Paul Azinger, one of only two US captains to have won the Ryder Cup this century, told Brooks Koepka he should step down from next week’s game and “give way to someone who would like to play” .
Koepka, the four-time major winner, shocked the golfing world earlier in the week by saying he found the biennial crisis “tough, hectic and a little strange” and expressed his frustration at “not being able to take a nap” during the week. .
Steve Stricker, the US captain, has yet to comment on the article in Golf summary, but Azinger thinks Koepka should make a choice. “After reading this I’m not sure Brooks likes the Ryder Cup that much and if he doesn’t like it he should give up his place and bring in people who like the Ryder Cup,” said Azinger, the winner of 2008.. “Not everyone accepts it, but if you’re not convinced, I think Brooks should ask himself if he really wants to be there, especially since he’s injured.”
The U.S. team traveled to Whistling Straits for a two-day reconnaissance mission, but Koepka is the only one of the team’s 12 who did not visit Wisconsin, choosing instead to stay home in Florida to continue his recovery from a wrist injury. this prompted him to withdraw from the Tour Championship two weeks ago. Stricker says the ball is in the 31-year-old’s court regarding his fitness.
“I’ll leave it to him,” Stricker said. “It sounds positive. He works hard to be there. I haven’t spoken to him for a few days. I’ll give him a jingle tomorrow.
However, Azinger thinks it may be more complicated than just his hurt and his lust. There’s also Koepka’s long argument with Bryson DeChambeau, another headache for Stricker.
“When you add the Bryson dynamic to that [Koepka’s indifference to the Ryder Cup], that would make it easier for him to decide, ”Azinger said. “Look, Brooks is one of the most honest, outspoken guys and if he’s openly honest with himself and if he doesn’t want to be there, he should come out and say it.
“Is Brooks like ‘is this my reward – for playing so well I have to go play in the Ryder Cup?’ It’s possible. I know there were players who felt that way. The Ryder Cup is a different animal.
Even though Koepka is making his third appearance, Azinger is adamant that he and DeChambeau need to “put their differences aside for the week.”
“I’m a fan of both players, but I think it’s going to go one way or the other,” said Azinger, the NBC analyst. “They’re either going to put the weight of this American team on their shoulders – or they’re going to be a pain in the neck.”