Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau trading barbs on social media was golf’s biggest spat a year ago, but the latest feud isn’t so much fun for Koepka.
The 32-year-old American, chasing his third US Open crown this week at The Country Club, became irked on Tuesday when the hot topic of the PGA Tour and upstart Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series came up.
US stars Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and DeChambeau are among the rebels playing LIV Golf events for the richest purses in golf history at $25-million for 54-hole events with a team format.
Koepka’s brother, Chase Koepka, shared 33rd place in last week’s LIV Golf opener in England.
“LIV is trying to make a big push for golf,” Brooks Koepka said. “I love my brother. Whatever he does, I’m cheering for him.”
Asked about his prospects of leaving the PGA, Koepka bristled.
“There has been no other option to this point, so where else are you going to go?” he replied. “I wasn’t playing last week. I’m here at the US Open. I’m ready to play US Open and I think it kind of sucks, too, you are all throwing this black cloud over the US Open.
“I don’t know why you guys keep doing that. The more legs you give it, the more you keep talking about it.”
Koepka said that he can create a schedule with fewer events than usual within the PGA Tour, noting he has played only The Masters, WGC Match Play and PGA Championship in the past three months.
“I can come out here and play as little weeks as I want,” he said. “I choose my own schedule regardless of what tour I play.”
Asked if there was an amount of money that would get him to jump to LIV Golf, Kopeka said, “I haven’t given it that much thought.”
When that brought a surprised reaction, Koepka cut loose again.
“I’m trying to focus on the US Open, man. I legitimately don’t get it. I’m tired of the conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff,” he said.
“You all are throwing a black cloud on the US Open. I think that sucks. I actually do feel bad for them for once because it’s a lousy situation. We’re here to play, and you are talking about an event that happened last week.
“You can’t drive a car looking in the rearview mirror, can you?”
While there are seven more LIV Golf events this year, the next in two weeks in Oregon, Koepka was more than happy to look back at his 4 June wedding to actress Jena Sims.
“Jena did all the planning for that, so I just kind of gave my opinion when necessary, but she did a hell of a job,” Koepka said. “It was really cool. I know everybody that was part of it had a blast.”
Having played so few events and practised little since the wedding doesn’t worry Koepka.
“I’ve practised enough,” he said. “I haven’t played tournament golf but I can take time off and still come back and win. It’s not an issue.
“I like where my game is at.”
© Agence France-Presse