The U.S. Ryder Cup dysfunction is not confined to the misanthropic Patrick Reed. At least Reed’s problem with his teammates and captain was limited to just words. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka cannot say the same, as they had at least one physical confrontation during this Ryder Cup experience. There are now multiple reports the two had to be separated at a Ryder Cup afterparty. There’s also one report from a French newspaper that the two had some sort of issue on the team plane to Paris from the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
DJ and Koepka are always portrayed as close friends, living in South Florida and constantly working out together, both at home and on the road on Tour. They share a trainer, magazine covers, and a similar style of golf. The two often run together and earned the facile nickname, the “Bash Brothers.”
They seem like a natural Ryder Cup pair, but that’s not been the case in their two joint appearances. The two teamed up just once in Paris, playing Saturday afternoon alternate-shot Foursomes and losing to Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose. They played together just once in the 2016 Ryder Cup, losing another alternate-shot match.
It’s unclear why the two were in a confrontation at the afterparty. James Corrigan of the Telegraph first reported the incident, citing witnesses as “clearly shocked and upset by the nastiness, which was very threatening.” After all these team competitions, the two sides usually come together and party deep into Sunday night. This incident occurred at a party on the European team room side, according to Corrigan. His report has been confirmed by multiple outlets on both sides of the Atlantic. Each report characterizes the incident as the two “having to be separated.”
A Golf Digest report on Tuesday cited a source saying Paulina Gretzy, DJ’s fiancee, was a “central figure in the incident” and that Koepka’s girlfriend was also involved.
The report from L’Équipe, a French newspaper, describes an incident on the plane ride over to the Ryder Cup. The report also added that captain Jim Furyk had to talk to both players and ask them to get over the issue and put the team first.
Koepka’s agent denied an incident to Golf Digest, but it’s clear something happened and multiple reports are confirming it. Koepka will now probably get his wish to be requested for more press conferences and media access as efforts are made to try and suss out what happened and the implications of it. It’s just a piece of the drama and dysfunction enveloping the American side after their ugly 17.5-10.5 loss in Paris.
There was genuine optimism that this 2018 team would be the one to end a 25-year winless drought in Europe. The roster was loaded and a new generation, without that scar tissue, infused the roster with world-class talent that made the U.S. the favorites. But between the Reed drama with Spieth, and now DJ-Koepka, this younger generation has learned to dislike each other with startling SEC-type speed.