Keegan Bradley Surprise Pick As 2025 Ryder Cup Captain for U.S.

In a rather shocking move, the PGA of America selected Keegan Bradley, 2011 PGA champion, as captain of the 2025 Ryder Cup team.
Keegan Bradley - Travelers Championship
Keegan Bradley - Travelers Championship / Mark Smith/ISI Photos/GettyImages

John Lindert, president of the PGA of America and director of golf at the Country Club of Lansing, Lansing, Michigan, made the announcement in New York.

“Since 1927 we've hosted this event at some very historic sites. Rome, Paris, Chicago, Boston. In 2025 we're coming here to New York City and Bethpage Black, and it is trending to be one of the most spectacular events in the history of the PGA of America, and I am really looking forward to being here next September,” Lindert said. 

He cited the new captain’s record in the Ryder Cup and then said simply, ”It's my honor and my pleasure to announce the 2025 PGA Ryder Cup captain, Keegan Bradley.”

Keegan Bradley was also surprised at being chosen. 

He had just come off three weeks of golf and was relaxing at home when the call came from Seth Waugh, outgoing CEO of the PGA.

“He had some pretty incredible news that I had no clue was coming,” Bradley recalled. “Zach Johnson is the one who told me that I was going to be the Ryder Cup captain in 2025.”

Most will recall that Bradley was disappointed not to have been a selection for the 2023 Ryder Cup team which Johnson captained.

“I think it just speaks to what kind of man and person Zach Johnson is,” Bradley said. “I have just such respect for him. He was one of my idols that I looked up to when I first came out on the TOUR.”

In fact, the selection had leaked the day before, and so while it was a surprise to have Bradley chosen, it was not an actual surprise by the time the announcement was made.

Bradley was asked to recall the first time he played on a Ryder Cup team, which was in 2012.

“What I remember most is the fun that we had on the course and just the getting on the first tee and sort of just being giddy to go play,” he said.  “I remember the camaraderie of the team. I remember going to our first Ryder Cup dinner, the TOUR Championship, and having just the 12 guys, and looking around the table and seeing Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson and being in complete awe that I was in this room, and that, two, three years earlier I was playing the mini-tours and now all of a sudden I'm representing the United States in the Ryder Cup.”

He said he loved every second of being a part of the 2012 team.

That is one reason he was devastated at not being picked for the 2023 team.

His dismay was shown on Season Two of Full Swing the Netflix program. But as he said, “I’m American, I root for the Americans to win the Ryder Cup. I watch, whether I'm playing or whether I'm not. I know all the guys on the team, and I bleed red, white and blue.”

But a lot of things happened between 2011 and 2023.  In particular for Keegan Bradley, his putter was ruled as illegal by the USGA starting in January of 2016. His wasn’t the only one. Plenty of belly and long putter players struggled to get back to their prior scoring levels after the longer putters were axed including Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Bradley to name but three.

After two years in putting purgatory, Bradley won the 2018 BMW Championship. Now he’s been picked to head up the team he wanted to be on in 2023. 

Bradley’s family has fairly deep roots in golf and with the PGA of America. His father is Mark Bradley, PGA, the teaching professional at Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club in Jackson, Wyoming. His college coach at St. John's University was Frank Darby, another PGA of America member.

In addition, his aunt is Pat Bradley, an LPGA standout who won 36 titles as a professional including six majors. She was the third woman, after Louise Suggs and Mickey Wright, to complete the LPGA Grand Slam.

“Aunt Pat” played on several Solheim Cup teams and was captain in 2000. He has already called her for advice.

“Being on a Ryder Cup team changes your life forever,” Bradley said. “Being in the room with those guys and feeling the extreme pressure of this tournament will change you.”

It changed him earlier than perhaps he thought it might. When he was 13, his father took him to the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline. He saw Justin Leonard’s putt to tie the matches. He saw David Duval and even caught a glimpse of Michael Jordan.

Later on, in college at St. John’s, he and his fellow golf team friends would sneak out onto Bethpage Black to play.

“We would park at the maintenance area, and we would play 3 through 14,” Bradley explained about the clandestine golf.

They were told explicitly not to ever cross the road to the 15th hole. Bradley was playing with George Zolotas, and the duo just decided they were tired of looking at the finishing holes.

“Imagine you're in college, and you're looking at 15 through 18 at Bethpage Black and you can't play it. It was brutal,” Bradley added. “So we did it. And we got in so much trouble. They called the police. Coach Darby wasn't happy, but we did it, and it was a great memory of the place.”

That New York memory aside, Bradley promises to bring some fresh blood into the Ryder Cup with assistants that are closer to competitive playing age on the PGA Tour. 

“One of the things that I love about this group, and I'm not ashamed to say that as an older player that's been out there longer, I look up to these guys, they genuinely love each other and they're friends,” Bradley said. “When I came out on TOUR I had a much different outlook. I was, I looked at everybody as the enemy and I made everybody out to be against me and I really regret that.” 

While many believed that Tiger Woods would be a great captain at Bethpage Black, Woods felt otherwise and provided a statement for the PGA of America:

“With my new responsibilities to the 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. That does not mean I wouldn't want to captain a team in the future. If/when I feel it is the right time, I will put my hat in the ring for this committee to decide.”