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Keegan Bradley appointment as Ryder Cup captain ‘surprising’ – Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele, pictured, admits he was surprised by Keegan Bradley’s appointment as Ryder Cup captain (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA)
Xander Schauffele, pictured, admits he was surprised by Keegan Bradley’s appointment as Ryder Cup captain (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA)

Xander Schauffele admits he was surprised by Keegan Bradley’s appointment as Ryder Cup captain as the United States bid to recover from being “throttled” in Rome last year.

Bradley will lead the home side at Bethpage Black in September 2025 after 15-time major winner Tiger Woods reportedly turned down the role.

The 38-year-old played on losing sides in 2012 and 2014 and was controversially overlooked for a wild card in 2023, with Zach Johnson’s side going on to lose by five points at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.

“It’s surprising,” Schauffele said of Bradley’s appointment during a pre-tournament press conference at the Genesis Scottish Open.

“You typically expect someone that’s a little bit older to get selected as a captain. I think a lot of people were banking on Tiger to do it. He obviously has a lot on his plate.

“So Keegan expressed his love for the Ryder Cup publicly, which we all saw, and I’m sure he’s over the moon and is going to do a great job.

“He is so laid back off the course. If you get him in like a dinner setting or something, he loves sports. He’ll talk about sports all night long if you like. He’s a very passionate individual.

“On the course, he’s intense. That’s just how he competes and how he is. I’m sure as a captain he’s going to have sort of a mixed bag. He won’t be afraid and will get everyone going.

“I don’t know if he’s coached or captained any other teams in his life, whether it’s his kids’ teams or something like that, but when someone is really passionate about something, they usually do really well.”

Jamie Donaldson and Keegan Bradley shake hands
Europe’s Jamie Donaldson (left) wins his match with Keegan Bradley on day three of the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles (David Davies/PA)

Schauffele won just one point from his four matches in Rome, beating Nicolai Hojgaard in the singles, and believes the players were to blame for the defeat, rather than captain Johnson.

“Thinking back to the Ryder Cup, I remember getting throttled, that’s about it,” added Schauffele, who won his first major title in the US PGA Championship at Valhalla in May.

“If I try and think of the positives from the week, the atmosphere, our team locker room, those are the things that were really fun. Just being sort of arm in arm with my team-mates was awesome all week.

“Then the fans were awesome with their chants as always. So from a golf standpoint, getting throttled is never fun but it is what it is and we wore it on the chin there.

“At the end of the day us players didn’t play well. Myself, I felt like I played awful. I felt like I didn’t show up until the final round and it was already way too late to play good golf at that point.”

Xander Schauffele smiles during a Ryder Cup practice round
Xander Schauffele during a practice round ahead of the 2023 Ryder Cup (Mike Egerton/PA)

Schauffele believes being a current PGA Tour player means Bradley will have a better understanding of what his team will require to be at their best at Bethpage, which for him will mean earlier preparation and fewer formal dinners.

“When you get to the team things, it’s the same for both teams, don’t get me wrong, but a good captain will try and cut back that stuff as much as possible and make the week as easy as possible,” the world number three said.

“It’s just small things. I think there’s two or three dinners that we have to go to that are kind of mandatory-ish, and I think if we cut it down to one or two versus three that would be a really big deal.

“I play 24 events [a season] and I don’t think I dress up and go to one dinner in all those 24 events.”