HAVEN, Wisconsin – In his first Ryder Cup week press conference, U.S. Captain Steve Stricker spoke about the cutting edge off-course history of golf in 2021. It’s Brooks-Bryson, the inevitable feud, and it feels especially relevant for an American team that has suffered from so-called “chemical problems” in the last few games (Brooks vs. DJ, Patrick Reed vs. Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson vs. Tom Watson). If there is any more toxicity this week, it seems very likely to be due to the bad blood between two of America’s best golfers.
However, Stricker claims that he is not worried.
“It’s really not an issue for me and the team,” he said on Monday. “We met a few weeks ago, the six of us [Ryder Cup automatic qualifiers] and I’ve had conversations with both of them. You assured me it won’t be a problem. I have no worries. “
When asked about the seemingly ridiculous suggestion to pair them up, Stricker wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility.
“I don’t think so,” he said, “but things could change. It could always happen. But probably not. So I don’t see it as a problem at all and they are fully on board. “
Koepka was not seen on the premises on Monday, despite Stricker claiming to have arrived in Wisconsin. DeChambeau spent time on the driving range and putting green, chatting with Tony Finau.
“I’ve talked to him since it happened,” said Stricker. “You know, drop by his place every few days. He tells me that everything is 100 percent and everything is ready and operational. … As far as I know, he is completely healed and ready for anything. “
And as if two Koepka-related problems weren’t enough, there was still time for a third. In an interview with Golf Digest published a week ago, Koepka sounded less than enthusiastic about playing in the Ryder Cup thing. “
In this case, Stricker was concerned enough to speak to Koepka about the remarks, but left the conversation relieved.
“I have had experiences with Brooks on many, many of these teams,” Stricker said, “and the conversations I had with him and what I saw in person in the team room are not what I read in those articles I’m not worried about Brooks here. He assures me that he is healthy. He assures me that he is 100 percent all in on this team and whatever he has to do to make this team the winner in the end Week.”
As Stricker pointed out, he’s one of the most seasoned Ryder Cup captains of all time, and his goal from the start has been to better prepare Padraig Harrington. The preparations are almost over, and now everything that he cannot control is coming. He hopes all complications arise from Friday, not including Brooks Koepka’s feud, injury or love for the Ryder Cup.