Keegan Bradley open to LIV players in Ryder Cup; doesn’t see Phil Mickelson as vice captain

Keegan Bradley open to LIV players in Ryder Cup; doesn’t see Phil Mickelson as vice captain
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New U.S. Ryder Cup captain Keegan Bradley said that he’s looking to fill out next year’s team with the 12 best American players – regardless of their tour affiliation.

In his introductory press conference Tuesday in New York, Bradley said that he will take into account players on both the PGA Tour and LIV when rounding out his squad.

“I’m going to have the 12 best players on the team. I don’t care where they play,” Bradley said. “We have a mission to win this tournament. I’m not worried about the LIV stuff. I want the best players on the team.”

Bradley’s comments represented a stark difference to the approach of his predecessor, Zach Johnson, who at times sounded dismissive of a LIV player’s chances of making the Ryder Cup team. His tone eventually softened last summer once Brooks Koepka finished runner-up at the 2023 Masters and won the PGA Championship. For months, Koepka was among the top points-earners but eventually fell just outside the top-6 qualifying spots and needed a captain’s pick.

A similar situation could unfold next year, with Bryson DeChambeau already boasting a strong major record in 2024 that includes his victory at the U.S. Open.

It remains to be seen, too, whether the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, will still be at odds by fall 2025, with the two sides currently working toward a deal that would unify the sport.

To be eligible for the Ryder Cup, a U.S. player must be a member of the PGA of America.

“I’ll have to wait and see how everything shakes out,” Bradley said, “and my biggest concern is having the best players on the team.”

Bradley was a stunning choice for the appointment but only after the organization’s top choices fell through. For years, it was widely assumed that that 2025 captaincy would go to Phil Mickelson, who was a beloved presence in New York during the two U.S. Opens held at Bethpage Black. But Mickelson fell out of favor after he became one of the upstart league’s chief recruiters.

Bradley successfully partnered with Mickelson, going 4-1 in two cups together, and he was asked Tuesday about Mickelson’s possible involvement at Bethpage, either in an official or unofficial capacity.

“I still have a great relationship with Phil, but I don’t think he’s interested in being a vice captain – and to be honest with you, he’s a captain someday, I think,” Bradley said. “I haven’t spoken to Phil. I don’t want to speak for him at all. But I think he’s pretty busy with what he’s doing, and I have nothing but great things to say about Phil and our memories together, and what we did at the Ryder Cup is really my fondest memories in the game.”

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