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Friday, July 12, 2024

With Tiger Focused on PIF, U.S. Turns to Netflix Star to Lead Ryder Cup

  • Keegan Bradley will captain Team USA in 2025.
  • Tiger Woods turned down the opportunity due to his role in PGA Tour negotiations.
PGA of America

LIV Golf has disrupted almost every aspect of the sport, from major championships and the PGA Tour to broadcasters, sponsors, and more. Now, Team USA’s hopes of Tiger Woods captaining a Ryder Cup team can be added to that list, too.

The PGA of America selected Keegan Bradley (above) as captain of the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup team after Woods declined the opportunity due to his role in ongoing negotiations with LIV’s financial backers at the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. “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,” Woods said. “That does not mean I wouldn’t want to captain a team in the future.” At the U.S. Open, Woods said the PGA Tour and PIF were exploring how they could reach the “endgame.”

Bradley said Woods can be as involved as he wants to be. “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 do,” Bradley said. Despite LIV’s presence preventing a Woods captaincy, Bradley said players from the offshoot tour are fair game for the U.S. Ryder Cup team: “I’m going to have the 12 best players on the team. … I’m not worried about the LIV stuff.”

Netflix Bump?

The selection of Bradley, who is 38 and still a full-time member on the PGA Tour, is an unexpected change of pace. Recent Ryder Cup captains have typically been older players who are often considered past their playing prime and usually not competing on a weekly basis. Bradley, a two-time U.S. Ryder Cup team member, won the 2011 PGA Championship and is currently ranked No. 19 in the world.

But Bradley was the first man left off last year’s U.S. team, a situation that was captured by Netflix cameras and eventually played out on Season 2 of Full Swing. The golfer’s composure and relatability led to rave reviews for his episode of the docuseries. Bradley said he had an “unbelievable experience” with the show, but he pushed back on the notion that it led to his unconventional captaincy. “I couldn’t imagine that they would decide based on how Netflix portrayed me in filming,” he said.

Looking ahead to next fall, when the U.S. will host the Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black in New York, Bradley said it’s too early to say whether the U.S. players will allow Netflix cameras to film inside their team room—something they didn’t do last year in Rome.

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