Ryder Cup: Paul Azinger questions Brooks Koepka’s commitment against Europe


Brooks Koepka at the 2018 Ryder Cup
Brooks Koepka has won 4½ Ryder Cup points from two previous appearances in the biennial event

American Brooks Koepka should withdraw from next week’s Ryder Cup against Europe if he “does not love the event”, says former US captain Paul Azinger.

Azinger said: “Not everyone embraces it. I know players who felt that way.

“Brooks is one of the most honest guys and if he is honest with himself and if he doesn’t want to be there, he should say it, especially because he is hurt.”

The 43rd staging of the biennial competition takes place from 24-26 September and Koepka, who has played twice before, was the only player in the 12-man American team not to attend a two-day meeting at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin this week, choosing to stay at home as he continues to recover from a wrist injury.

The world number nine was forced to withdraw from the third round of the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship earlier this month after striking a tree root while playing a shot and damaging a wrist.

US captain Steve Stricker is yet to comment on Koepka’s comments to Golf Digest earlier this week, but said of his battle to be fit: “I’m leaving it up to him. It sounds positive. He’s working hard to be there.”

In the interview, four-time major winner Koepka said that Ryder Cup week was “so far from my normal routine” that he found it difficult to “decompress”.

“You go from an individual sport all the time to a team sport one week a year,” he added. “I can barely see my (personal) team. It’s hard to even go to the gym.

“It’s more demanding than I’m used to, and there’s a lot of emotion there, so by Sunday, you’re just dead.”

He also said that while he would love to represent the US at the Olympics, it was “just maybe not in my DNA, the team sports thing”.

Azinger, one of only two Americans to captain a winning side this century, at Valhalla in 2008, also feels Koepka’s ongoing feud with team-mate Bryson DeChambeau is not helpful to team morale.

“When you add the Bryson dynamic, that would make the decision easier (for Koepka),” he said.

Koepka contributed three points from four matches on his debut as the US won 17-11 at Hazeltine in 2016 and 1½ points in defeat at Le Golf National in 2018.

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