Did Tiger Woods Make a Mistake Turning Down Ryder Cup Captaincy as Keegan Bradley Ascends the Leader Throne?

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Confirming the rumors, the USGA announced that Tiger Woods won’t helm the USA squad next year. Instead, Keegan Bradley will steer the USA ship at Bethpage Black on Sept. 26–28, 2025. Picking Bradley was both a shocker and a polarizing choice.

Some believed Woods should’ve grabbed the opportunity, while others feel Bradley’s passion is exactly what Team USA needs. Interestingly, between the two, none has a spectacular Ryder Cup record.

Tiger Woods has 13 wins in his biennial outings. However, the veteran has also conceded 21 losses and three halved matches. The 48-year-old has teed off in eight Ryder Cups in his career. However, only once was he on the winning team, in 1999. Woods dubbed the ‘Battle of Brookline’ as ‘one of the coolest moments’ in his career.

Notably, Tiger Woods had the experience of captaining a USA team in the global arena. The 48-year-old led the team to victory in the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia.

Bradley, on the other hand, has no such experience. The 38-year-old has been part of two Ryder Cup teams. First in 2012, in the Miracle in Medinah, and then in 2014 at Gleneagles. Europe retained the cup both times, however.

Bradley famously vowed not to open his return bag from the 2012 Ryder Cup until he won another. Since 2014, that opportunity has eluded the former PGA Championship winner. He was a Ryder Cup hopeful last year but received a negative call from Zach Johnson as Full Swing cameras followed him.

While accepting next year’s call of duty, Bradley said, “The Ryder Cup is unlike any other competition in our sport. And this edition will undoubtedly be particularly special given the rich history and enthusiastic spectators at this iconic course.”

Woods, on the other hand, was reluctant to take up the job. It was a lucrative offer, given the stature associated with the Ryder Cup. Furthermore, the word was that the job was his to take. Only a nod would’ve secured the place. But Woods shook his head.

Why Tiger Woods rejected the Ryder Cup captaincy

Generally, Ryder Cup captains are picked from the players who are just outside their glory days. That’s not the case for Bradley, like it wasn’t the case for Arnold Palmer in 1963. However, the general belief is that accepting a Ryder Cup captaincy often draws a curtain on top-tier professional golf.

One reason is, of course, that, as a captain, the responsibilities are multifold. From selecting players to building a team, it’s a tough task. Given the current state of golf, it also means throwing yourself headlong into needless controversy. Woods might have wanted to avoid that, given his active role in negotiations with the PIF.

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