Keegan Bradley ‘surprised’ by Ryder Cup call; Tiger open to future captaincy

Even for all-time greats at the level of Tiger Woods, there are only 24 hours in a day.

Woods’ belief that he wouldn’t have enough time to be fully dedicated to captaining the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup squad led the PGA of America to tap Keegan Bradley for the role, a move that Bradley said Tuesday came as a complete shock to him.

Woods was long considered the favorite to land the next Ryder Cup captaincy after the Americans lost in Rome in 2023. The PGA of America released a statement from the 15-time major champion Tuesday explaining why he turned down the offer.

“With my new responsibilities to the Tour and time commitments involved, I felt like 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 for this committee to decide.”

Woods is serving as a player director on the PGA Tour’s policy board, as well as on the so-called “transaction subcommittee” focused on getting a merger deal done with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

His playing commitments have been less time-consuming since a brutal single-car accident in 2021 nearly cost him his leg. Woods has concentrated on playing the four majors and his own tournament, the Genesis Invitational.

The irony is that Bradley, 38, will be balancing his full-time career as a PGA Tour player with the duties of a Ryder Cup captain. He is ranked No. 19 in the world this week and nearly played his way onto the U.S. team late last cycle.

Bradley said he will receive crucial help from his vice captains as well as John Wood, a former caddie and golf broadcaster, who is serving in a newly created “team manager” position.

“Part of me thinks this is going to be a great distraction from playing on the tour and getting away from worrying about my personal what’s going on on week-to-week tournaments,” Bradley told reporters Tuesday. “I look forward to getting to know the younger guys more that just have come out on tour. There’s a great group of young players that I don’t know that well that I’m looking forward to learning more about.

“Also talking to, you know, the studs of the American team, Xander (Schauffele) and (Patrick) Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler, Jordan (Spieth) and JT (Justin Thomas) and all these guys, and their enthusiasm for this tournament is very, very high and I look forward to leading those guys.”

Bradley never interviewed with the PGA of America for the captaincy, and he didn’t undersell his surprise that the governing body reached out.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be more surprised of anything in my entire life,” he said. “I was — I had no idea. It took a while for it to sink in. I wasn’t fully comfortable with some of the people that were passed over. I have a lot of respect for the people that came before me and people that deserve to be in this position, so that was a heavy thought and moment.”

Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner and a two-time Ryder Cup participant, said he’s spoken to Woods “a bunch” about the role.

“I spoke to him this morning on the phone,” Bradley said. “He’s been very helpful. Tiger has always been really helpful to me. He’s a great voice to hear and he’s been nothing but — he’s been reaching out to me helping me, which has been amazing.”

–Field Level Media