Paul McGinley has slammed Brooks Koepka for continuing to fuel the controversy between the four-time major winner and fellow American and this week’s defending US Open champ, Bryson DeChambeau.
The bad blood between the duo was first spilt in public at the PGA Championship when Koepka took exception to the noise DeChambeau was making in walking behind Koepka who, at the time, was being interviewed by the Golf Channel at Kiawah Island.
The controversy spilled over a fortnight later when DeChambeau began to be heckled by fans yelling ‘Brooks Koepka’ or ‘Brooksy’, with Koepka not even competing. Local police ended-up escorting three fans off the host Muirfield Village course.
Around midday on the third day of The Memorial (Saturday, June 5th), Koepka released a 30-second tweet ‘thanking’ all those who were calling out his name and bizarrely offering 50 cases of Michelob beer to any spectator whose ‘time was cut short at the Memorial’.
Koepka had spoken on the eve of this week’s U.S. Open that the ‘friendly banter’ between he and DeChambeau is ‘good for the game’ but McGinley reckons Koepka has gone too far in releasing his own video praising those Memorial troublemakers.
“I didn’t mind the first video clip at Kiawah but the line was crossed when the crowd was encouraged by Brooks, to go out and kind of heckle Bryson by calling out Brooks’ name even though Brooks wasn’t playing the tournament,” said McGinley speaking on SKY Sports Golf.
“That’s a line and that’s an area you don’t want to go into, and we also don’t want to encourage in the game of golf. Golf is a game and it is a very difficult game and it demands huge amounts of concentration. It demands quietness when you play, just like tennis and we certainly don’t want golf breaking into shouts of ‘bababooey’, ‘mashed potatoes’ and all of that kind of rubbish.
“So, to have members of the public heckling a player while he is in the middle of playing a shot is something we want to steer off.”
USGA officials have advised extra security staff have been employed for all four days of this week’s U.S. Open to discourage such behaviour with McGinley hoping this will be the end of the matter.
“That’s where I had a problem with Brooks, particularly with regards to the second video and encouraging fans to heckle Bryson,” said McGinley.
“I’m surprised Brooks has gone down the path he has and I would much prefer him to be the tough cowboy who rides into town and performs in these major championships in that stoic way of his. That’s what we like about Brooks, not this spat, and having a go at another current player. Even though he doesn’t like Bryson, by going public on it as he did, well I don’t like it.
“Brooks is saying the second video was leaked but the bottom line is he then jumped in and took it to another stage after that second video. I prefer to see the stoic Brooks Koepka. I love his golf. I love how he plays. I love his attitude. I love his mental strength and his guile, and the no nonsense approach he has for the game.
“I want to see more of that from Brooks and less of this rounding on a player who he quite clearly doesn’t like.”