Keegan Bradley named Ryder Cup captain for USA, press conference, Zach Johnson, team, selections

Sportem
Sportem
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No one saw this coming. Not even Keegan Bradley, who admitted he was in “complete shock” when received the call informing him he would be captain of the United States team for the 2025 Ryder Cup.

Speaking to reporters in an introductory press conference on Wednesday, Bradley went as far as to add he was “little bit uncomfortable” at being selected to lead Team USA.

Bradley wasn’t the only one to be taken aback by the offer given it hasn’t even been a year since he was overlooked from the team altogether, sparking a ‘boys club’ controversy.

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On that occasion Bradley, who was ranked 11th in the US standings at the time, missed out as then-captain Zach Johnson instead opted for known friends Justin Thomas, Ricky Fowler and Jordan Spieth along with Scottie Scheffler’s close friend Sam Burns.

This time around, Johnson was one of the three making the call to Bradley to let him know he would not just be in the team but have the honour of leading them out after Tiger Woods turned the role down.

PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh, president John Lindert and Johnson were in the call with Bradley, who told reporters he didn’t have a conversation with anyone about the Ryder Cup team before being told he was captain.

In fact, he reportedly didn’t even put his hand up to be picked.

“I had trouble talking,” he said.

“When they called me, I felt funny after the call because I don’t think I reacted in the way they were expecting me to. I was in complete shock. It was heavy.

“I was a little bit uncomfortable with some of the guys, my idols, that were looked over for this position. I needed a second to figure that out. I don’t think I’ll ever have a bigger surprise in my life.”

A short statement from Woods was read out on Wednesday morning, where he confirmed the frontrunner for the job had opted out of contention.

“With my new responsibilities to the [PGA] Tour, and time commitments involved, I felt I would not be able to commit the time to Team USA and the players required as a captain,” Woods said.

“That does not mean I wouldn’t want to captain a team in the future. If and when I feel it is the right time, I will put my hat in the ring.”

Bradley though told reporters he spoke with Woods, telling him he can be “as involved as he wants”.

“We all look up to Tiger and his opinion means a lot to us,” the 38-year-old said.

“The public doesn’t realise how important this is to him. He lives and breathes this event and I think it shows you how much he cares by turning this position down because he didn’t feel like he could put in what he needed to.”

Keegan Bradley is the new captain. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Tuesday’s announcement meant even more to Bradley considering what he had been through last year, not only missing out on selection for the Ryder Cup team but having that moment documented for everyone to see in the ‘Full Swing’ Netflix docuseries.

“It took me a while to get over that, we were devastated, my whole family,” Bradley said.

“I bleed red, white and blue and I was thrilled to be able to watch these guys and I was pulling for them. It was a weird feeling knowing that I could have been there and maybe helped the team, but I know what a tough decision Zach had.

“I’ve only been the captain for two weeks and I find myself staring at the ceiling at 2am thinking about every single situation, so I have a different perspective now and I have nothing but admiration and respect for Zach Johnson.”

As for what the team could look like under Bradley’s leadership, the new Team USA captain said he was willing to travel to LIV Golf events in a bid to select the best 12-man squad.

That is in stark contrast to Johnson, who said he hadn’t discussed plans to attend any LIV events and scout players when he was captain at the time.

In fact, Johnson was also asked in the same interview if he got CW Network to watch the LIV broadcasts or at least tuned in on YouTube.

“CW?” Johnson asked.

“I didn’t know that,” he added when told it was where the LIV was broadcast.

“I’m going to have the 12 best players on the team,” Bradley, on the other hand, said.

“I don’t care where they play. We have a mission to win this tournament. I’m not worried about the LIV stuff. By the time we get to Bethpage in 2025, we have no clue how the layout is going to be.”

It comes after Brooks Koepka was the only LIV player to make Johnson’s team last year, with recent US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau among those to be overlooked.

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