While his 11 teammates are off this week, resting and practicing for their matchup with Europe next weekend, Brooks Koepka is preparing to tee it off at LIV Golf’s Chicago tournament.
Koepka is the only LIV Golf member who made it onto a Ryder Cup team this year, as U.S. team captain Zach Johnson selected him with a captain’s pick after he slipped just outside of the mark to earn an automatic bid.
Even though he’s preparing a bit differently for the Ryder Cup than the rest of the Americans who will make the trip over to Marco Simone Golf and Country Club outside of Rome next week, Koepka is just happy to be involved. With the internal battles between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, and Koepka’s struggles at the final two major championships of the season, that wasn’t always expected.
“I’m a pick this year, a little different,” Koepka said Wednesday. “Would have liked to make it on my own, but it was close. Just happy to be on the team. We went over to Rome … maybe a week and a half ago now. Good trip, most of the guys were there. Got to see the golf course. It’s pretty difficult, but it will be interesting to see how they set it up.”
Koepka finished in second behind Jon Rahm at the Masters in April, and then he won his fifth major title at the PGA Championship a month later. That launched Koepka up the Ryder Cup standings, though it was a steady downfall for him ever since — as he can’t earn any Ryder Cup or Official World Golf Rankings points at LIV Golf events. Koepka then finished T17 at the U.S. Open, and T64 at the British Open.
Still, despite his involvement with LIV Golf, plenty of golfers were backing Koepka in the lead up to the team selection. Johnson said the decision to use one of his captain’s picks on Koepka was an easy one.
“He’s built in my mind for the biggest of stages, and there’s no bigger stage than the Ryder Cup,” Johnson said last month, via Golf.com. “I think his record shows that. I know his buddies want him on the team. He’s very versatile. Guys want to play with him, that’s evident. I’m excited to have him go to Marco Simone on what will be the biggest stage in golf.”
After he wraps up this week’s LIV Golf event in Chicago, which is the 12th of 14 tournaments this season, Koepka will head to Italy with the rest of the U.S. team. The Ryder Cup will officially kick off Sept. 29. The U.S. hasn’t won on European soil since 1993.
This will be Koepka’s fourth Ryder Cup. He holds a 6-5-1 overall record, and he went 2-2-0 in the United States’ win at Whistling Straits in 2021.
“I think it’s one of the top six, seven biggest sporting events you can have,” Koepka said. “So I like it when there’s a little bit more eyeballs, a little bit more pressure. It’s obviously different with the whole team thing. Sometimes you don’t play every match so you are just cheerleading from the side, which can be quite fun as well. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been great and I’m looking forward to it.”