Asked about animosity among 2 young PGA Tour stars, Koepka says spat expands golf’s appeal and won't affect Ryder Cup
“I don't see why it would,” Koepka said Wednesday in Ridgeland, S.C., where he will play in the PGA Tour’s inaugural Palmetto Championship at Congaree Golf Club, which begins Thursday. (For tee times, click here.)
“I mean, there's only eight guys that are playing, four guys are sitting, whatever,” Koepka said when pressed to elaborate. “I mean, I play with one other guy. I don't understand – 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, and 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, 31, whose eight PGA Tour victories include four major championships, has engaged in a running feud with DeChambeau that dialed up a few notches three weeks ago at the PGA Championship. A video clip of Koepka from a part of an interview with Golf Channel that did not air was leaked to social media, showing Koepka roll his eyes in response to DeChambeau walking through the camera frame.
“I think it's good for the game. I really do,” Koepka 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. 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.”
Their run-ins date to at least 2019, when Koepka took issue with DeChambeau’s slow pace of play at the Northern Trust playoff event. Koepka ratcheted up the trash talking last week after some fans at the Memorial Tournament taunted DeChambeau with "Brooksie" chants and were escorted off the grounds. Koepka turned to Instagram to send a video offering the antagonists beer from one of his sponsors.
Maybe none of that will matter in September at Whistling Straits, where the Americans will try to halt the Europeans’ dominance for most of the past 20 years in the Ryder Cup. DeChambeau, 27, who is No. 5 in the world ranking and will enter next week’s U.S. Open as the defending champion, and No. 8 Koepka likely will play key roles on the U.S. team.
Just don’t expect to see captain Steve Stricker tap them for foursomes partners.
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