Tiger Woods made the mistake of turning down the Ryder Cup captaincy when Keegan Bradley was crowned captain

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 a shocker and a polarizing choice as well.

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 the 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 walked the team to victory in the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia.

Bradley, on the other hand, doesn’t have any experience as such. 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 wins another. That chance has eluded the former PGA Championship winner since 2014. He was a Ryder Cup hopeful last year but received a negative call from Zach Johnson as Full Swing cameras followed him.

via Imago

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.”

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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 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. Nevertheless, the general belief is still 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.

The former world no.1 also hinted at time constraints. Woods, 48, is still in recovery mode so to speak. With a burning desire for another major glory, the Jupiter resident is focused on improving his game, having better body-mind coordination, and cutting short the post-round recovery window.

Given the position he is in, it’s likely that the 15-time major champion thought it best to pass on the opportunity. That opened the doors for Keegan Bradley who will get a chance to finally unpack his suitcase from a decade before.

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