US rivals DeChambeau & Koepka unlikely to play together at Ryder Cup

, US rivals DeChambeau & Koepka unlikely to play together at Ryder Cup, The Evepost BBC News
, US rivals DeChambeau & Koepka unlikely to play together at Ryder Cup, The Evepost BBC News
DeChambeau and Koepka are both in a 12-man Unites States squad aiming to win only the nation’s second Ryder Cup in 20 years
Dates: 24-26 September Venue: Whistling Straits, Wisconsin
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American players Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau are unlikely to be paired together during the Ryder Cup, says US captain Steve Stricker.

Koepka and DeChambeau have had a long-running rivalry which has seen them exchange barbs and led to fans becoming involved by throwing insults.

The duo are team-mates as the US aim to beat Europe and regain the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits this weekend.

On pairing them up, Stricker said: “It could always happen. But probably not.”

Four-time major champion Koepka, 31, and DeChambeau – who won his first major at the 2020 US Open – have been publicly at loggerheads in recent seasons.

Koepka said 28-year-old DeChambeau was “fair game” after “not holding up his end of the bargain” in a row of quotes and social media comments that he says began in 2019.

DeChambeau has previously described it as “banter back and forth”, but showed his annoyance at last month’s BMW Championship on the PGA Tour by swearing at a fan who shouted “Brooksie” at him after he lost a play-off to Patrick Cantlay.

Stricker has played down any tension between the pair and insists it will not affect his team’s hopes of winning the Ryder Cup.

“It’s a non-issue, really, for me and the team,” Stricker said in a pre-tournament news conference at Whistling Straits on Monday.

“We got together a few weeks ago [with his five vice-captains] and I’ve had conversations with them both. They have assured me it’s not going to be an issue. I have no worries whatsoever.

“Will we pair them together? I don’t think so at this point but things could change.

“But again, I had a dinner; they all showed up. We had great conversation, great talks. So I’m not seeing it as an issue at all and they are completely on board.”

Koepka has been an injury doubt for the three-day event after injuring his wrist during the season-ending Tour Championship earlier this month, but Stricker said the two-time Ryder Cup player is “100% ready” for the event.

The 43rd staging of the biennial event takes place at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from Friday to Sunday.

, US rivals DeChambeau & Koepka unlikely to play together at Ryder Cup, The Evepost BBC News

Europe have won nine of the past 12 Ryder Cups and are the defending champions after winning 17½-10½ at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.

How the ‘feud’ has unfolded

January 2019: The rivalry between Koepka and DeChambeau seemingly began with Koepka saying he didn’t “understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds to hit a golf ball”. He added “it really drives me nuts” after watching video footage of DeChambeau going through some calculations before hitting a shot.

DeChambeau, who has bulked up significantly to help his efforts to hit the ball further, defended his approach and pointed out “the Rules of Golf allow for a certain amount of time, and we’re (using it) to our fullest potential”.

, US rivals DeChambeau & Koepka unlikely to play together at Ryder Cup, The Evepost BBC News
In January 2020, Koepka and DeChambeau were all smiles as they posed with a dumbbell and a lab flask at the launch of The Abu Dhabi Championship

May 2021: Koepka appeared to be distracted by DeChambeau in an unaired interview at the US PGA Championship in which the former went on to criticise the latter.

On 26 May, Koepka posted a message on Twitter that read “Sorry bro @AaronRodgers12” after the NFL quarterback was paired with DeChambeau for ‘The Match’ against Phil Mickelson and another NFL quarterback Tom Brady.

DeChambeau responded by saying he was “living rent free” in Koepka’s head so Koepka retweeted a video of a fan calling DeChambeau “Brooksie” during a practice round at the US PGA Championship.

June 2021: Koepka tweeted a video message in which he thanked fans for their support at the Memorial Tournament despite him not playing.

A number of spectators were escorted from Muirfield Village for shouting “Brooksie” at DeChambeau.

Koepka reacted to the news by posting a video on social media offering to reimburse any spectator whose day was “cut short” with a free case of beer.

August 2021: After his play-off defeat by Cantlay in the BMW Championship, DeChambeau swore in response to a fan who mocked him by saying “great job, Brooksie”.

Hecklers were warned by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan they could face expulsion from the course if they abused the players.

More warnings have been issued before this week’s Ryder Cup, although the partisan crowd is likely to be pulling for the American team as a whole.

The rivalry could inspire the US rather than hinder them, says Europe captain Padraig Harrington.