• Keegan Bradley, 38, has become the youngest skipper in 62 years as US seek revenge for last year's defeat to Europe 
  • Schauffele expected someone older to be named in job after Woods turned it down, but believes 'passionate' Bradley can lead team to victory on home soil 
  • Reigning US PGA champion Schauffele is teeing it up this week at Renaissance where he is former winner of Scottish Open 

Xander Schauffele admits he was surprised to learn of Keegan Bradley’s appointment as the new Ryder Cup captain for Team USA.

It was announced this week that Bradley, 38, will lead the Americans on home soil at Bethpage Black next year.

He becomes the youngest captain in 62 years, going all the way back to when Arnold Palmer was a playing captain in 1963.

Bradley wasn’t first choice for the role, however, with Tiger Woods turning down the chance of captaining the side.

A player on losing sides in 2012 and 2014, Keegan was controversially overlooked for a wildcard last year when the Americans were thumped 16.5-11.5 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.

Schauffele was part of that team and, although somewhat taken aback by Bradley’s appointment, has tipped the Americans to bounce back after being ‘throttled’ in Rome.

‘It’s surprising,’ said Schauffele as he prepares to tee it up in this week’s Genesis Scottish Open.

‘You typically expect someone a little bit older to get selected as a captain. I think a lot of people were banking on Tiger. He obviously has a lot on his plate.

‘So Keegan expressed his love for the Ryder Cup publicly, which we all saw, and I’m sure he’s over the moon and is going to do a great job.

‘He is so laid back off the course. If you get him in, like, a dinner setting or something, he loves sports. He’ll talk about sports all night long. He’s a very passionate individual.

‘On the course, he’s intense. That’s just how he competes and how he is. I’m sure as a captain he’s going to have sort of a mixed bag. He won’t be afraid and will get everyone going.

‘I don’t know if he’s coached or captained any other teams in his life, whether it’s his kids’ teams or something like that, but when someone is really passionate about something, they usually do really well.’

Schauffele won just one point from his four matches in Rome, beating Nicolai Hojgaard in the singles, and believes the players were to blame for defeat, rather than captain Zach Johnson.

‘I remember getting throttled, that’s about it,’ said the 30-year-old, who won his first major title in the US PGA Championship at Valhalla in May.

‘If I try and think of the positives from the week, the atmosphere, our team locker room, those are the things that were really fun. Just being sort of arm in arm with my team-mates was awesome.

‘Then the fans were awesome with their chants as always. So, from a golf standpoint, getting throttled is never fun but it is what it is and we wore it on the chin there.

‘At the end of the day, us players didn’t play well. I felt like I played awful. I didn’t show up until the final round and it was already way too late.’

Schauffele believes that being a current PGA Tour player means Bradley will have a better understanding of what the team require to be at their best at Bethpage. For him, that will mean earlier preparation and fewer formal dinners.

‘When you get to the team things, it’s the same for both teams, don’t get me wrong, but a good captain will try and cut back that stuff as much as possible and make the week as easy as possible,’ said the world No 3.

‘It’s just small things. There’s two or three dinners we have to go to that are kind of mandatory-ish, and I think if we cut it down to one or two versus three that would be a really big deal.

‘I play 24 events [a season] and I don’t think I dress up and go to one dinner in all those 24 events.’

Schauffele is a former winner of the Scottish Open, having triumphed around the Renaissance two years ago.

His game has gone on to a new level since then, courtesy of securing his first major championship at Valhalla a couple of months ago.

‘It feels like that win here in Scotland was a long time ago,’ he said. ‘I love coming here and overseas, playing across the pond and slowly acclimating myself. I’m excited for the week.

‘Not that all fans don’t appreciate golf, but there’s a deeper appreciation here [in Scotland]. They know what a good shot looks like.

‘When you hit 140 yards from the pin, they know when you’ve that’s a good shot and they clap, and that’s always nice.

‘I was super proud of that win [two years ago] and it’s something I’m still proud of. Just to be able to win, of course, but also in a completely different country, is a really tough thing to do and a testament to sort of consistency and good game planning.’

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2024-07-09T18:38:54Z dg43tfdfdgfd