DeChambeau, Koepka say spat good for golf, won't hurt Ryder Cup

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Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka
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Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka said Tuesday their social media spat is good for golf, with DeChambeau vowing they can be solid Ryder Cup teammates.

Both spoke at Torrey Pines as they prepared for Thursday's start of the 121st US Open, which won't see the rivals paired together in the first two rounds.

"I would be OK with that," DeChambeau said. "It's fun. There's a point where it's great banter. I personally love it. I hope on the weekend we can play against each other and compete. I think it would be fun and would be great for the game."

A video image of Koepka from the PGA Championship last month at Kiawah Island showing disdain for loud talk by DeChambeau was made public and began a social media exchange that has led to fans calling DeChambeau "Brooksy" during rounds.

"I think it's good for the game," Koepka said. "It's bringing new eyeballs. It has pretty much been on every news channel.

"Everything you look at online, it has got this in the headline or it's up there as a big news story. To me, that's growing the game."

Both Koepka and DeChambeau said the US Golf Association never contacted them about pairing them together.

"It doesn't matter to me," Koepka said. "I play my own game. I don't care who I'm paired with. I'm out there trying to play my own game. What happens inside the ropes, it won't bother me."

US Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker has expressed concerns the two likely teammates for his squad's showdown in September with holders Europe could be a locker room disruption, but DeChambeau had some reassuring words.

"I personally think, when we're on a team, we're going to be on a team, and it's going to be a different atmosphere," DeChambeau said.

"We're players competing individually on an individual basis out here and I think we banter back and forth in good fun, but when it comes time to play on a team, it will be different."

DeChambeau said the key was keeping the feud within proper limits.

"I'm always going to be trying to play my game and not really worry too much about what other people are doing," DeChambeau said.

"But I think there are just times where, if it gets outside the scope of just integrity and honor, yeah, that can get a little interesting.

"At the same point in time, all of it has been good fun. Shoot, people saying Brooksy's name out there, I love it. I think it's hilarious."

Koepka hasn't worried about any fallout over the rivalry.

"It doesn't matter to me. I'm not too concerned. I don't live with regret. It got out. Not a big deal," Koepka said.

"As far as perception, I'm not really too concerned. I'm worried about what I've got to do and what I'm doing. If I was concerned about what everybody else thought, I'd have been in a world of pain."

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth said the spat is a hot topic among players.

"We've certainly talked about it like other people. So it's chatter," Spieth said. "I don't really know how it all started. I don't know where they're at now. I don't know the severity.

"They didn't pair them this week, but I'm sure it will happen soon enough. Seems like people would be interested to watch that."

Would Spieth expect a first-tee hug if they are paired together?

"At this point, probably not," he said. "But who knows what will happen until they play again."

Webb Simpson, the 2012 US Open winner, said it was probably good not to pair them to start.

"Maybe that would have brought too much attention to two players that already get a lot of attention, so I think it's probably a good thing that they didn't," Simpson said.

"It would be fun to see them duel it out in a tournament here coming up, head to head on Sunday."

Simpson said he wondered if Koepka and DeChambeau agreed beforehand to play it up for a new bonus paid for popularity, but noted the natural competitiveness among all players.

"We want to beat each other. I think they're just living it out a little more in their words than maybe keep it inside," he said.

"It's fun. They've got a rivalry now and I think it's good for the game."

 

 

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