Brandel Chamblee says Brooks Koepka would be ‘bad for the [Ryder Cup] team’

Brooks Koepka and Brandel Chamblee

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said he doesn't think Brooks Koepka playing on the Ryder Cup team would be good for the U.S. squad.

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That long-running Brooks Koepka vs. Brandel Chamblee feud just had some gasoline poured on it.

Chamblee, the outspoken Golf Channel analyst, said on Thursday’s Golf Central pregame show that Koepka representing Team USA in Rome next month “is bad for the [Ryder Cup] team.”

“Koepka being at the Ryder Cup, regardless of what he does, will not be about whether it will be great for the United States or the Ryder Cup,” he said. “… In making this team more cohesive, being all on point, and pointing in the right direction, Brooks Koepka missing this team would be good for this team.”

Koepka joined LIV Golf last year, and Chamblee has been one of the game’s most vocal critics of the rival league, largely due to the role of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, which funds the league.

“The guy who runs the money that pays for LIV ordered the butchering of [Washington Post journalist] Jamal Khashoggi,” Chamblee said. “As far as I know, he has never faced the music for that. That is who runs LIV. That is who funds LIV. That is who they went to. That is who they are playing for.”

Chamblee — who was the subject of a lengthy feature on Thursday — and Koepka feuding is nothing new in the golf world, and it goes back at least four years, when Koepka took issue with some of Chamblee’s critiques, both direct or indirect. At the 2019 Masters, Chamblee criticized Koepka for a sudden weight loss, suggesting it was for vanity reasons, and in May 2019 Chamblee said Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy were the only current players capable of challenging Tiger Woods as the best player in the world. Koepka, who had won three majors over the past two years at that time, responded to a tweet by placing a Photoshopped clown nose on Chamblee. Koepka won his second PGA Championship, and fourth major, a couple of weeks later.

“He’s always got an opinion on something,” Koepka told at the time. “And I don’t really respond too much. I know he said a bunch of things at Augusta and I never responded, that’s not really my style. But there comes a point where you just don’t care, and like I said, a picture’s worth more than a thousand words.”

Koepka struggled in 2021 and 2022, as he battled injuries, but he returned to his major-stalwart form by contending at the 2023 Masters and winning the PGA Championship a month later.

Chamblee made his stance on Koepka joining the Ryder Cup team clear at that point, too.

“The reasons for him to be on the team are pretty obvious, right?” he told analyst Brad Faxon during Sunday’s Live From show following Koepka’s PGA win. “He’d make the team better. He’d make the Ryder Cup more compelling. But the reasons for him not to be on the team I think are pretty obvious, too. Don’t you think it would be a bit of a slap in the face to the players that didn’t go, that didn’t take the money and go to LIV, that somebody who took the money could now have their cake and eat it too? And in playing on the Ryder Cup team, would it not in some way elevate LIV, make it more legitimate?”

On Thursday, Chamblee echoed a similar stance.

“Koepka being on the Ryder Cup is a referendum on LIV,” he said. “It will be nothing else. It will be non-stop tweets from bots and everyone that supports LIV about how great this is for LIV, more than about being about the Ryder Cup, more than the philanthropic aspect of the PGA Tour or the PGA of America.”

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That Koepka is even in the Ryder Cup conversation is a testament to his play during the qualifying period, as LIV golfers can essentially only earn points through majors. Koepka’s win at the PGA came with big-time points, as did his T2 finish at the Masters.

The pro golf landscape has also changed drastically since Koepka’s PGA Championship victory, as the PGA Tour recently entered a framework agreement to merge with the DP World Tour and Saudi PIF, which owns LIV.

Koepka is fifth in the qualification standings heading into this week’s BMW Championship, the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and the top six after this week auto qualify. But even if he didn’t auto-qualify, it seems unlikely he’d be passed over as a captain’s pick by U.S. captain Zach Johnson.

“Koepka missing this team would also open up a spot for Zach Johnson,” Chamblee said. “It would open a spot for Justin Thomas or Lucas Glover.”

Johnson will select his six captain’s picks on Aug. 29, the Tuesday after the Tour Championship.

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