Should Koepka Be Banned From The Rest Of The Ryder Cup?

Should Koepka Be Banned From The Rest Of The Ryder Cup?

Should Koepka Be Banned?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Brooks Koepka was involved in an incident with two rules officials on the 14th hole at Whistling Straits.

Should Koepka Be Banned From The Rest Of The Ryder Cup?

The Ryder Cup regularly features a tense and fiery atmosphere and, in the Saturday morning foursomes, it was the same again.

Playing the 15th hole, the pair of Brooks Koepka (opens in new tab) and Daniel Berger (opens in new tab) attempted to get relief from a nearby drain as there was a chance that Koepka's through swing could get involved with the metalwork.

However, after the first referee David Price refused the drop, Koepka called for a second opinion which was also refused.

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Koepka, who suffered a wrist injury at the Tour Championship less than three weeks ago when his left wrist made contact with a tree root, ploughed on with his thoughts on the matter, even to the point of saying ‘If I break my wrist, it’s on f***ing both of you’ (opens in new tab) before play got going again.

So should Koepka have been banned for the rest of the Ryder Cup? We take a look at the argument from both sides.

Yes

There’s a reason there’s a referee with each group. They’re fair, knowledgeable and they’re there to make the matches go smoothly and correctly. They have decades of experience, they’ve pretty much seen it all and therefore they’ll be able to give you their best decision. David Price, who was with the Koepka-Berger foursomes match, was actually the referee when Dustin Johnson fell foul of the rules at the 72nd hole of the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits (opens in new tab). Been there, done that and all that.

Golf is full of rules, it’s getting a bit more condensed but there are still plenty of them and the walking officials know them better than anyone.

Should Koepka Be Banned?

Koepka plays his shot on the 15th hole.(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

It’s fair to ask for a second opinion, everyone gets things wrong on occasion, but they should be treated with respect and not spoken to the way that both Koepka and Berger did.

Even when the second referee was called in, and agreed with the original decision, Koepka stepped over the mark with the comment ‘If I break my wrist, this is on f***ing both of you’. It says something about the referees that they simply nodded and agreed

Look at rugby; these are physical giants who are knocking lumps out of one another for 80 minutes, and they’ll still keep themselves in check. There’s little or no intimidation and it makes for a better spectacle. Koepka and co need to wind their necks in and show a bit more respect.

No

Yes, it did drag on far too long and Koepka’s f’ing outburst was embarrassing but, relatively speaking, there was nothing to see here. Sergio Garcia spent most of it in giggles, Jon Rahm didn’t even bother to get involved and Henrik Stenson joked about getting out a spade. Koepka and Berger genuinely seemed to think that they had a case, it wasn’t the most ridiculous request (not on a Matt Kuchar scale anyway) and, as it transpired, the American still thought he had a point after the shot.

Should Koepka Be Banned?

David Price explains the ruling to the American Team. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

This was a bit of a shambles but it was nothing more. Golf loves nothing more than to get its knickers in a twist when golfers push the envelope a little bit. There are rules queries week in, week out with players trying to gain an edge and the Americans were, at worst, trying their luck a bit.

The referees were OK with the exchange so let’s just crack on with the rest of the week.

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.