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What about Brooks?
That has been one of the many questions surrounding the US Ryder Cup team as it tries to end two decades of European dominance in the biennial contest this week at Whistling Straits. It has plenty of merit, too, with uncertainty ranging from the state of Brooks’ Koepka’s wrist, to how he and teammate Bryson DeChambeau would get along amid a war of words between the two in a beef that spans back to last year.
Thursday, Koepka shed light on those questions and more as he met with the media.
“I’m like glass, so I wouldn’t say I am 100 percent,” he said. “Left knee, right knee, broken, man. I feel fine.”
Indeed there has been much to overcome. Earlier this month, Koepka withdrew in the middle of the third round of the Tour Championship after suffering an injury to his left wrist when hitting a tree root on the tenth hole at East Lake Golf Club. He has also been plagued in recent years by hip and knee issues, the latter causing him to withdraw from the Players Championship earlier this year.
“I feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time,” he said. “Over the past week-and-a-half I did a lot of work on it with Derek Samuel, my trainer. He was down with me for about eight days, so able to kind of work everything out and make sure it’s fine but I feel good and I’m ready to go as much or as little as they want.”
As for how he’s getting along with DeChambeau?
A video put out by the US Ryder Cup team earlier this week showed the two briefly chatting on the driving range. But it came across stilted and scripted. Asked to describe his current relationship with DeChambeau, Koepka was blunt.
“We are on the same team together,” he said. “We’ve had dinner almost every night as a team. I got here on Monday. Everyone who is on our team is interacting and everybody is participating in conversations and doing everything we need to do.”
Earlier in the week, DeChambeau said much of the angst between the two on social media had been driven by a lot of external factors and that it was not necessarily the two of them behind it. He also said they had some great conversations during the Tour Championship and that “something fun” would be coming up soon.
Of course when Koepka was asked about what that might be, well…
“I have no idea,” he said. “I didn’t listen to the comments or hear what he said, so I have no idea.”
Then there’s the notion that Koepka simply isn’t as interested in the Ryder Cup as he is in other individual pursuits after he was quoted in a recent magazine article saying that team sports was maybe not in his DNA. The 31-year-old four-time major champion shot that idea down, however.
“I never said it was negative,” he said Thursday. “Y’all spun it that way. I never said it was negative. I said it was different. … 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 likewise dismissed the notion that Europe’s success in recent Ryder Cups has little to do with the idea that the Americans are merely a inherently self-centred collection of 12 individuals, while Europe is a merry band that is greater than the sum of its parts.
“Maybe a little bit, but I don’t think it’s too much,” he said. “Someone’s got to lose, man. There’s two teams playing and there’s going to be a winner and there’s going to be a loser. It just comes down to who plays better, and I think it’s as simple as that.”
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