11 July 2024

Rory McIlroy ruled out being a playing captain at 2027 Ryder Cup

11 July 2024

Rory McIlroy has revealed he has dismissed a suggestion that he could be a playing captain in the 2027 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor.

Keegan Bradley said he hopes to play and captain the United States at Bethpage next year after being surprisingly handed the captaincy when Tiger Woods turned it down.

Bradley will be 39 years old at the time of next year’s event and will be the youngest Ryder Cup captain since 34-year-old Arnold Palmer was a playing captain in 1963.

Asked if it was possible to play and captain in the modern era, McIlroy – who would be 38 by the time of the 2027 Ryder Cup – said: “No, absolutely not.

“I’ve contemplated it for Adare and no, there’s too much work that goes into it. I’ve seen what Luke [Donald] went through preparing for Rome – there’s no way you can be as good a captain as you need to be and be a playing captain as well.”

McIlroy did not say who had broached the subject with him but added: “It’s been mentioned and I’ve just said no way because it depends what do you want?

“If you want to be the best captain you can be you can’t play, and if you want to be the best player you can be you can’t captain.

“It’s one or the other, especially with how big the Ryder Cup has become and how many things you have to do in the lead up to the event, the week of the event.

“Keegan is the 19th ranked player in the world so he’s got a great chance of making the team and then, if he does, I think he’s just going to have to give that captaincy role to one of his vice-captains.”

Bradley has no captaincy experience and his appointment, which came out of the blue and without any interview process, is a significant departure from the US succession planning which had been put in place by a “Task Force” formed in the wake of the defeat at Gleneagles in 2014.

“It seems quite reactionary in terms of what happened in Rome but I don’t know,” said McIlroy, who was told of Bradley’s appointment by European captain Donald on Sunday evening.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for Keegan and, speaking from a European point of view, it’s really nice to have the continuity we’ve had over the years with vice-captains becoming captains and even [2014 captain] Paul McGinley being a strategic adviser for Bethpage as well.

I obviously love the pick and I think it's a change of direction for the best

“Just to have those familiar faces in the room has always been a good thing for us. It’s certainly a departure from what the US have done over the last few years and time will tell if that’s a good thing or not.”

Two-time major winner Justin Thomas, who carded an opening 62 to lead the Genesis Scottish Open, insisted Bradley could be a playing captain next year.

“That’s kind of the thought with [former caddie] John Wood being our manager, I think he has the opportunity to really take a lot of the work off Keegan,” Thomas said.

“I just think it’s opening up a whole new opportunity and I think no captain is going to know the players and their games better than somebody who is playing with us at highest level every single week.

“I obviously love the pick and I think it’s a change of direction for the best.”

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