Ryder Cup 2021 preview
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Brooks Koepka has fuelled rumours that a rift remains between him and Team USA team-mate Bryson DeChambeau ahead of the Ryder Cup. The Americans released footage of the pair having a brief chat while on a practice round earlier this week in a thinly-veiled attempt to convince the world that all was well, but a visibly irritated Koepka dodged questions on the subject on the eve of the tournament.
The relationship between the pair has been tense for months, with much of their ongoing feud being played out in the public domain.
The US side’s PR team has tried to pretend the rift does not exist, while captain Steve Stricker has repeatedly denied there is any bad blood between the two.
But their efforts have failed to convince, and Koepka refused to even reference DeChambeau by name when asked about the situation on Thursday.
“We are on the same team together. We’ve had dinner almost every night as a team,” he bluntly told reporters.
“Everyone who is on our team is interacting and everybody is participating in conversations and doing everything we need to do.”
The 31-year-old, seemingly in the mood to do battle, wasn’t afraid to tell the media what he thought of their coverage of an interview earlier this month in which he complained that he wouldn’t be able to nap during the Ryder Cup.
When asked about Paul Azinger’s response that he should give up his spot in the team if he was so unhappy about it, Koepka accused the media of spinning what he had said.
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“I never said it was negative,” he said. “You all spun it that way. I said it was different. That doesn’t mean it’s bad.
“I wouldn’t be nervous on that first tee if I didn’t care. I can only do my job and then you all report whatever your opinion or side might be.
“You guys have already spun it negatively so it is going to trickle to the fans. Whatever they think is kind of off what they read, so it’s all kind of your guys’ opinion.”
The world number 10 admitted he is not feeling on top of his game, having suffered over the last couple of years with a string of injuries.
The most recent of those was just a few weeks ago, when a wrist complaint forced him to withdraw from the Tour Championship.
Koepka did say, though, that he felt good enough to play his part at Whistling Straits.
“I’m like glass, so I wouldn’t say I am 100 per cent: Left knee, right knee, broken, man,” he said.
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“I feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time and I’m ready to go as much or as little as they want.”
He hopes he can hit the sort of form that will help his captain win the Ryder Cup in his home state of Wisconsin.
Koepka even added he wanted to make the 54-year-old shed a tear or two this weekend.
“Yeah, it would be nice to see him cry. It would be awesome just because I know how much time he’s put in,” he said.
“As a captain you’ve got to put in so much time. Growing up in Wisconsin there’s a lot of things that just coming together where it would be the perfect storm if we were to win.
“Everybody knows that and everybody wants to play well.”
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