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Ex-Ryder Cup captain gives fiery response to Brooks Koepka’s remarks on tournament

Brooks Koepka will be an integral part of the U.S. team during the upcoming Ryder Cup, but his latest comments on being on the squad drew ire from former member Paul Azinger.

Azinger, who was the captain of the U.S. team when it ended its losing streak against Team Europe in 2008, took issue with Koepka’s latest comments about how the Ryder Cup takes away from the individual player. Azinger told ESPN if Koepka doesn’t like it, then he should give up his spot.

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“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 it,” the 1993 PGA Championship winner said. “Not everybody embraces it. But if you don’t love it, and you’re not sold out, then I think Brooks — especially being hurt — should consider whether or not he really wants to be there. And if you add the Bryson [DeChambeau] dynamic to that, that would be an even easier decision for him.”

USA Captain Paul Azinger celebrates with the Ryder Cup.
(Action Images / Paul Childs  Livepic)

Koepka has been nursing a wrist injury that caused him to withdraw from The Tour Championship. Regardless, he was named to the U.S. team for the Ryder Cup, which is set to take place at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin beginning Sept. 24.

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He was a part of the U.S. team’s 2016 victory and was on the team in 2018 as well.

He told Golf Digest earlier in the week he was upset with the team dynamic of the Ryder Cup.

Brooks Koepka plays his shot from the second tee during the first round of the Tour Championship golf tournament.

Brooks Koepka plays his shot from the second tee during the first round of the Tour Championship golf tournament.
(Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports)

“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.”

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The 2021 Ryder Cup was set to be played last year, but it was moved to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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