In the wake of Keegan Bradley being named American Ryder Cup captain, Shane and Joseph took to their keyboards to offer the pros and cons of the move.

Give Me Keegan and Give Me Change! 

By Shane Bacon

A constant misconception about coaching is that the person in charge has to be cool. They have to be liked. That helps, sure, but it isn’t directly correlated to winning. If you watched Hard Knocks last season you saw a coach in Mike McDaniel who is anything but the cool guy in the room. But the dude can coach. That’s all players really care about.

Keegan Bradley is a lot of things, but I don’t believe cool is one of them. He’s always been a bit quirky and unique, characteristics that allow you to stand out amongst your peers but likely won’t put you in a position to be a part of the “in” crowd. That hurt him in 2023 as he tried to make the Ryder Cup team. I believe it’ll help him change the culture of what a Ryder Cup captain should be and needs to be in these modern times.

Keegan ends the reign of the good ol’ boys club. To be fair, it was already dying off, likely never to return. Golf’s generational turnover is happening so quickly right now, which makes the likelihood of a group of young guys making 4-5 straight Ryder Cup teams (like we saw with most of the SB2K crew) almost impossible.

What the Americans have needed with the Ryder Cup is something different. New coaching, new leaderboard, a total overhaul. Something to make the team–the thing that actually matters in this two-year build-up to a competition that lasts 72 hours–maximally competitive.

The one area in which Europe has consistently outpaced the Americans regarding Ryder Cup preparation is youth and innovation on the coaching side. The teams are the teams, and even if you go with guys you like over guys that deserve a spot, you can theoretically still win the Cup if the guys you do pick play awesome golf.

But that slight edge has gone Europe’s way for many years now.

I believe Keegan Bradley is so obsessed with the idea of winning (and winning for America, F-Yeah!) that he will exhaust the minds of those around him and beyond, leaning into the fractions of points. The analytical stuff that Europe has dominated the U.S. in over recent Cups.

I also believe that Keegan will battle for the non-superstars. I think that Keegan will keep in mind the players that might not carry past resumes but are playing incredible golf when it matters. I think those types of players have been forgotten over the past few Ryder Cups by the American bro-committees in lieu of players with the largest sponsorship deals and even larger social media followings.

Watching Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas play golf in red, white and blue is cool, but you know what’s cooler than that? Seeing the team you’re rooting for win.

That’s the key to the Keegan experience. I think winning will be his main focus. It’s easy for captains to speak on winning each time a microphone gets thrust in their face, but it’s another to make winning adjustments and decisions, whether they’ll be popular or not.

Reactions to Keegan’s Captaincy Are Greatly Exaggerated

By Joseph LaMagna

Monday’s surprising announcement that Keegan Bradley would serve as Team USA captain for the 2025 Ryder Cup lit up social media. From what I observed, reactions were mixed but overwhelmingly positive. Golf fans and media members appear to find Team USA’s shift in the direction of leadership refreshing and needed. Out with the old, tired formula that’s produced inconsistent results, in with a new perspective. Even before Tuesday’s official press conference, many people seemed to have already made up their minds about how successful Keegan will be before hearing a word from him on how he will approach his captaincy, positions people will likely cling to no matter what decisions Keegan makes over the next 15 months. I think we should hold our horses on that.

Don’t get me wrong, I commend the PGA of America and the Ryder Cup committee who appointed Bradley for going outside the box and getting creative with the selection. I wasn’t clamoring for another Davis Love III captaincy. Admittedly I was sort of clamoring for another Zach Johnson captaincy, but that’s purely for the content bonanza a ZJ captaincy provides. But let me get this straight: the case for Keegan Bradley is…that he loves the tournament, has a 4-3-0 record competing in the event, will take the job seriously, and still has his suitcase packed from the 2012 Ryder Cup? That’s enough for people to decide he’s going to be successful?

How you feel about Keegan’s captaincy depends on what you value in a Ryder Cup captain. More than likely, Keegan will be a strong motivator, a compelling communicator in the locker room and on TV, a lightning rod for the New York crowds, and as depicted in Netflix’s Full Swing, not as entrenched in the “boys’ club” that may sway other captains towards selecting friends over better course fits and more in-form golfers.

But being successful at the Ryder Cup takes more than just passion. Team USA has been severely outmatched by Team Europe’s decision-making skills and the wealth of knowledge they’ve accumulated over the years. Successful strategizing at the Ryder Cup isn’t as simple as having access to numbers. Team Europe has strong experience interpreting data and using all available information to set their players up best for success. It’s about preparation, understanding course fit, picking the right players, pairing players intelligently, managing rest, and finding other advantages. And it’s also about being decisive and getting buy-in from the team. Does Keegan have those skills in his bag?

I’m not saying Keegan Bradley can’t manage all of those things, nor do I think prior captaining experience should be a requirement. Zach Johnson has captainship experience, and I wouldn’t want him anywhere near the team room. Steve Stricker seemed to have a strong command of the decision-making aspects of captainship, yet he’s been more the exception than the rule for Team USA. So far I just haven’t seen anything from Keegan to suggest that he has good (or bad) answers to the decision-making problems that have plagued Team USA in the past.

To Keegan’s credit, in a Golf Channel interview after his Tuesday press conference he said that he’d leverage “analytics” to determine which players fit best with partners and which are best course fits. He also alluded to the advantage of power, specifically on a golf course like Bethpage. Those are promising comments. But again, acceptance of data-backed strategy is one thing. Interpreting data intelligently and turning insights into a coherent game plan with buy-in from the team is its own separate challenge.

If you think the strategy stuff is mostly bogus and overblown, then you probably don’t have many concerns about Keegan’s potential. To be clear, I think he has potential too! But to those who have already decided that Keegan will be a smashing success as captain at Bethpage without seeing any evidence that he can solve problems that have plagued Team USA in the past, I think we should wait and see before drawing grand conclusions. Declarative statements about the job he’ll do, a job for which he apparently didn’t even interview, are premature. A healthy level of skepticism about Keegan Bradley’s captaincy is probably wise.

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.