The relationship between Smash GC team captain Brooks Koepka and team member Matthew Wolff appears to have broken in half.
Wolff, known for his unique swing and immense distance off the tee, has been in a rotten run of form recently, encapsulated by his withdrawal ahead of the third round of the D.C. event, where he was 46th out of 48 golfers through 36 holes.
He then finished in 44th at Valderrama last week and will be looking to turn things round this week at the Centurion Club in London. However, team captain Koepka is not happy with his compatriot following that withdrawal in the American capital five weeks ago.
“I mean, when you quit on your round, you give up and stuff like that, that’s not competing,” Koepka said, in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I’m not a big fan of that. You don’t work hard. It’s very tough. It’s very tough to have even like a team dynamic when you’ve got one guy that won’t work, one guy is not going to give any effort, he’s going to quit on the course, break clubs, gets down, bad body language, it’s very tough. I’ve basically given up on him—a lot of talent, but I mean the talent’s wasted.”
In the same time period, Koepka has gone on to have top-two finishes in both the Masters and the PGA Championship, winning the latter to secure his fifth major championship.
The 33-year-old has also finished in the top six in four of the last six LIV Golf events, including a victory in Orlando earlier this year. Koepka currently sits in 2nd in the individual standings, behind Talor Gooch, the only three-time winner in LIV Golf history.
Wolff, on the other hand, is currently outside the all-important top 24 in the individual standings. The top 24 at the end of the 2023 season are guaranteed a place in the 2024 league. However, he is still looking to improve in London, and added that he is healthy.
“I’m here, you know, trying to do what I can to play the best round of golf and that’s going to help the team,” Wolff told Sports Illustrated.
“I’m just here to focus on myself and try to play some good golf and that’s what everyone’s really trying to do, because golf is trying to put the best score up and then if that helps your team it’s great.”
London is the 8th event in the 2023 LIV Golf season, with five more events to follow, allowing Wolff the chance to guarantee his 2024 spot.
The 24-year-old has responded to Koepka’s comments, calling them “disappointing” and “heartbreaking”.
See Wolff’s statement in full below.
“I read the SI interview with our Captain Brooks Koepka and it was beyond disappointing to me. When I chose to join his team in 2023, I did so with much optimism about my new home as part of Team Smash and equally as important the chance to be around and learn from a player of Brooks’s stature,” the statement from Wolff read.
“Like everyone who has ever played the game at the highest level, I have had competitive moments in the past that I feel I have let myself down and even others in our new team environment. This has been quite difficult for me. My challenges on and off the golf course with my mental health has been well documented. I deal with those challenges every day.
“However, while my 2023 season has not been all I had hoped for to this point, I have made positive strides in managing my life and feel Ike my game is turning for the positive.
“To hear through the media that our team leader has given up on me is heartbreaking. It’s not what a team member looks to hear from its leader, and I think we all know these comments should have been handled much differently. But I’m moving forward and won’t ever give up on myself. While on course results may not appear now to be positive indicators, I’m trying to win an even BIGGER game with my life.
“Finally, I trust Brooks wants what is best for our team. But it’s hard to imagine his comments in his recent SI interview in any way line up with those priorities. This will be my last comment on this matter. I’m heading out today to the Centurion Club trying to help our team win this week. I appreciate everyone’s continued support and your respect for my privacy.”
NOW READ: Talor Gooch reveals his Ryder Cup dream!
What do you make of the Brooks Koepka-Matthew Wolff fallout? Let us know on Twitter!
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?