Bryson: No feuding with Koepka at Ryder Cup

  • Senior golf writer for ESPN.com
  • Covered golf for more than 20 years
  • Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana University

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Not only does Bryson DeChambeau believe everything will be fine between him and Brooks Koepka this week at the Ryder Cup, he hinted that some sort of collaboration is in the works.

DeChambeau, who has had a months-long feud with Koepka, said Tuesday that he is all about the team this week as the Americans attempt to win the competition against Europe for just the third time in 10 tries.

“A lot of this social media stuff has definitely been driven by a lot of external factors, not necessarily us two,” DeChambeau said at Whistling Straits, where the Ryder Cup begins Friday. “We had some some great conversations Tour Championship week when we had dinner, and then this week as well.

“I sat down and had dinner with him last night and it was fine. I think there maybe something up here moving forward, but won’t speak too much more on that.”

What DeChambeau was referring to is unclear, but it is possible it is some sort of made-for-TV match in the mold of the one he participated in with Phil Mickelson, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in July. Koepka was not available to the media Tuesday.

DeChambeau and Koepka have gone back and forth frequently since the PGA Championship in May due to a viral video that was not meant to be aired sparked considerable reaction. It eventually led to a good bit of heckling at tournament sites for DeCheambeau.

Fan behavior became poor enough that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said at the Tour Championship that such fan interaction could lead to ejections.

“No matter what, we’re all humans at the end of the day, and I think there’s obviously a level of, I guess you could say, control that any human will ever have, and you can have a lot of armor and you can protect yourself with people around you and all that,” DeChambeau said. “Sure there are times where it’s not comfortable, but there’s also times where it fuels me. I think this week is going to be an amazing example of it, and it’s going to be fun to be able to have the crowd behind us and pump them up and show them what I can hopefully do and what we can do as a team, more importantly.

“I’m not going to make this about me again. This is about a team event. I’ve got a brass chest. I’ve taken a lot of heat. But I’m okay with it and I understand I’m in the place where I’m at, and it’s going to be that way moving forward.”

DeChambeau’s media session was his most extensive since Aug. 4, the day prior to the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, where he explained what occurred with his COVID-19 diagnosis that kept him from competing in the Olympics.

Since then, he has declined all but brief television media questions and an interview with Golf.com, an outlet with which he has an endorsement deal.

In a recent Golf.com story, DeChambeau said his hands were “wrecked” because he had been working so hard to prepare for the Long Drive Championship, which is Monday. It turns out the interview was from two weeks prior and the range session reference was the week prior to the Northern Trust tournament.

“So when I had some blisters on my hands and wrecked my hands, that was before the FedEx Cup playoffs,” DeChambeau said. “That was that Friday before (Aug. 13) is when it happened. The story came out later — because I was talking about it and how badly my hands hurt after that because of how much effort I was putting into it. I played pretty well during the FedEx Cup playoffs (a playoff loss to Patrick Cantlay at the BMW Championsip). I just wished my putting and wedging was a little bit better.

“Leading up into this event, I’ve put full force focus into this event, and I think part of hitting it far is some of why I am so successful and how I could utilize my length on this golf course to potential advantage.”

In practice Tuesday, DeChambeau was in a group with Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Scottie Scheffler. Although things can change before Friday, Spieth and Thomas went 3-1 as a pairing at the 2018 Ryder Cup and are a likely team. That might suggest that DeChambeau could see some time with Scheffler, who is playing in his first Ryder Cup.

DeChambeau went 0-3 in his only Ryder Cup appearance, twice losing in foursomes. He went 0-1-1 at the Presidents Cup two years ago.

“The perceptions around (DeChambeau), it’s whatever the public creates,” Scheffler said. “I think everybody has an opinion on him. I have an opinion on him, as well. I think he’s a fantastic guy. I’ve known him since college. He’s always been nothing but gracious and kind to me, and he means really well.

“I think sometimes people take little tidbits of what he says and try and beat him down a little bit, and I think that’s kind of what happens in sports is people get built up and then they get torn down once they reach the top.

“When people make it really big like Bryson has, I think some people try and tear him down a little bit. Fantastic guy, he’s got a heart, and I really have nothing but good things to say about him.”

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