Golf-Koepka, DeChambeau feud simmers as Ryder Cup prepares to tee off

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FILE PHOTO: Golf – The 2020 Ryder Cup – Whistling Straits, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S. – September 22, 2021 Team USA’s Brooks Koepka hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during a practice round REUTERS/Brian Snyder

September 23, 2021

By Steve Keating

KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) – Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau are U.S. Ryder Cup team mates and that seemed to be the only common ground for the feuding Americans as they went through final preparations on Thursday to take on Europe at Whistling Straits.

Normally if there is any bad blood at the biennial event, it is between the two sides and their fans, but this time the spotlight has been locked on the bickering U.S. team mates.

U.S. captain Steve Stricker has done his best to try to dismiss the drama as overblown and a non-issue, but the squabble has lingered over the buildup.

Koepka was offered a last opportunity at his news conference on Thursday to put the rift to rest but instead sounded very much like someone forced into an arranged marriage.

“We are on the same team together,” summed up the world number 10. “We’ve had dinner almost every night as a team.

“I got here on Monday.

“Everyone who is on our team is interacting and everybody is participating in conversations and doing everything we need to do.”

The answer and robotic tone did not sound like someone who had settled his differences and made peace.

DeChambeau, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, had a much more positive spin, suggesting the quarrel had been driven by a lot of external factors and that the two were now good and even had dinner on Monday.

The world number seven even left his news conference throwing out a teaser that “there may be something fun coming up” with Koepka in the future.

That was news to Koepka. If DeChambeau had plans he did not share them with him.

“I have no idea,” snarled Koepka. “I didn’t listen to the comments or hear what he said, so I have no idea.”

Koepka and DeChambeau will not be the first team mates to put their differences aside for the greater good, both agreeing they are at Whistling Straits for one reason only, to win a Ryder Cup.

Koepka also defended comments he made in a recent interview where he seemed to criticise the Ryder Cup for the disruption it can create.

The backlash was harsh, with some saying if he did not particularly care for the event, he should give his spot on the team to someone who does.

“I never said it was negative, you all spun it that way,” said Koepka. I said it was different.

“That doesn’t mean it’s bad.

“I enjoy it. I think it’s a lot of fun to play.

“I can only do my job and then you all report whatever your opinion or side might be.

“It’s how you guys take it and spin it, and you guys spun it negatively.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Kohler, Wisconsin. Editing by Toby Davis)





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