Phil Mickelson Backing 'Incredible' Ryder Cup Partner Keegan Bradley To 'Lead With Passion' As US Team Captain

The 12-time Ryder Cupper said Bradley's love for the biennial team competition is "more than anybody I know" and is backing him to thrive as US team captain

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley shake hands at the 2014 Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson has said that no one he knows has more love and passion for the Ryder Cup than new US team captain, Keegan Bradley and is backing his former teammate to thrive as leader in September 2025.

The 38-year-old from Woodstock, Vermont was selected as the Americans' skipper for Bethpage Black on Monday - a role he earned after Tiger Woods declined the position previously.

Bradley has only played in two Ryder Cups so far in his career, but when he did so, he was nearly always paired with the legendary left-hander.

Bradley and Mickelson went 3-0 at Medinah in 2012 - a record which included a 7&6 drubbing of Lee Westwood and his now opposite number, Luke Donald - before winning one and losing one from two matches at Gleneagles two years later.

The first and only pairing ever to taste success against Bradley and Mickelson was Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell in a Saturday afternoon foursomes match.

Keegan Bradley of the United States and partner Jillian Stacey (L) look dejected with Bubba Watson of the United States and wife Angie after Europe won the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches of the 2014 event

Keegan Bradley last played at a Ryder Cup in 2014 at Gleneagles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While Lefty went on to feature at two further Ryder cups (2016/2018), Bradley has not been able to regain his place in the US dozen - controversially missing out on the 2023 squad despite winning twice in the build-up.

Yet, in a curious turn of events, the man who phoned Bradley with the bad news last year - Zach Johnson - was actually the one to inform him he would become the new captain.

Reacting to the news that his former playing partner would be the next man to lead Team USA at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson was glowing with pride and stated it was "a great pick" by the PGA of America.

He said: "I was surprised at the pick, and I think it's a great pick, the more I think about it. He played a lot of golf at Bethpage when he went to St. Johns.

"His passion for the Ryder Cup is greater than just about any player I've ever seen. His love for the Ryder Cup is more than anybody I know. I think he's going to lead with that type of passion.

"I think he's incredible. I'm really, really happy for him. I think we all are really happy for him knowing how gut-wrenching it was to not be part of the team last year, but to now have the opportunity to lead and go forward I think is great."

Phil Mickelson Ryder Cup Vice-Captain

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bradley, meanwhile, has said he won't pick himself if he doesn't qualify outright and is focused on assembling a younger team around him for what is sure to be a lively Ryder Cup in New York.

Whether that roster of vice-captains includes Mickelson is yet to be seen, but Bradley conceded it is unlikely - going on to say that the six-time Major winner deserves to sit in his chair further down the line.

Discussing the subject of Mickelson being on his staff at Bethpage, Bradley said: “I still have a great relationship with Phil, but I don’t think he’s interested in being a vice captain. And to be honest with you, he’s a captain, someday, I think.

"I haven’t spoken to Phil, I don’t want to speak for him at all, but I think he’s pretty busy with what he’s doing and I have nothing but great things to say about Phil and our memories together, and what we did at the Ryder Cup is really one of my fondest memories in the game.”

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. During his time with Golf Monthly, Jonny has interviewed several stars of the game, including Robert MacIntyre, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood. An improving golfer himself, Jonny enjoys learning as much about the game as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Open Championships and dreams of attending The Masters one day.