KOHLER, UNITED STATES (AFP) – Brooks Koepka says he enjoys the Ryder Cup despite its differences from a typical golf week and the American vows he is ready for this weekend’s showdown despite nagging injuries.
The four-time major winner cleared the air on several issues on Thursday (Sept 23) on the eve of the 43rd biennial team matches between holders Europe and the United States at Whistling Straits.
Koepka told Golf Digest that he felt Ryder Cup was “a bit odd” and “hectic” and took issue with team meetings, which prompted former US captain Paul Azinger to say he should quit the team if he didn’t love the event.
World number 10 Koepka said he was pointing out differences from his normal tournament weeks.
“I never said it was negative,” Koepka said.
“I just said it’s different. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. Y’all spun it that way.
“I enjoy it. I think it’s a lot of fun to play. I wouldn’t be nervous on that first tee if I didn’t care.”
Koepka said he had some concern how his remarks would be received.
“You guys have already spun it negatively, so it’s going to trickle to the fans,” he said.
“They’re going to take that side a little bit more.”
Koepka said the group atmosphere among rival stars reminded him of his college days at Florida State.
“It takes a little bit of adjusting but it’s tough. I mean, my whole life, I just played an individual sport and go to a team, it’s different,” he said.
“But I enjoy it. I think it’s fun. It brings you back a little bit to college. It’s that team camaraderie.”
Koepka noted that players have had fewer obligations this year under captain Steve Stricker than at past Cups.
“The obligations are cut down but I still have long days,” Koepka said.
“It’s a busy week. We have a lot of things. I don’t bring my physio just because I know I don’t have time for it.
“But it’s definitely a lot easier. I think pretty much everybody has noticed that and it has been great. I think it’s definitely a lot better this year.”
Koepka, just over a left wrist injury, underwent right knee surgery in March and finished second two months later in the PGA Championship. He shared fourth at the US Open and sixth at the British Open and put in work with trainer Derek Samuel last week.
“I’m like glass, so I wouldn’t say I’m 100 per cent,” Koepka said.
“I feel fine. I feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time.
“I’m ready to go as much or as little as they want.”
No Bryson feud seen here
That, according to Stricker, probably won’t include Koepka being paired with Bryson DeChambeau despite tensions being eased between the two this week after a feud sparked at the PGA Championship.
Koepka tweeted a photo of himself and DeChambeau talking this week with the caption: “Nothing to see here. Teammates talk.”
“We’re on the same team together. We’ve had dinner almost every night as a team,” Koepka said.
“Everyone who is on our team is interacting and everybody is participating in conversations and doing everything we need to do.”
But when it came to DeChambeau teasing “something fun coming up here moving forward,” regarding the two, Koepka said he had “no idea” what his teammate was talking about.
Koepka is ready with trademark trash talk for European rivals and whoever else might get in his way.
“I’ll trash talk anybody,” Koepka said.
“We do it in the team room. Everybody is competitive out here. Everybody understands it’s part of it.
“You don’t take it personal.”