‘Act like a child’: Brooks Koepka slams Jon Rahm after tense Ryder Cup tie
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The feelings were tense among the U.S. Ryder Cup team after suffering a Friday morning sweep by the Europeans. By the time their afternoon leads had vanished at the hands of Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and crew, tensions officially started to boil over.
Look no further than U.S. team member and reigning PGA Champion Brooks Koepka.
After watching his teammates get trounced in the first session from the sidelines, Koepka teamed up with World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler in an afternoon four-ball match against Rahm and Nicolai Hojgaard.
The match was an intense back-and-forth affair. But the Americans went 1 up on the 15th hole thanks to a Koepka birdie, only to watch that lead evaporate to a tie and a half point on the 18th green.
Rahm punctuated the match with passionate celebrations after making big shots, of which there were many. The thousands of boisterous European supporters responded in kind, all of which seems to have irked Koepka, the headstrong five-time major winner.
In brief comments following his frustrating match, Koepka focused his ire on Rahm, chiding the Masters champion for childlike behavior.
When asked how he felt after the round, Koepka unloaded, saying, “I mean, I think me and Scottie [Scheffler] birdied, what did we say, 14, we birdied 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and then lost by two. So yeah. I mean, I want to hit a board and pout just like Jon Rahm did. But, you know, it is what it is. Act like a child. But we’re adults. We move on.”
It’s unclear what specific incident, if any, Koepka is referring to, though Rahm is known to have a fiery demeanor and has shown frustration on the course in his career before.
When asked about Koepka’s remark Friday evening, U.S. captain Zach Johsnon said, “I don’t know what that’s referring to.”
Reporter: “I think it’s the way that—”
Johnson: “Jon hit a wall.”
Repoter: “I think, I had it explained to me, it’s the way the ball [with his eagle putt on 18] was struck so hard, it hit the back of the hole and went in, it was kind of like a lucky shot.”
Reporter: “But Brooks seems to have taken it very hard.”
Johnson: “I’m sure Brooks is frustrated, like all 12 of us, 18 of us are, frustrated, with today and the result. The way I see it is Jon — were they 1-down going into that hole; is that right?
Reporter: “To tie the match.”
Johnson: “And the only thing you probably can’t do in that situation, because we had two birdie putts, was to leave it short. So he executed his shot, played the percentages properly; meaning, you’ve got to get it to the hole, and the ball went in. Tip of the cap. Great putt.”
Also on Friday evening, Koepka was asked about how the U.S. team would respond to their disastrous opening day.
“Honestly, we’ll be fine. We’re all grown-ups. We act like grown-ups,” Koepka said. “We’ll be just fine. Just got to play and see where it puts you.”
Whatever the source of Koepka’s critique, it doesn’t change the one thing that really matters: the leaderboard.
After the first day of this 44th Ryder Cup, Rahm’s Europeans have a commanding 6.5-1.5 lead over Koepka’s American team.