Coming into the Ryder Cup — you know, before we learned that this American team is a historically great juggernaut — one of the biggest questions was, can Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka get along?
The two literal biggest dogs on a team full of alphas, DeChambeau and Koepka have been engaged in a cold war for most of the past two years. Koepka has needled DeChambeau through the press and through proxies — chants of "Brooksie!" at tournaments forced the PGA Tour to create entirely new rules for fan behavior — while DeChambeau's very existence seems to irritate Koepka. For a sport built on decorum and tamped-down emotions, the feud has been the equivalent of a fistfight in church.
But the U.S. has had something of a problem with team unity at these Ryder Cups, whether it was the entire team mutinying on captain Tom Watson in 2014 or Patrick Reed turning a flamethrower on his teammates in 2018. It was fair to wonder, then, if this would be another one of those intra-team feuds that fractured the team from within.
“It’s only a week,” Koepka said in July at The Open. “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.”
Captain Steve Stricker decided that wasn't good enough. Stricker made an awful lot of correct chess moves at this Ryder Cup, and one of them involved phoning up Koepka and DeChambeau and ensuring they'd be teammates, not just co-workers sharing a locker room.
It paid off, better than anyone could have expected. In the ecstatic chaos following the victory, cameras caught the two in a quick, celebratory embrace. Later, Stricker dropped a bomb: that DeChambeau and Koepka had apparently asked to play together. He didn't elaborate, and neither player discussed the topic at the highly inebriated news conference afterward.
What we did get, however, was Justin Thomas goading the two of them into hugging, singing "Why Can't We Be Friends" as they did:
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) September 26, 2021
From that video, the entire subtext is made obvious: DeChambeau puts himself out there, wanting to be loved, while Koepka lays back and waits for the world to come to him. The two hugged it out, with DeChambeau seeming a whole lot more into it all than Koepka. As expected.
Earlier in the week, DeChambeau obliquely referenced the feud by saying that there was "something fun" planned, which could well be, for instance, the next installment in "The Match" series — DeChambeau on one side of a celebrity match play rivalry, Koepka on the other.
Regardless of where the feud goes from here — angry words, rolled eyes, wrestling on a tee box, commodified and put onto a T-shirt, whatever — the two did exactly what they said they would do and put it aside for the good of Team USA. For a week, at least.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.