By Keith Jackson
Brooks Koepka insists his apparent feud with Bryson DeChambeau is “good for the game” and sees no reason why it would affect Team USA at the Ryder Cup.
Koepka did not deny that his relationship with DeChambeau was less than cordial, but he believes the scale of the coverage of their rivalry will appeal to the younger generation.
The widespread coverage began when Koepka was distracted by his Ryder Cup team-mate in an interview with the Golf Channel during the PGA Championship, and footage of Koepka’s angry reaction was leaked on social media and did not take long to go viral.
DeChambeau was subjected to shouts of “Brooksy” during The Memorial last week, leading to the removal of several offenders from the course which prompted Koepka to offer those who were thrown out a free case of beer.
Reigning US Open champion DeChambeau insisted he was “flattered” by the attention, and Koepka hinted that the feud could be beneficial to the game and may not be as serious as many believe.
“I think it’s good for the game, I really do,” said Koepka ahead of this week’s inaugural Palmetto Championship at Congaree. “The fact that golf is on pretty much every news outlet for about two weeks pretty consistently.
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“I think that’s a good thing. It’s growing the game. I get the traditionalists who don’t agree with it, I understand that, but I think to grow the game you’ve got to reach out to the younger generation.
“I don’t want to say that’s what this is, but it’s reaching out to a whole bunch of people. It’s getting golf in front of people. I think it’s good for the game.”
Koepka also explained what led to his now-infamous “eye-rolling” reaction when DeChambeau walked behind him during his interview at Kiawah Island, forcing Koepka to ask the reporter for another take before aiming whispered verbal abuse at his rival.
And the four-time major champion, who finished runner-up to Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship, also claimed he had no concerns over the footage being leaked.
“It doesn’t bother me, honestly. I’m okay with anything I do,” he added. “I don’t really live with regrets. It’s nothing I’m terribly upset about. From everybody I spoke to, it is what it is and move on.
“He didn’t actually say anything to me, he wasn’t speaking to me. He was, I guess, either signing his scorecard or wherever he was, and I was just to the right of the media tent, or right in front of the microphones where you guys all were.
“I don’t want to say he was like screaming, but he was saying something about how he hit a perfect shot and it shouldn’t have been there, and it was just very, very loud. I don’t think the mics picked up on that, but it felt like just so that the fans could hear.
“Then I think he realised that he had got right behind me, and he toned it down a little bit, but I just lost train of thought, which I think was pretty obvious.”
Koepka and DeChambeau are almost certain to be part of Steve Stricker’s Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits in September, but Koepka feels their simmering rivalry will not have an adverse effect on their performance.
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“There are only eight guys that are playing, four guys are sitting. I play with one other guy,” he said. “I don’t understand. Let’s say I don’t play with Bryson, or Bryson doesn’t play with me. He takes care of his match, and I would take care of my match.
“I don’t know how that has any effect. What you do off the golf course doesn’t have any effect on the golf course.”
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