because I’m thinking about the Ryder Cup every second of every day.”

Having grown up in Woodstock, Vermont, and attended St. John’s, Bradley has some regional ties to first-time Ryder Cup host Bethpage Black, which is located in close proximity to New York City and promises to be a rollicking venue as the Americans look to continue their run of dominance on home soil. Since the Miracle (or Meltdown?) at Medinah, the Americans have outscored the Europeans, 36-20, at home.

“My passion and appreciation for golf’s greatest team event have never been stronger,” Bradley said in a statement. “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.”

Bradley’s appointment caps what has already been an unusual Ryder Cup interim, with the PGA typically announcing its next captain in early spring of the prior year. The Europeans announced late last year that it was bringing back Luke Donald after his successful term in Italy.

Bradley, who is not playing this week’s Scottish Open, and PGA president John Lindert will speak with the media at noon ET Tuesday in New York. Golf Channel will have live coverage.

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