Brooks Koepka says he wasn't being negative in his Ryder Cup comments

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Brooks Koepka took issue with the media's reporting of an interview with Golf Digest in which he expressed issues with the difficulty of Ryder Cup week.

Koepka, in his first public comments since suffering a wrist injury at the Tour Championship three weeks ago, said "y'all spun it negative'' when asked about his comments that led to former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger questioning whether he should give up his spot.

"I never said it was negative. Y'all spun it that way,'' Koepka said during a news conference Thursday at Whistling Straits, where the Ryder Cup begins Friday morning. "I never said it was negative. I said it was different. Like I said, I've never played any of these team events [before turning pro]. I didn't play Walker Cup. Never played Junior Ryder Cup. Never played anything.

"I just said it's different. That doesn't mean it's bad. Y'all spun it that way.''

Koepka added that "I wouldn't be nervous on that first tee if I didn't care.''

The interview that appeared in Golf Digest was conducted in July. As part of it, Koepka -- a four-time major champion -- was asked about the Ryder Cup.

"It's different,'' he said. "It's hectic. It's a bit odd, if I'm honest. I don't want to say it's a bad week. We're just so individualized, and everybody has their routine and a different way of doing things and now it's like, OK, we have to have a meeting at this time or go do this or go do that. I can barely see my [personal] team. It's hard to even go to the gym. There's no time to do that at the Ryder Cup. There's no time to decompress.''

That got Azinger's attention. The captain of the 2008 U.S. team who is now an analyst for NBC said he'd question whether Koepka should take part in the competition. Koepka has played in two previous Ryder Cups and has a 4-3-1 record.

"I'm not sure he loves the Ryder Cup that much. If he doesn't love it, he should relinquish his spot and get people there who do love it,'' Azinger said during a conference call last week. "Not everybody embraces it. But if you don't love it, and you're not sold out, then I think Brooks -- especially being hurt -- should consider whether or not he really wants to be there. And if you add the Bryson [DeChambeau] dynamic to that, that would be an even easier decision for him.''

Like DeChambeau, and U.S. captain Steve Stricker before him this week, Koepka sought to downplay the monthslong feud that he says won't be an issue during the Ryder Cup.

"We are on the same team together,'' Koepka said. "We've had dinner almost every night as a team. I got here Monday. Everyone who is on our team is interacting and everybody is participating in conversations and doing everything we need to do.''

Koepka also pronounced his left wrist good enough to be able to play 36 holes, if necessary, but would not go so far as to say he is 100 percent healthy. He then referenced injuries to both knees that have given him problems over the past two years. He suffered an injury to his left wrist when he hit a tree root in the rough during the third round of the Tour Championship.

"I'm like glass, so I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent: left knee, right knee, broken, man," he said. "I feel fine. I feel as good as I've felt in a long time. Over the past week and a half, I did a lot of work on it with Derek Samuel, my trainer. He was down with me for about eight days, so able to kind of work everything out and make sure it's fine but I feel good and I'm ready to go as much or as little as they want.''

On two of the three practice sessions, including Thursday, Koepka was grouped with Tony Finau, Daniel Berger and Harris English.

Finau has been in his group every day, and they appear to be a possible pairing. They went 1-1 as a pairing in four-ball at the 2018 Ryder Cup.