Former US Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger has questioned Brooks Koepka's desire for the competition and thinks he should give up his place in the squad for "someone who would love to play" if he does not want to.
Koepka, a four-time major winner, said this week in an interview with Golf Digest that he finds the biennial event "tough, hectic and a bit odd" and also expressed his frustration that he "can’t take naps" during the week.
Steve Stricker, who will be US captain at Whistling Straits next week, has yet to comment on Koepka’s views but Azinger, who is one of only two US captains to have won the Ryder Cup this century after his win at Valhalla in 2008, believes that he should withdraw if he does not want to play.
"After reading that, I’m not sure that Brooks loves the Ryder Cup that much and if he doesn’t love it he should relinquish his spot and get people there who do love the Ryder Cup," Azinger said in an NBC teleconference.
"Look, Brooks is one of the most honest, candid guys and if he is blatantly honest with himself and if he doesn’t want to be there, he should come out and say it.
"Is Brooks deep down thinking, 'Is this my reward – for playing so well I have to go and play in the Ryder Cup?’. It’s possible. I know there have been players who felt that way. The Ryder Cup is a different animal.
"Not everyone embraces it, but if you aren’t sold on it then I think Brooks should consider whether or not he really wants to be there, especially as he is hurt."
Koepka is the only one of the 12-man US squad not to have attended a two-day reconnaissance at Whistling Straits. He chose instead to remain at home to continue his recovery from the wrist injury that caused him to withdraw from the Tour Championship.
Stricker has said the ball is firmly in the 31-year-old’s court concerning his fitness.
"I’m leaving it up to him," he said. "It sounds positive. He’s working hard to be there."