Why Tiger Woods turned down the U.S. Ryder Cup captaincy

Tiger Woods released a statement through the PGA of America explaining why he turned down the captaincy of the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

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Ask anyone over the past nine months, and they would have told you Tiger Woods was likely to be the U.S. captain at the 2025 Ryder Cup.

Even as Woods publicly dodged questions about taking on one of the most high-profile jobs in golf, fans, analysts, and other pros alike all assumed Woods would be leading the red, white and blue at Bethpage Black.

That is until Monday when rumors began circulating that Woods had turned the job down. Then it became official that afternoon with the PGA’s surprise announcement that Keegan Bradley had been named captain of the U.S. squad for 2025.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be more surprised of anything in my entire life. I was, I had no idea. It took awhile for it to sink in,” Bradley said in a press conference announcing his selection on Tuesday in New York City. “I’ve spoken to Tiger a bunch. I spoke 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 helping me, which has been amazing.”

At the event, the PGA of America also read off a statement from Woods explaining why he turned the job down.

“With my new responsibilities to the [PGA] Tour and time commitments involved I felt I would not be able to 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 this committee to decide.”

The last time Woods was asked about captaining the Ryder Cup team was in May at the PGA Championship, where he confirmed talks were ongoing between him and then-PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. But Waugh stepped down as head of the PGA last month after a six-year run at the helm when his contract was not renewed. Waugh and Woods are known to be close allies.

But even at Valhalla, Woods seemed wary of his prior commitments interfering with a potential captaincy.

“I’m dedicating my so much time to what we’re doing with the PGA Tour, I don’t want to not fulfill the role of the captaincy if I can’t do it,” Woods said at the PGA. “What that all entails and representing Team USA and the commitments to the PGA of America, the players and the fans and as I said, all of Team USA.

“I need to feel that I can give the amount of time that it deserves.”

Woods was appointed to the PGA Tour Policy Board as a player director in August to help re-establish player control of the body. Since that time, he’s taken an aggressive role in what ended up being a multi-billion dollar investment by the SSG and the ongoing negotiations with the Saudi PIF.

In addition to his work with his own company, TGR Ventures, which through his TGR Design firm is working on at least four courses at the moment, and his desire to still compete in major championships, Woods ultimately decided adding the Ryder Cup captaincy was too much for him.

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But Bradley also wouldn’t rule out Woods serving as a Ryder Cup vice captain at Bethpage Black as well.

”I have told him he can be as involved as he wants to be,” Bradley said. “We haven’t talked about vice captains, I haven’t talked to vice captains with really anybody. So we, as players, we all look up to Tiger and 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 this event.

“I think it shows you how much he cares by not, by turning this position down, because he didn’t feel like he could put in what he needed to do with all of his responsibilities with what’s going on with the Tour. I’ve been grateful — before I accepted this job I needed to talk to Tiger and I wanted to make sure I — I wanted to hear from him. We had a great conversation. I certainly need his input.”

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.

 

 

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