Steve Stricker has told Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka that their feud is making his Ryder Cup captaincy “more difficult” and will ask them to sort out their issues “like big boys” before the US try to win back the trophy in September.
So much for the ongoing spat having “no effect whatsoever on what happens on the course” in the biennial dust-up at Whistling Straits. That is what Koepka claimed on Wednesday. Stricker thinks otherwise as he tries to address the age-old old American failing of being unable to bond as a unit in the three-day match.
“Yeah, it’s not making my job any easier, you know?” Stricker said, when asked about the row. “I haven’t talked to either one of them, but 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.
“Obviously, I probably wouldn’t pair them together [in foursomes and four-balls],” Stricker added to wisconsingolf.com. “But as the team room goes, you want everybody on board. 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.”
Koepka and DeChambeau have been at loggerheads for two years, after the former criticised the latter’s pace of play. DeChambeau hit back, ridiculing Koepka’s body and implying that his rival had bulked up with chemical assistance. The dispute intensified at last month’s US PGA Championship, when a leaked video showed Koepka rolling his eyes and uttering obscenities when DeChambeau rather noisily passed by as Koepka was conducting a TV interview.
Last week, it became more unseemly still when first DeChambeau had fans evicted at the Memorial tournament when they kept shouting “go, Brooksy” and then when Koepka, who was not playing in Ohio,posted a video on social media in which he offered free cases of beer to any supporters who had been thrown out. In response, DeChambeau suggested that Koepka should be disciplined by the PGA Tour.
Koepka is competing in this week’s Palmetto Championship, but DeChambeau is resting before his US Open defence in Torrey Pines, which begins next Thursday. Stricker believes that the US Golf Association should perhaps put Koepka and DeChambeau in the same group for the first two rounds San Diego to bring the matter to a head.
“I heard a rumour that they’re going to be paired together at the US Open,” Stricker said. “That’s what I heard. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But that would be interesting. I told my wife (Nicki), maybe the thing to do is I get paired with them at a tournament round and see how it goes.”