Tiger Woods gives reason why he turned down Ryder Cup captaincy

In a surprising twist that shocked the golf world—and even Keegan Bradley himself—the PGA of America hand-picked Bradley to captain the United States team at next year’s Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black.

Before the announcement, many speculated that Tiger Woods would lead Team USA on the Black Course, where he won the 2002 U.S. Open. But Woods turned down the offer a few weeks ago. He gave his reason why in a statement delivered Tuesday by Julius Mason from the PGA of America:

“With my new responsibilities to the tour and time commitments involved, I felt I could not commit the time to Team USA and the players required as a captain,” Woods said.

“That does not mean I wouldn’t want to captain a team in the future. If/when I feel it is the right time, I will put my hat in the ring for the committee to decide.”

Whether Woods will still have a role on the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup team remains to be seen.

“I have told him he can be as involved as he wants to be,” Bradley said Tuesday in New York.

Keegan Bradley, Ryder Cup

Keegan Bradley speaks during his introductory press conference on Jul. 9, 2024.
PGA of America

“We all look up to Tiger; his opinion means a lot to us. Being in team rooms with Tiger, the public doesn’t realize how important this is to him. It’s everything. He lives and breathes [the Ryder Cup]. It shows you how much he cares by turning this position down because he didn’t feel he could put in what he needed to do with his responsibilities and what’s going on with the tour.”

The PGA Tour welcomed Woods to its Policy Board last August. Since then, the 15-time major winner has helped the tour secure a $1.5 billion investment from the Strategic Sports Group (SSG), a consortium of American sports owners that includes John Henry of the Boston Red Sox, Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons, and Steve Cohen of the New York Mets, among others.

Woods has also been vital in negotiating a deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF)—LIV Golf’s beneficiary. Talks between the PGA Tour and the PIF remain ongoing, which explains why Woods did not want to commit to the captaincy.

Tiger Woods, U.S. Open

Tiger Woods most recently competed in the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour via Getty Images

That said, Bradley felt obligated to contact Woods for his mentorship and his approval.

“I needed to talk to Tiger before accepting the role. I wanted to make sure I [could do it]. I wanted to hear from him,” Bradley added.

“[Over the last two weeks,] I’ve spoken to Tiger a bunch. I talked to him this morning on the phone. He’s been very helpful. Tiger has always been really helpful to me. He’s a great voice to hear, and he’s been nothing but — he’s been reaching out to me and helping me, which has been amazing.”

Even though Woods will not serve as captain, it sounds as if he will still play a role—regardless of whether he returns as an official vice-captain. Nobody has a better resume than him, even though his Ryder Cup record is not as strong as it should be. Still, Woods’ presence—on the ground at Bethpage or via phone from Florida—will consequently help Bradley and the Americans as a whole.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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