GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy (AP) — Brooks Koepka could have used a board to pound Saturday in the Ryder Cup. Jon Rahm didn’t need one, and he doesn’t know what caused all the fuss.
Koepka kept everyone guessing — about the incident, not his blunt nature — when he accused the Masters champion of pouting after their fourballs match Friday afternoon, which Rahm ended with a 35-foot eagle putt.
“I mean, I want to hit a board and pout just like Jon Rahm did,” Koepka said in the television interview. “But you know, it is what it is. Act like a child. But we’re adults. We move on.”
Rahm filled in the details, or what he could make of it, after he put up another point for Europe in Saturday foursomes.
“I mean, I’m not going to stand here and say I’m a perfect example on what to do on a golf course. I don’t think either of us two are,” Rahm said as he sat next to Tyrrell Hatton, another player known for expressing his feelings for all to see. “But I play and compete.”
The moment to which Koepka referred came on the 17th hole of the fourballs match. Rahm had a 10-foot putt that would have squared the match with one hole to play when he left it short.
“Going up to the tee, I let off some frustration, hitting the board sideways,” Rahm said. “I kept walking, never stopped, that was it. If Brooks thinks that’s childish, it is what it is. He’s entitled to think what he thinks. I don’t know what else to say.”
Koepka’s comments and Rahm’s response provided the only real sauce to the week. The Ryder Cup can get contentious, at times personal, because of the one-to-one nature of match play.
Rahm is known to run hot on the golf course, especially in his early days as pro. That’s part of why he was so curious that hitting a board led to Koepka’s comments.
“I’ve done much worse on a golf course,” he said. “That doesn’t even register to a low level of ‘Jon anger’ on the golf course. As far as I’m concerned, I’m very happy with who I am, and I needed to do that at that moment to let off some steam and play the hole I wanted to do. And clearly, it worked out.
“Is it right or wrong, childish or not, I don’t know,” he said. “But that’s what I needed at the moment.”
Rahm was given the afternoon off, going 2-0-1 in the team portion. So was Koepka after an ugly display in Saturday morning foursomes. Koepka and Scottie Scheffler suffered the worst defeat in Ryder Cup history when Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg beat them, 9 and 7.