Bryson DeChambeau has assured United States captain Steve Stricker that his ongoing rivalry with Brooks Koepka will not spill over into the Ryder Cup.
Stricker made it clear last week that he was unhappy to see two of his team for September’s contest at Whistling Straits “going back and forth on social media”.
“I’m sure those two guys will be on the team, so it’ll be up to me to kind of pull them aside, hopefully get them together and make it good for everybody,” Stricker told the Golf Channel.
— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) June 10, 2021
Asked about Stricker’s comments ahead of defending his US Open title at Torrey Pines, DeChambeau said: “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.
“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.”
A number of spectators were escorted from Muirfield Village during the recent Memorial Tournament for shouting “Brooksy” at DeChambeau.
Four-time major winner Koepka, who was not competing, reacted to the news by posting a video on social media offering to reimburse any spectator whose day was “cut short” with a free case of beer.
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) June 4, 2021
That came a fortnight after leaked footage showed Koepka being unable to contain his dislike of DeChambeau after being distracted by his compatriot during an unaired interview at the US PGA Championship.
Despite reports that the USGA had approached DeChambeau about being paired with Koepka this week, the world number five said that was not the case and they were placed on opposite sides of the draw.
“I would be OK with that, but there was never really anything that went through me,” DeChambeau said.
“I think that, as time goes on, 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.”
With last year’s US Open taking place in September due to the coronavirus pandemic, DeChambeau did not have a full year in possession of the trophy before handing it back to the USGA – “No dinks, no dents, that’s what I was proud about” – at the start of the week.
But he has pledged to use the same “bomb and gouge” approach at Torrey Pines that saw him power his way to a six-shot victory at Winged Foot.
“I try to be as aggressive as possible,” he added. “I feel like it’s a little bit similar (here) to Winged Foot, albeit the grass and the rough is a little thicker. It’s a different type of grass, so you can’t get through it as easily.
“For the most part, I’m going to be trying to bomb it as much as possible and try to gouge it out when I don’t hit it in the fairway.
“If I can keep hitting it to the front of the greens, two-putting when I get into trouble, I’m going to give myself a great chance this week. When I hit it in the fairway, I have to take advantage of those holes, have to take advantage of the par fives out here.
“If I can do those two things, I feel like I’ll have a great chance at contending.”