The U.S. will be relying on Brooks Koepka, among others, when it takes on the European squad in next week’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.
The prestigious match play tournament, which is held every two years, has been dominated by the Europeans of late. Europe has won seven of the last nine events, including the 2018 championship in France.
Why have the Americans struggled under this format? Well, Koepka seemed to provide some explanation in a recent interview with Golf Digest.
“It’s different. It’s hectic. It’s a bit odd, if I’m honest,” Koepka said about the schedule of a Ryder Cup compared to a major tournament. “I don’t want to say it’s a bad week. We’re just so individualized, and everybody has their routine and a different way of doing things, and now, it’s like, OK, we have to have a meeting at this time or go do this or go do that. It’s the opposite of what happens during a major week.”
Koepka went on to add that the team-oriented style of match play is an adjustment for him. It’s fair to wonder if that goes for other American golfers as well.
“It’s tough. There are times where I’m like, I won my match. I did my job. What do you want from me? I know how to take responsibility for the shots I hit every week. Now, somebody else hit a bad shot and left me in a bad spot, and I know this hole is a loss. That’s new, and you have to change the way you think about things. You go from an individual sport all the time to a team sport one week a year. It’s so far from my normal routine. I can barely see my [personal] team. It’s hard to even go to the gym. At the Presidents Cup in New York, we had to go to the gym at 5 a.m. to get it in. We went to the Equinox, and it was me, Dustin and Tiger, and we come back and go to a team meeting. Under regular conditions, I take naps a lot. I might take an hour, hour-and-a-half nap, or just chill on the couch and watch “SportsCenter,” before rounds, after rounds, whatever. There’s no time to do that at the Ryder Cup. There’s no time to decompress.”
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) September 14, 2021
It’s fair for American golf fans to read these quotes and be a little worried going into next week’s competition. Perhaps the European team is able to adjust to working collectively better than their American counterparts.
On the flipside though, a bigger issue for Koepka, and the U.S. roster, is if the 31-year-old struggles due to a wrist injury that led to him withdrawing from the Tour Championship earlier this month. They need him to be healthy and consistent on the course.
The 2021 Ryder Cup takes place next weekend at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.