‘Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together,’ Steve Stricker reveals
A Ryder Cup pairing.
In an interview on NBC on Sunday after his U.S. team clinched the cup at Whistling Straits, captain Steve Stricker revealed the feuding duo had asked to play together in the match-play event.
“They had a mission this week and you could tell it and they played great and they came together,” Stricker said of his team. “I just can’t tell you. I mean, Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together. That’s how much it came together. So that shows a lot about this whole team.”
In the end, and despite some online chatter calling for it, Stricker paired DeChambeau with Scottie Scheffler in two four-ball matches, and Koepka with Daniel Berger in two foursomes matches, and with Jordan Spieth in fourball on Saturday. Still, Stricker’s admission continued a weeklong theme of dissipating frostiness between the longtime foes.
Earlier in the week, albeit in front of cameras, Koepka walked up to DeChambeau on the range. Each, too, answered questions about the other in their pre-Ryder Cup press conferences.
“You know, again, a lot of this social media stuff has definitely been driven by a lot of external factors, not necessarily us two,” DeChambeau said Tuesday. “We had a great — we had some great conversations Tour Championship week when we had dinner, and then this week, as well. I sat down and had dinner with him last night, and it was fine.
“I think there may be something fun coming up here moving forward, but won’t speak too much more on that.”
Said Koepka on Thursday: “We are on the same team together. 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.”
And then finally came this:
On the same 18th green where Stricker had been earlier, Koepka again walked up to DeChambeau, slapped his right hand and hugged him.
“All right, there we go, never thought we’d see it,” announcer Dan Hicks said on the NBC broadcast. “It was quick, but that was a hug.”
“It was something,” remarked analyst Paul Azinger. “It was more than a bro hug.”