As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Keegan Bradley held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his upcoming stint leading the team at Bethpage Black next fall. He came across as someone who sincerely loves this competition, having had an experience that “changed his life” while attending the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline with his father.

There wasn’t a lot of strategy talk in the press conference – mostly questions about the surprise call that let him know he’d be in charge without ever asking for it – but one little team-building nugget stuck out. When asked about the points system and if there’d be any changes he’d make to the selection process, Bradley answered that “adding a few more automatic spots” is something they’d just begun taking a look at. “We just want the tournaments with the best fields and the biggest events to have more weight. Because when you get under the gun in this tournament it’s pretty intense, so you need guys that are going to be ready for that,” he added.

For someone who knows the history of this event and cares more about it than anything else, it’s surprising to me that Bradley would want more qualifying spots and, in turn, fewer captain’s picks. Just look at the “last man” selected on the previous two winners. At the time of selection, Scottie Scheffler (2021) and Ludvig Åberg (2023) didn’t have a PGA Tour win yet, but were trending upward and obviously rose to superstardom afterwards. Those winning captains were armed with six open selections, allowing them to take a risk on a young, unproven player having already filled out a team with deserving veterans. With only four captain’s picks, would Luke Donald have taken Åberg last year over an aging European legend like Justin Rose? It’s impossible to know, but it certainly makes the decision to swing for the fences a bit harder.

Nothing is set in stone yet – Bradley’s only been in charge for two weeks, as he reminded people – but it’s disappointing to hear that he’d like to take the ball out of his own hands and let the points list decide for him. The goal should be to have the 12 best Americans at the time of the September event, with one major performance in April or May not being the sole deciding factor for a player’s candidacy. It pays to have the extra flexibility at the end – and the lifelong Ryder Cup fan in charge should know that.