Ryder Cup 2021: Brooks Koepka denies being 'negative' about biennial event
Brooks Koepka is ready to embrace the 43rd Ryder Cup, claiming controversial comments he made about the transatlantic tussle had been “spun negatively”.
In an interview with Golf Digest in the build up to this week’s event at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, the four-time major winner talked about how he couldn’t take “naps” during the contest and found it “tough, hectic and a bit odd”.
Paul Azinger, the winning US captain at Valhalla in 2008, claimed Koepka should have relinquished his spot on Steve Stricker’s side on the back of the comments, which were also criticised by triumphant European skippers Tony Jacklin and Ian Woosnam.
But Stricker said his experiences with Koepka in teams in the past didn’t “jive up to what I was reading in the articles” and Koepka has echoed that view in delivering his verdict on the article.
“I never said it was negative,” he said of the Ryder Cup, speaking to reporters on the eve of the event. “Y'all spun it that way. I said it was different.
“I've never played in any of these team events. I didn't play Walker Cup. Never played Junior Ryder Cup. Never played anything. I just said it's different. That doesn't mean it's bad. Y'all spun it that way.”
So does he love the Ryder Cup and look forward to it? “Yeah, I enjoy it,” added the 31-year-old, who is making his third appearance in the biennial but. “I think it's a lot of fun to play. I wouldn't be nervous on that first tee if I didn't care.”
Koepka was asked if he was concerned that some people’s perception of him as a Ryder Cup player would now be negative as a result of the comments and reaction from past captains.
“I can only do my job and then y'all report whatever your opinion or side might be,” he said. “So you guys have already spun it negatively, so it kind of is going to trickle to the fans because you guys are kind of our only outlet besides social media. So it's how you guys take it and spin it, and you guys spun it negatively.
“Whatever they think is kind of off what they read, whether you write an article, whatever you're doing. They read that stuff. So it's all kind of your guys' opinion, they are going to take that side a little bit more.”
Before making his comments, Koepka had already been destined to be under the microscope as a team-mate of Bryson DeChambeau, the pair having been involved in a simmering feud this year.
DeChambeau said earlier in the week that it had been “fine” between the pair in the US team room and Koepka concurred.
“We are on the same team together,” he said. “We've had dinner almost every night as a team. Everyone who is on our team is interacting and everybody is participating in conversations and doing everything we need to do.”
However, it didn’t exactly sound as though the duo had kissed and made up when Koepka was asked about DeChambeau having intimated that there might be something in the pipeline involving the two of them.
“I have no idea,” he said of that. “I didn't listen to the comments or hear what he said, so I have no idea.”
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