Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will be teammates for the U.S. in next month’s Ryder Cup. They’ve disliked each other intensely the past two years. Problem? Not according to U.S. captain Steve Stricker, who says both players have agreed to stop chirping for a few days in the name of team unity.
But it appears too much to expect two of the world’s best players to pair up during the competition.
“I’m not going to tell you there’s no chance,” Stricker told Sports Illustrated’s John Hawkins this week, “but I don’t see it happening, no. I don’t think they want to play together.”
Koepka has been clear that he doesn’t. He told reporters at the British Open in July he could put aside the feud “for business” but wasn’t interested in a partnership.
“If we’re going to be on the same team, I can deal with anybody in the world for a week,” Koepka said, per Golfweek. “I’m not playing with him. I’m pretty sure we’re not going to be paired together; put it that way. We’re not going to be high-fiving and having late-night conversations. I do my thing; he does his thing,”
DeChambeau, on the other hand, was open to the idea of teaming up, if only to mess with people.
“I think would be kind of funny actually. I think we’d do well, to be honest,” DeChambeau said, per Golfweek. “It would create a little interesting vibe for the team or for the guys we’re playing against.”
Stricker will have multiple opportunities to pair the players who are sixth (DeChambeau) and eighth (Koepka) in the Official World Golf Ranking. The first two days of the Ryder Cup consist of pairs play, in fourball and foursomes (i.e., alternate shot). There will be morning and afternoon sessions each day, meaning there will be four openings to pair them.
Paul Azinger, who captained the U.S. to a five-point win in the 2008 Ryder Cup, told Hawkins that he and Stricker have discussed the DeChambeau-Koepka dynamic. Azinger referenced the 2004 pairing of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson by then-U.S. captain Hal Sutton. Woods and Mickelson went 0-2 in their matches and the U.S. went on to lose badly to Europe 18 1/2-9 1/2.
“(Stricker) knows the risk is the same as the one Hal took with Tiger and Phil, but something like that can work either way. There’s a chance those two guys could create the greatest rallying cry ever — or the whole thing could become a total pain in the ass,” Azinger told Hawkins.
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