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Paul Azinger: If Koepka doesn’t love Ryder Cup, ‘he should relinquish his spot ‘


In a recent interview with Golf Digest, Brooks Koepka talked about the difficulties he faces in adjusting to the team atmosphere and structured scheduling of Ryder Cup week.

From absences of naps to not being able to control his own routine, Koepka stated, among other things, “It’s just maybe not in my DNA, the team sports thing.”

Former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, in an NBC Sports/Golf Channel conference call to discuss next week’s competition, said he read Koepka’s full quotes and didn’t think Koepka was fully invested in the matches.

“Brooks, when I just read that article, I’m not sure he loves the Ryder Cup that much. If he doesn’t love it, he should relinquish his spot and get people there who do love the Ryder Cup,” the 2008 winning captain said.

“Not everybody embraces it, but if you don’t love it and you’re not sold out, then I think Brooks should – especially being hurt, should consider whether or not he really wants to be there.”

Brooks Koepka has four major titles and he says there is no reason he can’t match Tiger Woods’ mark of 15.

Koepka withdrew from the Tour Championship because of a wrist injury. He was the only American to not make a scouting trip to Whistling Straits, site of the Ryder Cup, this week.

Azinger, an in-booth analyst for NBC Sports and Golf Channel, also brought up the rivalry between Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, pointing out that the relationship between the two isn’t making things easy for current U.S. captain Steve Stricker – though, it could make for an easier opt-out for Koepka.

“Then if you add the Bryson dynamic to that, that would be an easier decision for him. Brooks is one of the most candid, most honest guys there is, and if he’s blatantly honest with himself and doesn’t want to be there, he should come out and say it,” Azinger said.

“I don’t know, I’m a fan of both players. I just feel like it’s going to be one or the other. They’re going to put the weight of the team on their shoulders, or they’re going to be a pain in the neck.”

For his part, DeChambeau said recently that his “hands are wrecked” training for a long-drive competition which will take place after the Ryder Cup.