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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Koepka sees no reason why Bryson feud should impact Ryder Cup

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Brooks Koepka is adamant that his ongoing and very public rivalry with Bryson DeChambeau should have no bearing on the US Ryder Cup team dynamic ahead of September’s renewal at Whistling Straits.

The internet has gone into overdrive since a Golf Channel video of Koepka rolling his eyes and cursing DeChambeau leaked after the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. There is a very obvious dislike between the pair – or at least there is when you remove any conspiracy theories that suggest their rivalry has been invented because of the Player Impact Programme. Sceptics would point to the timing of the public spat and the eyeballs it has attracted online and suggest that both players are set to benefit from a good chunk of the $40m bonus pool regardless of how they play this year.

Whatever about the origins of the apparent sudden hatred, however, Koepka is convinced that just because himself and Bryson are odds on to be sharing the team room in Wisconsin in September, US Captain Steve Stricker has nothing to worry about it.

“I don’t see why it would,” Koepka answered bluntly when asked if it would affect the team.

The journalist pushed: ‘You don’t see why two players on the team bickering with each other publicly would potentially cause an issue in a team event?’

Koepka continued: “I mean, there’s only eight guys that are playing, four guys are sitting. I play with one other guy. If let’s say I don’t play with Bryson or Bryson doesn’t play with me, he takes care of his match, and I would take care of my match – I don’t know how that has any effect. What you do off the golf course doesn’t have any effect on the golf course.”

Koepka was speaking ahead of this week’s Palmetto Championship at Congaree where he’s looking to get some reps in ahead of next week’s US Open at Torrey Pines. But rather than his golf game being the main focus of the pre-tournament press conference, questions inevitably returned to Bryson, highlighting the fact that such rivalry is so rare in golf these days; something Koepka believes can only be good for the game.

“Yeah, I think it’s good for the game. I really do,” he said. “The fact that golf’s on pretty much every news outlet for about two weeks pretty consistently, I think that’s a good thing. It’s growing the game.

“You know, the younger generation — I get the traditionalists who don’t agree with it. I understand that, but I think to grow the game you’ve got to reach out to the younger generation, and I think that’s what — I don’t want to say that’s what this is, but it’s reaching out to a whole bunch of people. It’s getting golf in front of people. I think it’s good for the game.”

Also teeing up this week in South Carolina are Irish Olympic teammates Seamus Power (1.22pm Irish) and Padraig Harrington (17.26).

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