Keegan Bradley can feel particularly hard done by after missing out on a Ryder Cup spot, especially with vice-captain Fred Couples now admitting that the decision was at least in part a personal one.
Bradley had an outstanding two-win season and with Ryder Cup experience under his belt had a really strong case for a wildcard.
After missing out, he said he was left feeling like “an outsider” from the USA team core, with the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler all selected.
“I’ve always been an outsider in the sport but I have tried to get closer to the guys I thought would be on the team,” said Bradley after missing out.
The picks have led to accusations that the USA team is a closed shop “boys club” but while trying to reject the theory Couples did suggest that the senior players did have a say.
“There’s no ‘outside,’” Couples said. “I saw Keegan Bradley’s statement. I left him off the team (as 2011 Presidents Cup captain) when he won a PGA. It’s the harshest thing you can do to a guy.
“I feel like it’s the players’ team, but you can’t have guys telling the captain here’s who I want, should be on it, unless you’re a Jordan Spieth or a Scottie Scheffler, or a Cantlay.”
Sam Burns, who got a pick, is a close friend with Scheffler and they’re seen like a natural pairing, and it’s those types of relationships that seem to have trumped Bradley’s form case for selection.
“Chemistry and camaraderie are huge” Zach Johnson joined Taylor Zarzour for our Ryder Cup Town Hall at PGA of America HQ!🎧: https://t.co/PRnOFBuKJR@ZachJohnsonPGA I @RyderCupUSA I @rydercup pic.twitter.com/tEqZjPprMAAugust 29, 2023
And while insisting that wildcard selections were done with pairings in mind, Couples admitted that personal relationships, or lack of in Bradley’s case, was at least part of the consideration.
“Now they’re picking other guys that may not have the record of Keegan, but they pair them up perfectly,” Couples added.
“I like Keegan. He’s an older guy, and he’s not in tight with them. If that had 20 percent to do with it, I won’t argue that.”
Even having just “20 percent” to do with selection could…