Zach Johnson, the United States Ryder Cup captain, says scheduling issues were behind Brooks Koepka’s omission from a team photo of his players posted by the PGA Tour, rather than anything more sinister.
Koepka was conspicuous by his absence from a photo posted on Monday of the American players and their partners on the steps of a plane to Rome ahead of this week’s Ryder Cup.
The five-time major winner, who plays on the rebel LIV tour, flew separately from the rest of the team having been in action at LIV Golf Invitational Chicago over the weekend.
Craig Connelly, who used to caddie for former world No 1 Martin Kaymer, said it was poor form that they did not all fly together. “Pretty s--- that they couldn’t wait for Brooks,” Connelly tweeted. “Remember flying into Kentucky for Valhalla and the lads that had made there [sic] own way there met the plane for a photo shoot. Hence making it a ‘team’ photo.”
Johnson, asked about it in the captains’ press conference at Marco Simone Golf Club on Monday, said there was an innocent explanation.
“Yeah, so we all met in Atlanta,” he said. “Given time constraints and I don’t know, what’s the word? When you have to take off and when you have to land? Whatever you want to call that, the slots of taking off and landing, time-wise, it seemed it was best that Brooks meet us here. He actually beat us here.
“But for him to fly from Chicago to Atlanta and for us to wait for him to go, we would have got in a lot later. I don’t think it was even feasible. So he met us here. But he was here two weeks ago with us during our practice session.”
The 44th Ryder Cup begins on Friday with the opening foursomes.