With only two victories in the last nine matchups, winning a Ryder Cup has been tough enough for Team USA — let alone when two of America’s biggest stars have been publicly feuding for more than two years.
But first-time captain Steve Stricker isn’t about to let Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka’s dysfunctional social media antics derail his chance to win a Ryder Cup in his home state of Wisconsin at Whistling Straits.
According to Sports Illustrated’s John Hawkins, Stricker laid the hammer down in separate phone calls to both DeChambeau and Koepka, who have been trading barbs since the 2019 Northern Trust.
“They assured me that the team and the country and everything else that goes into this is their [top priority],” Stricker told Hawkins. “They said it’s not going to be an issue, and I believe them. I trust them. As far as I’m concerned, it’s been put to bed.”
For what it’s worth, both DeChambeau and Koepka have said that whatever their differences, they won’t let it affect the team dynamic. And while the feud has seemed a bit more one-sided in recent months, with Koepka capitalizing on DeChambeau’s abrupt caddie change and equipment drama with jabs of his own on social media, Koepka was uncharacteristically quiet when DeChambeau faced his latest setback, a positive Covid test, which resulted in missing a chance to compete at the Olympics in Tokyo, or his announcement of his plan to compete in the upcoming World Long Drive contest.
“We haven’t heard Brooks say anything about Bryson lately,” Stricker said to Hawkins. “This Ryder Cup means a lot to these guys. Neither one wants to be the root of a problem. They both understand.”
While the news of a ceasefire is likely a welcome relief for the players’ teammates, fans who are rooting for the two to hash out their differences in a winning pairing during the team portion of the competition are set to be disappointed.
“I’m not going to tell you there’s no chance,” Stricker told Hawkins, “but I don’t see [pairing them] happening, no. I don’t think they want to play together.”
Here’s hoping this truce is the real deal. The 2021 Ryder Cup begins on Friday, September 24.