Paul Azinger’s history with the Ryder Cup goes back more than 30 years, and it’s hard to find anyone more passionate about the competition, even now in his role as a broadcaster.
So the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup captain didn’t hold back Wednesday when asked about Brooks Koepka, who disclosed in a recent Golf Digest interview that he was frustrated by the way the event takes an individual player away from what he is accustomed to doing at a regular event.
“I’m not sure he loves the Ryder Cup that much, if he doesn’t love it he should relinquish his spot and get people there who do love it,” Azinger said. “Not everybody embraces it. But if you don’t love it, and you’re not sold out, then I think Brooks — especially being hurt — should consider whether or not he really wants to be there. And if you add the Bryson [DeChambeau] dynamic to that, that would be an even easier decision for him.”
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Koepka, 31, injured his left wrist and withdrew during the third round of the Tour Championship two weeks ago when he hit a tree root with a full swing out of the rough. He played two more holes before pulling out and said it was precautionary, because he had prior injury issues with the wrist.
He was the only one of 12 players on the U.S. team who did not attend a practice session earlier this week at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, host of the Ryder Cup matches, which will begin Sept. 24.
In a text message to Golfweek on Wednesday, Koepka wrote that he is “good to go” for the competition against Team Europe.
“I’m feeling good,” he told Golfweek. “Been doing my rehab, doing everything I need to do to be ready for the Cup. I’ll be there ready to play.”
Koepka also has had an ongoing feud with DeChambeau, with U.S. captain Steve Stricker asking both players to put it aside when the Americans face the Europeans.
In a lengthy interview with Golf Digest published Tuesday, Koepka said: “It’s tough. There are times where I’m like, I won my match. I did my job. What do you want from me? I know how to take responsibility for the shots I hit every week. Now, somebody else hit a bad shot and left me in a bad spot, and I know this hole is a loss. That’s new, and you have to change the way you think about things. You go from an individual sport all the time to a team sport one week a year. It’s so far from my normal routine.”
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