With Brooks Koepka’s victory at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, the now five-time major winner ranks second in the Ryder Cup rankings for Team USA.
But with Koepka’s allegiance to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour, and since the PGA of America facilitates the Ryder Cup, a debate has emerged about whether or not LIV golfers should represent their countries in the bi-annual competition.
Following Sunday’s final round, Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner hosted Live from the PGA Championship from Oak Hill. Former Tour players Brandel Chamblee and Brad Faxon sat alongside Lerner as panelists, as these three discussed Koepka’s victory, Michael Block’s heroics, and other things from the week in Rochester.
When the topic of Koepka representing Team USA came up, things grew tense on the set.
“When you talk about the LIV golfers that left the PGA Tour to go over play there, you never hear a bad word from those players about Brooks Koepka,” Faxon began. “Brooks would be a fantastic addition to the team, particularly inside the locker room. [American captain] Zach [Johnson] would be foolish not to consider him.”
Chamblee, an avid critic of LIV, responded vehemently.
“Don’t you think it would be a bit of a slap in the face to the players that didn’t go, that didn’t take the money and go to LIV, that somebody who took the money could now have their cake and eat it too?” Chamblee questioned.
“In playing on the Ryder Cup team, would it not in some way elevate LIV, [and] make it more legitimate?” Chamblee added. “And LIV, by the way, is involved in and actively suing the PGA Tour at an enormous expense to the PGA Tour. And that expense and money come from the PGA Tour players’ pockets. So how do you feel about those two?”
https://t.co/DZtQ5ZGcad : Brandel Chamblee-Brad Faxon Ryder Cup debate got tense Sunday night https://t.co/yGJfU8fscj pic.twitter.com/kt7n9v8xVR— GolfBlog.com (@GolfBlogDotCom) May 23, 2023
By this point, Faxon looked taken aback but re-affirmed his advocacy for the PGA Tour.
“I served on the [PGA Tour’s] Players Policy Board three different times,” Faxon quipped. “I can’t stand that this infiltrated our game in a way.”
“The PGA of America runs the Ryder Cup,” Faxon added. “I don’t think this has anything to do—they’re not playing for money at the Ryder Cup, Brandel. They’re playing for their country. He’s an American.”
Now things began to get testy on live television.
“They’re playing for their country,” Chamblee responded. “They’re not playing for their tour. They’re playing for their country. There’s certainly a sense that the Europeans are playing for their tour. I think you’re right. You make a reasonable point. They’re not playing for their tour. They’re just playing for their country.”
To respond to Chamblee’s gripe, Faxon said something true yet simple:
“Well, they’re playing golf.”
A long silence followed as the two Golf Channel analysts looked at each other.
After that awkward pause, Faxon broke the tension by saying, “we stand off here.”
This debate is likely to roar on. Other important names have chimed in on the subject.
Scottie Scheffler, the number one ranked player in the world and the top-ranked player in the Ryder Cup rankings, weighed in on this discussion following the PGA Championship.
He does not care about different tours; he wants to win the Ryder Cup on European soil for the first time in 30 years.
Ryder Cup rosters will be finalized in August. There will likely be endless discussions surrounding this topic.