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7D AGO

Surprised but optimistic, Xander Schauffele reacts to Keegan Bradley’s Ryder Cup captaincy

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    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    Xander Schauffele admits he was surprised to hear the news. But he’s intrigued by the possibilities.

    Schauffele met the media Tuesday ahead of the Genesis Scottish Open, where he’ll defend his 2022 title this week at The Renaissance Club, and the central line of questioning was as expected: the PGA of America’s announcement that Keegan Bradley will captain the U.S. Team at the 2025 Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black.

    Although they’ve never played together on a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team, Schauffele and Bradley know each other well, and Schauffele is sure of a few things. Bradley is “over the moon” about the appointment, will bring the passion and understands the intricacies of leading a modern team.

    Schauffele is personally intrigued to see how Bradley approaches the role, as well.

    “When someone is really passionate about something, they usually do really well,” Schauffele said Tuesday. “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.

    “Knowing Keegan and how good of a job he's going to want to do, he's going to love doing the press and talking about the tournament and the Cup and proud to be an American, all those things. It's going to be really interesting and fun to see.”


    'I was super proud': Xander Schauffele on 2022 Genesis Scottish Open victory


    Schauffele has represented the U.S. Team at the past two Ryder Cups and past two Presidents Cups, with last year’s Ryder Cup defeat at Marco Simone the only loss he has experienced. He’s fresh off his first major title at this year’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, and it stands to reason that the world No. 3 will don the American colors next fall at Bethpage Black. Schauffele said he has enjoyed all his captains in international competition, but he's also intrigued to see how Bradley applies his experience as a current high-level player as he captains a team of his peers.

    “I feel like Keegan would understand sort of when we need to get up, when we need to practice, and when you need to do this and hopefully dodge anything you don't have to do,” Schauffele said Tuesday. “And maybe that will help us.”

    Bradley’s appointment wasn’t expected, but after Tiger Woods reportedly declined the captaincy, the PGA of America needed to audible and landed on Bradley, 38, who currently stands No. 19 on the Official World Golf Ranking and has notched two runner-up finishes this season. Bradley was on the short list of potential captain’s selections for last year’s Ryder Cup at Marco Simone but wasn’t picked; the scene of 2023 U.S. Team captain Zach Johnson calling to deliver the news memorably captured by Netflix’s “Full Swing” cameras.

    Bradley will have the ultimate redemption opportunity at Bethpage Black outside New York City, where he attended college at St. John’s University and often played Bethpage Black on Mondays. The buy-in from U.S. Team members will be crucial in the overall effort. As defending champ at the Genesis Scottish Open, Schauffele had the first opportunity to publicly address the Bradley selection – which was described by Jim Gallagher Jr. on Golf Channel as “definitely out-of-the-box.” (Gallagher Jr. memorably upset Seve Ballesteros in Sunday singles at the 1993 Ryder Cup, as part of the U.S. Team’s comeback win on road soil at The Belfry.)

    “Yeah, it's surprising,” Schauffele concurred. “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 … I haven't talked to him or seen him yet, but I'm sure he's over the moon and is going to do a great job.”

    Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.

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