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Bradley Surprises by Captain’s Armband | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Bradley Surprises by Captain’s Armband | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

NEW YORK — Keegan Bradley was as shocked as anyone when Zach Johnson told him he had been selected as the 2025 United States Ryder Cup captain.

It was two weeks ago, on a Sunday night. The kids had just been put to bed and Bradley was looking forward to putting his feet up and relaxing after three weeks of traveling.

Then came the phone call.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be more surprised about anything in my entire life,” Bradley said Tuesday as he was introduced as a captain at NASDAQ headquarters in New York. “I had no idea. It took a while for it to sink in.

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

When Bradley got himself under control, he realized he had to make a call. It was to Tiger Woods.

“I’m grateful — before I took this job I had to talk to Tiger and I wanted to make sure that I — I wanted to hear from him,” Bradley said. “We had a great conversation. I definitely need his input.”

Woods was widely seen as the heir apparent to the captaincy, but after considering his current commitments, he decided it was in the best interests of the PGA to go with someone else. The PGA read a statement from Woods at Bradley’s introductory press conference.

“With my new tour responsibilities and the time commitments that come with them, I felt I would not be able to commit the time to Team USA and the players that being a captain would require,” Woods said in the statement. “That does not mean I would not want to captain a team in the future. If/when I feel the time is right, I will throw my hat in the ring and let this committee decide.”

With Woods out, the PGA of America had to find another way to replace Johnson, the previous captain who serves on the Ryder Cup committee.

They decided to go with 38-year-old Bradley, the youngest American Ryder Cup captain since 34-year-old Arnold Palmer in 1963.

Bradley played in the Ryder Cup in 2012 and 2014, losing both to the Americans. He has long spoken of wanting to make up for those results, as he did when he clutched his full bag from 2012 and vowed not to open it until he was a Ryder Cup winner.

After two PGA Tour wins, a runner-up finish and six top-10s last season, including the Tour Championship, Bradley was considered a candidate for the 2023 team. But he was not selected by Johnson. It was a huge blow to Bradley, whose reaction to the snub was captured in the Netflix golf documentary series “Full Swing.”

Bradley, now the team captain, still believes he has what it takes to qualify for the team. After all, he is ranked No. 19 in the world. And he has been clear in his intention to do so, a feat that would make him the first US Ryder Cup playing captain since Palmer in ’63 if he pulls it off.

“I feel like I’m still in the prime of my career and I can play on this team,” Bradley said.

Bradley is perhaps the most famous American player to play the 2025 course, Bethpage Black on Long Island. He grew up playing there in college, attending St. John’s University. He even joked about skipping school to play at Bethpage.

“I’m not going to pick myself,” Bradley said. “The only way that would happen is if the team insisted, but even if they did, I don’t see that happening. I want to make the team on points, otherwise I’ll be the captain.”

Keegan Bradley, right, is joined by PGA President John Lindert during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was announced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Keegan Bradley participates in a press conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was introduced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Keegan Bradley participates in a press conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was introduced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Keegan Bradley, back center, is joined by PGA President John Lindert during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was introduced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Keegan Bradley, right, is joined by PGA President John Lindert during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was announced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Keegan Bradley participates in a press conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was introduced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Keegan Bradley participates in a press conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was introduced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Keegan Bradley participates in a press conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was introduced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Keegan Bradley, right, is joined by PGA President John Lindert, second from right, during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Bradley was introduced as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2025. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)