A chance meeting on the first tee of a practice day at The Open led to Brooks Koepka and Zach Johnson discussing the Ryder Cup – but what did they talk about?
Brooks Koepka wanted to make Zach Johnson’s job as Ryder Cup captain hard ahead of the PGA Championship – before storming to his fifth major triumph.
You could argue Koepka did the opposite, as the American propelled up the Ryder Cup standings so far that he appears to be guaranteed a spot at Marco Simone in September.
The 33-year-old revealed the nitty gritty details of the practice round he played with captain Johnson at the 151st Open Championship, with another major champion from the LIV Golf roster tagging along.
“(I) walked on the first tee right behind Scotty (Adam Scott),” he said at Hoylake .”He didn’t have a tee time, neither did I and neither did Zach and neither did Cam (Smith). There was a good little wait, so we all played.
“It was fun. We got to talk about it a little bit, just what’s going on, I guess how the team is shaping up. It’s interesting.
“It was just hearing his perspective and all the stuff he’s got to do. The PGA of America does a really good job in easing it for him, and just talking about the preparation for it, what our team is going to do, where are we going to be, and just a little bit more about the shuffle of guys.
“They have behind-the-scenes stats, stuff like that. It’s quite interesting just hearing about it all.”
Koepka has played in the last three Ryder Cups, but his future in the event looked in jeopardy after moving to LIV Golf in 2022, limiting his access to ranked events and crucial Official World Golf Ranking Points.
His victory at Oak Hill was on the cards after a valiant effort in tied second to Jon Rahm at the Masters. These performances currently make him the only LIV player placed in the top 12 of the US Ryder Cup standings.
When speaking at the John Deere Classic, Johnson said LIV players can still “garner points” as members of the PGA of America – something Bryson DeChambeau also capitalised on by coming tied for fourth in New York.
A route to OWGR legitimacy for LIV Golf was one bullet point in the PGA Tour’s framework agreement with the Public Investment Fund, but when asked to comment on the most recent developments, Koepka, like most other players, had little knowledge to hand.
“Just let it all play out. I mean, I have no control over anything,” he added. “Why am I going to worry about something I can’t control?
“I hear the news. I see the news. There’s a lot of – I don’t want to say the rumours. Maybe not everything is true, maybe this, maybe that. There are a lot of different scenarios, a lot of what-ifs. But it really doesn’t matter until everything is definite.
“It’s a bunch of what-if scenarios. Nothing is finalised. Until it’s finalised – you don’t count the winner out here on Saturday just because they’re top of the leaderboard. You wait until Sunday to figure it out.
“When all is said and done, we’ll see what happens. I’ve gotten along great with Greg (Norman) and obviously, I’ve had more communication with him over the last year than I probably had in the last five years,”
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