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What a strange saga the US captaincy for the 2025 Ryder Cup has been.

While it seemed the PGA of America was waiting on Tiger Woods, as soon as the 15-time major champion ruled himself out, the governing body had to make a snap decision.

President John Lindert, announcing Keegan Bradley as the successor to Zach Johnson in a press conference on Tuesday, said the powers that be “came to a pretty quick decision” and that Bradley was a “slam dunk” candidate for the role.

A surprise? Sure. Bradley hasn’t been involved in the Ryder Cup in any capacity since playing in the 2014 matches at Gleneagles, and his only association with the tournament in recent times was the now-infamous clip from the Netflix documentary Full Swing that saw Johnson breaking his friend’s heart by telling him he hadn’t made the team for Rome.

Other names in the hat included Fred Couples, Jim Furyk and Davis Love III, but it was Stewart Cink who was expected to get the nod should Woods decide not to take it.

As it turned out, it was the 2009 Open champion’s turn to be left desponded.

“I’m disappointed that I wasn’t chosen to be the captain, of course,” Cink told reporters at the Genesis Scottish Open on Tuesday. “I was really hoping to be in that role.”

“I love the United States and I love the players. I have so much respect for the players and the Ryder Cup.”

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley was named as the surprise successor to Zach Johnson as the US team’s Ryder Cup captain. (Credit: Getty Images)

The 51-year-old played in five Ryder Cups, winning once in 2008, and was an assistant to Johnson last time out, but he doesn’t believe the fact Bradley hasn’t been part of a vice-captain team should matter.

“He played on some teams and played some great golf – and he won a PGA Championship,” he added. “Those count. A lot.”

• Why Keegan Bradley’s appointment might just be a masterstroke

• Keegan Bradley addresses the Ryder Cup elephant in the room

• Rickie Fowler backs Keegan Bradley for player-captain role

Cink did also seem to suggest his time had gone. With Bradley at the wheel next year and Woods almost certain to take the reins two years later at Adare Manor – which is owned by his good friend JP McManus – Cink will be 56 by the time the Ryder Cup returns to US soil in 2029.

And it’s that reason Cink believes was behind the PGA opting for Bradley, saying the 38-year-old “is closer in age range to players who are going to be on the team”.

“That could be a factor,” he added. “Maybe they are looking to change some things.”

But Cink is fully behind Bradley as he bids to regain the trophy won by the Luke Donald-led Europeans in Italy. The 2025 Ryder Cup will take place at Bethpage State Park in New York, not far from Bradley’s hometown of Woodstock, Vermont.

“Keegan has great energy and he’s playing great,” Cink said. “He’ll do a really good job. I know he wants a team win and his roots being there in New England.

“He’ll be a great captain.”

We discussed the fallout from Keegan Bradley being named the Ryder Cup captain on the latest episode of The bunkered Podcast!

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Alex Perry is the Associate Editor of bunkered. A journalist for more than 20 years, he has been a golf industry stalwart for the majority of his career and, in a five-year spell at ESPN, covered every sporting event you can think of. He completed his own Grand Slam at the 2023 Masters, having fallen in love with the sport at his hometown club of Okehampton and on the links of nearby Bude & North Cornwall.

Associate Editor

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