Mickelson and DeChambeau praise Bradley appointment

Ronan MacNamara

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley (Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau have welcomed the surprise appointment of Keegan Bradley as US Ryder Cup captain for Bethpage Black next year.

On Tuesday Bradley revealed that the only discussion he held around the captaincy was when he was told he was going to get it. The 38-year-old will be the youngest US skipper since Arnold Palmer served as a 34-year-old playing captain in 1963 at East Lake.

Bradley has not played in a Ryder Cup since Gleneagles in 2014 and was controversially left out by Zach Johnson in Rome last year. He did make an impact in his previous two appearances, becoming the heartbeat of the team for the Stars and Stripes. He also partnered Mickelson to three wins in Medinah in 2012.

“I was surprised at the pick, and I think it’s a great pick the more I think about it,” Mickelson said ahead of this week’s LIV Golf Andalucía event at Valderrama.

“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.”

In his captain’s announcement press conference, Bradley said he would love to be a playing captain but stressed that he will pick the best 12 US players regardless if they play on the PGA Tour or on LIV.

Music to the ears of US Open champion DeChambeau.

“Yeah, look, I’m excited for him,” said DeChambeau, who was also left out by Johnson in Rome as Brooks Koepka was picked.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for him, especially as it relates to younger players.

“He’s going to see that younger threshold, and obviously relate to them a lot more, I would say, because of his age. I mean, what he is he, 38 or something like that?

“So yeah, he’s seeing the younger generation game. He’s out there still playing and competing and it’s great to have some relateability.

“As far as picking the best players, that’s the right approach and I couldn’t be more happy for him as captain.”

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