Keegan Bradley Ryder Cup captain report shocks golfing world, leaves fans stunned

The PGA of America has reportedly selected its captain to lead Team USA at the Ryder Cup next fall at Bethpage Black.

It’s a rather outside-the-box selection. Keegan Bradley—the man Zach Johnson snubbed a year ago—will reportedly captain the American side at Bethpage Black, per Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated.

Bradley has competed in the Ryder Cup twice, experiencing defeat on both occasions. In his Ryder Cup debut, he witnessed the Europeans storm back on Sunday to win the competition at Medinah in 2012. Then, two years later, Team Europe defeated the Americans at Gleneagles in Scotland, 16.5-to-11.5, as Phil Mickelson famously disparaged Team USA leader Tom Watson in the aftermath.

But now Bradley, who has suffered gut-punch after gut-punch throughout his Ryder Cup career—with none more significant than last year—will have an opportunity for the ultimate redemption story. He will lead the American side at Bethpage Black, less than 25 miles from where he played collegiate golf at St. John’s University. He also loves this competition more than anything else in golf, a testament to his patriotism, drive, and adoration for team-match play.

“I think about the Ryder Cup every second I’m awake, basically,” Bradley said ahead of last year’s BMW Championship, a few weeks before Johnson overlooked him for the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Sam Burns.

Bradley won twice during the 2022-23 season, including at the Travelers Championship, the Signature Event in his native New England. He finished 11th in the final Team USA Ryder Cup standings, finalized after the 2023 Tour Championship.

“I am super bummed out,” Bradley said after he did not make the team.

“I thought I put together a really good year with two wins, including [one] in Hartford over an elite field. I’m proud of what I’ve done… I’ve always been an outsider in the sport, but I have tried to get closer to the guys I thought would be on the team. I feel like moving forward, I’m going to have to automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup. [That said,] I am [still] pulling for the U.S. Team.”

Bradley will not have to qualify for next year’s biennial competition at Bethpage Black. Instead, he will be the gatekeeper, the man who will ultimately decide which players make the team.

Other possible candidates included Stewart Cink and Fred Couples, but the PGA of America has decided to go in a different direction, one that Shakespeare would marvel at if Bradley can help guide the Americans to victory.

But not dissimilar to how Shakespearean stories have shocked readers for centuries, golf fans have voiced their astonishment amid Harig’s report about Bradley:

Of course, many golf fans displayed their remarkable sense of humor, with some even talking about Spieth and Thomas:

Others also approved of the decision:

Other fans referenced Bradley’s Ryder Cup bag from Gleneagles, which has remained closed and sealed since the 2014 Ryder Cup. Bradley has said he will not open it until he is a part of a winning Ryder Cup team again:

And then there is one fan who asks a perfectly reasonable question, especially considering Bradley’s New England roots:

At any rate, nobody saw this decision coming. Regardless, Bradley will put his heart and soul into leading the U.S. Team, which he dearly loves and admires.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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