The United States hasn’t fared very well in the Ryder Cup as of late. The Americans have lost seven of the past nine competitions with the Europeans.
There are several theories on why the United States golfers aren’t as good in the Ryder Cup format as the Europeans. Few, though, are more simple and to the point than this one: the U.S. golfers just don’t care about it as much as the Europeans.
While it’s just a theory, it got backed up by some telling comments from Brooks Koepka this week.
Koepka, one of the best golfers in the world, had some brutally honest quotes while speaking with Golf Digest.
Here’s what Koepka said:
For virtually all of your career, you get to set the schedule and make the rules and be responsible for your own performance. How does that mesh with the Ryder Cup experience? Is it strange being on a team?
It’s different. It’s hectic. It’s a bit odd, if I’m honest. 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. If I break down a major week, it’s so chill. You wouldn’t even believe me. I go to the course. I play nine holes. I go work out. Other than that, I’m sitting and watching TV, taking my mind off golf with relaxing stuff. The physical part, I can handle. The mental side, you have to be able to turn it off. Sometimes, the power comes from being able to turn it on. But for me, I get power from turning it off. That’s been a huge, huge thing for me that I really haven’t understood until the past five or six years of my career.
But, as you said, at a major, you’re only concerned about yourself. At the Ryder Cup, that dynamic is different. 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.
Koepka’s full interview with Golf Digest can be read here.
American golf fans are taking to Twitter to point out Koepka’s comments and explain why the United States has performed so poorly at the Ryder Cup.
Of course, Koepka hasn’t been much of a problem in Ryder Cup competition.
Still, mindsets like Koepka’s are probably shared by other star American golfers, who maybe haven’t performed as well in the Ryder Cup.
The Ryder Cup is set to be played from Sept. 24 through Sept. 26.