Steve Stricker insists the strained relationship between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau is a “non issue” in the 43rd Ryder Cup but he has no plans to pair them together at Whistling Straits.
After being involved in a simmering feud for much of the year, the duo find themselves as team-mates this week, with their every move in each other’s company at the Wisconsin venue set to go under the microscope.
According to his coach Mike Schy, DeChambeau is keen to put an end to their bickering and Stricker says they are both committed to giving their all to the US side in this week’s match in his home state.
“It’s a non-issue, really, for me and the team,” said Stricker, speaking alongside Padraig Harrington as the two captains conducted a joint-press conference after arriving at Whistling Straits.
“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 at all. I have no worries whatsoever and they are completely on board.
“Will we pair them together? I don’t think so at this point but things could change. Could always happen. But probably not.”
Stricker also addressed comments made by four-time major winner Koepka last week about how he couldn’t take naps during a Ryder Cup and found the event “tough, hectic and a bit odd”.
“Yeah, I’ve talked to him about it,” he said of those remarks in an interview with Golf Digest. “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 jive up to what I was reading in those articles.”
Koepka had been an injury concern after being forced to pull out of the Tour Championship in Atlanta with a wrist problem, but the 2013 Scottish Challenge winner has shaken that off.
“I’ve been talking to him ever since it happened, checking in with him every couple of days,” said Stricker. “From what I understand, he’s fully healed and ready and raring to go.
“I am not worried about Brooks. He assures me he’s healthy. He assures me that he is 100 percent all-in on this team and whatever he needs to do for this team to become the winner at the end of the week.”
At the start of a long week for both teams in the build up to the opening day on Friday, Stricker ruled out the possibility of Tiger Woods paying a visit to Whistling Straits as he continues to recover from leg injuries sustained in a car crash in February.
“Probably not going to happen,” he said. “He’s been, you know, obviously in my ear a lot and I call him pretty regularly. He’s part of our Ryder Cup team. He’s part of what we do.
“He’s been part of so many of these teams. So to bounce ideas off of him, all of us, players alike, I know some of the players went over to see him.
“But I think it’s just not a good time for him to be here physically because of where he’s at in his rehabilitation and tough course to walk, right. From tee-to-green, it’s difficult. So probably won’t show up.
“But he’s getting better and his focus and mine is on making a comeback to play again. We don’t want to get in the way of that because we would all love to see him come back and play.”
On the European front, Harrington reported that world No 1 Jon Rahm seems to have overcome the stomach illness he was battling as he missed the cut in last week’s opening event of the new PGA Tour season in California.
“He was lifting very nicely in the gym today when I arrived,” said Harrington. “After hearing the reports last week, I arrived to find him too sweaty to give a hug to lifting some heavy weights. I said, ‘okay, things are looking good’.”