The feud has simmered for months, with Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka keeping all eyes focused on their growing animosity.
Some have hinted that the spat is partially fueled by greed — as the two continue to maintain a share of the spotlight they’re almost certainly positioning themselves for a large chunk of the $40 million Player Impact Program, previously unveiled by Golfweek’s reporting.
But Steve Stricker needs the two to play nice as the upcoming Ryder Cup is fast approaching at Whistling Straits.
Does Stricker, a mild-mannered Midwesterner, think that’s possible?
According to an interview he did this week with Sports Illustrated, he thinks it’s more than just possible — he’s expecting it.
“They assured me that the team and the country and everything else that goes into this is their [top priority],” Stricker told Sports Illustrated. “They said it’s not going to be an issue, and I believe them. I trust them. As far as I’m concerned, it’s been put to bed.
“We haven’t heard Brooks say anything about Bryson lately. This Ryder Cup means a lot to these guys. Neither one wants to be the root of a problem. They both understand.”
Of course, Koepka has insisted in the past that the small stretch shouldn’t be difficult to stomach. In fact, he previously said he can handle anyone for a short duration.
“You realize it’s only a week, right?” Koepka said back in July when asked about the topic. “Look, I can put it aside for business. If we’re going to be on the same team, I can deal with anybody in the world for a week. I’m not playing with him. I’m pretty sure we’re not going to be paired together; put it that way. We’re not going to be high-fiving and having late-night conversations. I do my thing; he does his thing.
“It’s not an issue at all. I don’t view it as an issue. I don’t think he does. Like I said, I can put anything aside for a team, business, whatever, just to get the job done. No problem with that.”
Koepka has always been the more cagey of the two, the one who drops subtle jabs after DeChambeau does something bold.
For example, when DeChambeau took aim at Cobra earlier this summer, saying his driver “sucks,” Koepka quickly responded by saying. “Drove the ball great. I love my driver.”
Although he’s not a bombastic soul, could Stricker do something drastic and defy Koepka’s word by teaming the two together? It’s highly doubtful.
“I’m not going to tell you there’s no chance,” Stricker told SI. “But I don’t see it happening, no. I don’t think they want to play together.”