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Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau applaud move to appoint Keegan Bradley as captain

Picking Bradley as Ryder Cup captain carries risk
Rex Hoggard and Ryan Lavner discuss Keegan Bradley's appointment as the captain of the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup team saying the hire could "backfire" on the PGA of America.

Like many in the golf world, Phil Mickelson said that he was surprised by the PGA of America’s decision to appoint Keegan Bradley as the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain.

“And I think it’s a great pick the more I think about it,” Mickelson told reporters Wednesday at the LIV event at Valderrama.

Mickelson, who formed a successful partnership with Bradley that went 4-1 in their two cups together, most recently in 2014, cited Bradley’s passion for the event as well as his familiarity with Bethpage Black and regional ties growing up in New England and attending St. John’s.

Bradley said he wants “the 12 best players” on the U.S. team, regardless of tour.

“His passion for the Ryder Cup is greater than just about any player I’ve ever seen. His love for the Ryder Cup is more than anybody I know. I think he’s going to lead with that type of passion,” Mickelson said. “I think he’s incredible. I’m really, really happy for him. I think we all are really happy for him knowing how gut-wrenching it was not to be part of the team last year, but to now have the opportunity to lead and go forward I think is great.”

Mickelson was long thought to be in line as the American captain at Bethpage, but he seemingly fell out of favor with the PGA once he became one of the chief recruiters for LIV. Bradley said Tuesday that he maintains a great relationship with Mickelson but that he didn’t envision him being a part of this year’s team.

In his introductory press conference, Bradley also suggested that a player’s tour affiliation wouldn’t be a factor as he rounds out his 12-man squad. As of now, the only way for LIV players to accrue Ryder Cup points is through their performance in the majors, and Bradley said that he may look to increase the number of automatic spots from six to eight.

Brooks Koepka was the lone LIV representative on the 2023 team after he received a captain’s pick, on the strength of his PGA Championship victory. Bryson DeChambeau is currently second in points, following his stirring performance at Pinehurst, and he said Wednesday that he was excited about Bradley’s appointment.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for him, especially as it relates to younger players,” DeChambeau said. “He’s going to see that younger threshold, and obviously relate to them a lot more because of his age (38). He’s seeing the younger generation more. He’s out there still competing, and it’s great to have some relatability.

“As far as picking the best players, that’s the right approach, and I couldn’t be more happy for him as captain.”