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Rickie Fowler was not shocked by Keegan Bradley’s appointment as Ryder Cup captain – but he is surprised by the PGA of America’s sudden change in approach. 

Bradley, 38, was named as Zach Johnson’s successor on Monday after it emerged Tiger Woods had rejected the chance to lead the battle against Europe at next year’s showdown at Bethpage Black.

The six-time PGA Tour winner has become the youngest US captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963, just ten months after he was controversially overlooked for one of Johnson’s picks for the defeat in Rome.

And Fowler – who played alongside Bradley at the 2014 match – thinks it was worth rolling the dice after five defeats in the last seven dust-ups.

• Stewart Cink reacts to Tiger turning down Ryder Cup role

• Keegan Bradley named US Ryder Cup captain

“Definitely interesting for sure,” he told ahead of this week’s Genesis Scottish Open.”But I think with some of the changes and the way things are going for the future, its a really cool opportunity for him.”

“It’s definitely much more of a current with the game versus some past captains which could be a good thing. May not work, we don’t know. I know him being a huge fan of the Ryder Cup has to be a huge honour and something he’s very much looking forward to.

“I was more surprised about the change in terms of direction and typical age of captains. It could be something with him being much more current that this is something that ends up working well for us. We haven’t exactly had the most success in the last 20 or 30 years.

“When it comes to the best players in the world, it’s not like players need motivation and pep talks. We want to go out there and play well. But he’s someone who is very passionate and it might be the right direction for us.”

There is every chance, however, that Bradley, the world No.19, could also become the first playing captain since Palmer 62 years ago.

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Team USA’s shift in approach for the 2025 contest has seen the appointment of an inaugural team manager, John Wood, who will lead all “strategic and operational matters” related to the team.

And Fowler believes the re-structure opens the door for Bradley to lead and play at the same time.

“He’d love to play,” Fowler said. “With different changes and having a team manager, it allows for more situations where there could be a playing captain. Not having as many duties. It wasn’t something I knew about until yesterday but with the lack of success we’ve had there’s no reason doing the same thing and expecting the same result.”

Still, the left-field choice of Bradley seemed unthinkable as Woods had appeared a shoo-in to take charge.

The PGA of America held out for Woods, but sought plan B when they realised the 15-time major champion would not be able to commit to the position as he remains embroiled in peace talks that could determine the future of men’s professional golf.

“Someone like Tiger was what people thought could be a choice,” Fowler added. “He will do it at some point. With everything that’s going on in the world of golf, it maybe wasn’t the right time.

“In a way, it’s taking a chance with new strategy and new operation. We might as well try something different and see if we can reshape the future for our side.”

But was Fowler surprised that Woods, a new member of the PGA Tour Policy Board, ultimately passed on the opportunity?

“No, he’s got a lot going on with everything,” he replied. “He’s got a lot on his plate already. When he does it he’s going to want everything into it. I don’t think this was the right time and that was his decision.”

And would he enjoy playing under Bradley’s leadership?

“Get him to keep playing well and we’ll be playing alongside him!”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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