Rory McIlroy as a Ryder Cup playing captain in Ireland in 2027? No chance, he says

Rory McIlroy as a Ryder Cup playing captain in Ireland in 2027? No chance, he says
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NORTH BERWICK, Scotland – Monday’s news that the PGA of America had broken the mold and selected 38-year-old Keegan Bradley to captain next year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team resonated on both sides of the transatlantic divide.

Bradley, who has never served as a captain or vice captain for either the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, will be the youngest captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963, which is a distinct pivot by an association that had adhered to a plan that focused on continuity following the U.S. loss at the 2014 matches.

Palmer was a playing captain that year and no one has since attempted the double role. Bradley, however, expressed his desire to both play and captain should he qualify for the 2025 U.S. team.

Rory McIlroy, following his opening 5-under 65 at the Genesis Scottish Open, pushed back on that idea, saying he’s thought about it in relation to the 2027 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor in Ireland.

“No. Absolutely not [possible to be a playing captain],” McIlroy said. “I’ve contemplated it for Adare and there’s too much work that goes into it. I’ve seen what Luke went through preparing for Rome. There’s no way you can be as good a captain as you need to be and be playing as well.”

As for Bradley’s appointment, McIlroy said he learned of the news Sunday during a dinner with next year’s (and previous) European captain Luke Donald.

“I think a surprise for everyone,” said McIlroy . “It’s an interesting appointment. The youngest captain since Arnold Palmer, I think was a playing captain as 34. But he knows Bethpage very well. He went to university in the area. He’s obviously very passionate about the Ryder Cup.

“It’s certainly a departure from what the U.S. have done over the last few years, and you know, time will tell if that’s a good thing or not.”

Potential American players were also surprised by the selection of Bradley, who was a “slam dunk” selection, according to PGA of America president John Lindert, but McIlroy is the first European player to react publicly to the news and the Northern Irishman suggested the five-point U.S. loss last year in Italy factored into the decision.

“It seems quite reactionary in terms of what happened in Rome, but I don’t know,” McIlroy said. “It’s obviously an unbelievable opportunity for Keegan and just speaking from a European point of view, it’s really nice to have the continuity we’ve had over the years, with vice captains becoming captains, and then even Paul McGinley becoming a strategic advisor to us for Bethpage next year as well, just to have those familiar faces in the room, I think it’s been a good thing for us.”

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