In what is sure to be the least surprising news of Ryder Cup week, American captain Steve Sticker has played down the prospect of pairing arch-rivals Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau at Whistling Straits.
The unlikely suggestion gained some traction after Butch Harmon proposed it during an appearance on his son Claude’s podcast last week.
The top coach said that, in Stricker’s position, he would put the two feuding teammates together and tell them to set aside their differences for the good of the team.
“I’d say, ‘Guys, I want you to suck it up and go win a damn point,’” said Harmon. “‘This isn’t about you; this is about the Ryder Cup. This is about your team. This is about the red, white and blue. This is about the USA. You can have your battles next week. Right now, you guys are first out. Go get a damn point.’”
“I’d put them out the first day, first match out.”
Addressing the media on Monday, however, Stricker played down that prospect, stopping short of ruling it out completely.
“Will we pair them together? I don't think so at this point,” he said. “But things could change. Could always happen. But probably not.”
Stricker added that he has received assurances from both players that their personal beef won’t impact the United States’ chances of regaining the trophy this week.
“It's a non-issue, really, for me and the team,” he said. “We got together a few weeks ago and I've had conversations with them both. They have assured me it's not going to be an issue. I have no worries whatsoever.
“I had a dinner; they all showed up. We had great conversation, great talks. So I'm not seeing it as an issue at all and they are completely on board.”
Koepka made headlines last week when an interview in which he outlined his indifference towards the Ryder Cup was published. Again, Stricker has no concerns.
“I've talked to him about it,” he added. “I've had experiences with Brooks over many, many of these teams, and the conversations that I have had with him and what I have personally seen in the team room does not live up to what I was reading in those articles.
“Again, I am not worried about Brooks. He assures me he's healthy. He assures me that he is 100% all-in on this team and whatever he needs to do for this team to become the winner at the end of the week.”