In golf drama as in life, it’s all fun and games until someone loses a trophy.
Yes, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka’s ongoing feud is a source of pure entertainment for golf fans everywhere. And yes, it may continue to be a source of pure entertainment — so long as fans continue to get tossed from PGA Tour events for taunting one or both players.
But someday, all that entertainment might come due in the form of a royal rumble, or more likely, a royal meltdown. And perhaps no location is more likely to witness such a mess than the Ryder Cup, where both Koepka and DeChambeau are expected to compete as teammates under the U.S. flag.
It’s Steve Stricker’s job to make sure neither combat nor collapse happens at Whistling Straits September 24-26, 2021. Stricker is the U.S. captain, and in a recent interview with Wisconsin Golf’s Gary D’Amato, he admitted he’s been less than thrilled with the recent developments.
“Yeah, it’s not making my job any easier, you know?” Stricker said.
Stricker, who will captain this year’s team in his native Wisconsin, said he’s kept a close eye on the rivalry’s recent developments.
“I haven’t talked to either one of them,” Stricker said. “I will have to at some point. We’ll see where it goes from there. Hopefully, they can put their differences aside for the week, be big boys and come together as a team.”
Putting differences aside has proved difficult territory for Brooks and Bryson. The rivalry between the two golfers has steadily escalated since a Golf Channel interview outtake with Koepka leaked to social media. At last week’s Memorial Tournament, fans were ejected after screaming “Brooksy” in DeChambeau’s direction — a taunt egged-on by Koepka after word spread on social media.
The U.S. Ryder Cup captain might not get the two stars singing ‘Kumbaya’ by September, but he knows he’ll need both players to perform at a high level in order to prevail over the Europeans for only the second time since 2010. And while there’s still plenty of time for reconciliation, Stricker has already begun formulating a strategy centered around keeping the two golfers separated.
“Obviously, I probably wouldn’t pair them together, but I think as the team room goes, you want everybody on board,” Stricker said. “You can’t have an outlier, or outliers, making trouble for everybody else. But I’m sure they’re big men and they can put their differences aside and go from there.”
Just as we all thought: the hopes of this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team could come down to a pair of bickering young stars.