Ryder Cup 2021: Brooks Koepka out of order swearing at rules officials

The judging panel for the new Nicklaus-Jacklin Award being handed out to reward sportsmanship in this Ryder Cup don’t need to even consider Brooks Koepka or Daniel Berger.

Brooks Koepka asks for a rules decision on the 15th hole during the Saturday morning foursomes in the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.

Not after the behaviour of the US pair over a rules incident during their Saturday morning match against Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm at Whistling Straits.

Koepka was perfectly entitled to call in a rules official when Berger’s drive at the 15th came to rest in a thick clump of grass on the edge of a bunker at the Wisconsin venue.

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That Berger had a lot to say as the said official surveyed the situation was unnecessary, as was Koepka asking for a second opinion when the initial answer to his request for a free drop was ‘no’.

Part of his problem about hitting the ball as it was lying was a wrist injury he sustained in a similar situation in the Tour Championship in Atlanta, where he was forced to withdraw.

Yes, that is obviously still raw and, in fairness, the four-time major winner has had more injury problems than most over the past few years, but that shouldn’t have been in the equation here.

There are lots of instances where golfers fear sustaining an injury taking on shots from awkward spots and, on occasions, they’ll decide to take a penalty drop to avoid that possibility.

Koepka got the same answer from the second official to arrive on the scene as he did from the first one and that’s when his behaviour, quite frankly, became unacceptable.

“If I break my wrist, it's on f****** both of you,” he barked in the direction of the two officials and that, I’m afraid, was totally out of order.

If the lie was really that bad, Koepka surely wouldn’t have been able to hit the green, as he subsequently did after the lengthy hooha. Despite that, there seemed to be no offer of an apology from him.

Having first come across the American when he won the Scottish Challenge in Aviemore in 2013 and also covered his first European Tour triumph in Turkey at the end of the following season, I’ve always liked Koepka.

But, since becoming one of the game’s big guns, he’s become a bit surly and that was evident once again in a tetchy pre-match interview for this contest.

He won’t care what I think, of course, but Koepka needs to lighten up a bit because there is no place in the game for players swearing at officials when they don’t get their way.

Asked about the ruling afterwards, all he had to say was: “Yeah, we didn't get it.”

Bryson DeChambeau, Koepka’s nemesis, can also be taken off the list of people in contention for that Nicklaus-Jacklin Award.

In the Saturday fourballs, he took issue over being asked to hole a short putt on the first hole by laying his putter down to illustrate that it had been inside its length, which is commonly seen as gimme range, and looking over to his opponents.

There’s simply no place for that behaviour on this stage or anywhere, in fact.

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