With Brooks Koepka’s win at the PGA Championship in Oak Hill, the five-time major winner placed second in the Ryder Cup rankings for Team USA.
But with Koepka’s allegiance to the Saudi-backed Golf LIV tour, and with the PGA of America facilitating the Ryder Cup, there has been debate over whether or not LIV golfers should represent their country in the biennial competition.
After Sunday’s finals, Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner hosted the Live of the PGA Championship from Oak Hill. Former Tour players Brandel Chamblee and Brad Faxon sat down with Lerner as panelists, as the three discussed Koepka’s victory, Michael Block’s heroism and other matters from this week in Rochester.
When the topic of Koepka representing Team USA came up, things got tense on set.
“When you talk about LIV golfers leaving the PGA Tour to play there, you never hear anything bad from players about Brooks Koepka,” Faxon began. “Brooks will be a fantastic addition to the team, especially in the dressing room. [American captain] Zach [Johnson] it would be foolish not to consider it.”
Chamblee, an avid LIV critic, responded harshly.
“Don’t you think it would be a slap in the face for the players who didn’t go, who didn’t take the money and go to LIV, that someone who took the money now can have their cake and eat it too?” Chamblee asked.
“In playing on a Ryder Cup team, wouldn’t that increase LIV, [and] make it more legal?” Chamblee added. “And LIV, by the way, is involved in and is actively suing the PGA Tour at enormous expense to the PGA Tour. And those fees and money are coming out of the pockets of the PGA Tour players. So how do you feel about the two of them?”
At this point, Faxon appeared taken aback but reiterated his advocacy for the PGA Tour.
“I served in [PGA Tour’s] The Player Policy Board is three times different,” Faxon quipped. “I can’t stand that this creeps into our game.”
“The PGA of America runs the Ryder Cup,” Faxon added. “I don’t think this is relevant—they don’t play for money in the Ryder Cup, Brandel. They play for their country. He’s American.”
Now things are starting to get testy on live television.
“They play for their country,” Chamblee replied. “They are not playing for their tour. They play for their country. There must be the impression that the Europeans are playing for their tour. I think you are right. You make a reasonable point. They are not playing for their tour. They only play for their country.”
In response to Chamblee’s complaint, Faxon said something true but simple:
“Well, they are playing golf.”
A long silence followed as the two Golf Channel analysts looked at each other.
After the awkward pause, Faxon broke the ice by saying, “we stop here.”
This debate is likely to continue. Other important names joined in talking about this problem.
Scottie Scheffler, the number one player in the world and the top ranked player in the Ryder Cup rankings, weighed in on this discussion after the PGA Championship.
He didn’t care about different tours; he is looking 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 around this topic.