Ryder Cup snubs: Keegan Bradley among 3 players overlooked for Team USA

Ryder Cup snubs: Keegan Bradley among 3 players overlooked for Team USA

U.S. Captain Zach Johnson has made his six captain’s picks for next month’s Ryder Cup.

He selected Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Sam Burns, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, and Rickie Fowler.

These players join Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, and Xander Schauffele on Team USA.

But Johnson left out many players who earned an opportunity to don the stars and stripes in Rome. So here are three players who deserved a chance to play more so than anyone else:

Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, 2014 Ryder Cup

Keegan Bradley and partner Jillian Stacey (L) look dejected alongside Bubba Watson and wife Angie after Europe won the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Keegan Bradley lives and breathes red, white, and blue. He loves the Ryder Cup more than any other event in golf, so he must have felt heartbroken when he first heard the news of his snub.

“I think about the Ryder Cup every second I’m awake, basically,” Bradley said ahead of the BMW Championship.

Bradley, now 37, has played in two Ryder Cups but has not played in the competition since 2014.

Nevertheless, in both of those instances, the United States lost in heartbreaking fashion.

At Medinah in 2012, dubbed the ‘Miracle at Medinah,’ the Europeans stormed back from a 10-to-6 deficit on Sunday to defeat the U.S. in singles matches.

Two years later, at Gleneagles in Scotland, Captain Tom Watson’s team got trounced, and Phil Mickelson famously called Watson out in the post-tournament press conference. That created a hostile and awkward environment for all of those in attendance.

So Bradley’s two Ryder Cup experiences can be summed up by one word: disheartening.

“I try my hardest not to think of the Ryder Cup, but everybody asks me about it,” Bradley said at the Tour Championship. “As I’m walking down the fairways, everyone’s yelling at me about it. So it’s impossible for me to not think about it.”

This year, Bradley has had a bounce-back season. He won the Travelers Championship in front of his hometown crowd in Connecticut and recorded six top 10s.

He made it to the Tour Championship, where he finished in a tie for 9th, which cemented his terrific season.

The former St. John’s standout is also a terrific putter—a necessary attribute in Ryder Cups. A huge proponent of aim-point putting, Bradley ranks 21st on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: putting.

But unfortunately for him, his patriotic presence will be sorely missed.

Lucas Glover

Lucas Glover, PGA Tour, Tour Championship

Lucas Glover during the final round of the 2023 Tour Championship.
Photo by Jason Allen/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Lucas Glover might be the world’s hottest player, not named Viktor Hovland.

No, we are not talking about his sweaty ‘swamp ass’; we are referencing his current form.

Consider where Glover has finished in the tournaments he has played in since July:

  • Rocket Mortgage Classic: tied for 4th
  • John Deere Classic: tied for 6th
  • Barbasol Championship: 5th
  • 3M Open: missed cut
  • Wyndham Championship: won
  • FedEx St. Jude Championship: won in a playoff over Patrick Cantlay
  • BMW Championship: tied for 22nd
  • Tour Championship: tied for 18th

At 43 years old, this may have been Glover’s last chance to make a Ryder Cup roster. He has never participated in the bi-annual competition, so this snub likely hurts him even more.

Despite his age, Glover had an incredible summer and a terrific year overall. And yet, he did not even meet the criteria to play in any of the four major championships in 2023.

He obviously did not meet the criteria to qualify for the Ryder Cup, either.

Captain Johnson, who is great friends with Glover, decided to look elsewhere to fill out his team.

Cameron Young

Cameron Young, PGA Tour, BMW Championship

Cameron Young walks off the 7th tee during the second round of the 2023 BMW Championship.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

At just 26 years old, Cameron Young will have plenty of opportunities to make Ryder Cup rosters in the future. Perhaps he can use this snub as motivation heading into 2025, when the Ryder Cup will be held at Bethpage Black, near his hometown of Briarcliff Manor, New York.

Alas, Captain Johnson decided Young was not ready to wear the red, white, and blue in a Ryder Cup.

“Having to make those phone calls [to players who did not make the team] did keep me up at night,” Johnson said Tuesday. “Specifically, [Young], who is a phenomenal player, better person. He was nothing but class.”

The 17th-ranked player in the world did play for Team USA in the 2022 Presidents Cup, where he had a 1-2-1 record.

But his poor performance at Quail Hollow, coupled with his inconsistent 2022-23 season, led Johnson to overlook Young.

Plus, Young struggled to find fairways this season. He ranked 119th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy percentage, an important metric considering the Europeans will narrow the fairways at Marco Simone Golf Club. The rough will be extra thick too.

Yet, Young ranked 6th in strokes gained off the tee this year. He can hit the ball a mile, but his inaccuracies must have been a reason as to why Johnson went with someone else.

Zach Johnson, Ryder Cup

Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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