One of the many controversies created by the LIV Golf League is how LIV’s players will be treated when it comes to the Ryder Cup. And that led to an incredibly awkward moment on Sunday night between Golf Channel commentators, Brandel Chamblee and Brad Faxon.
With his win at the PGA Championship, Koepka is now second on the American side’s points list. This is despite only playing in two events, the Masters and the PGA Championship — where he finished second and first, respectively. That led to a conversation about whether he should play in the Ryder Cup later this year.
“The PGA of America runs the Ryder Cup,” Faxon said. “I don’t think this has anything to do with — they’re not playing for money at the Ryder Cup, Brandel. They’re playing for their country. He’s an American.”
“They’re playing for their country,” Chamblee said. “They’re not playing for their Tour. They’re just playing for their country. There’s certainly a sense that the Europeans are playing for their Tour. I think you’re right. You make a reasonable point.”
The already high levels of awkwardness then got ratcheted up a few notches when Chamblee began repeating himself.
“They’re not playing for their Tour. They’re just playing for their country.”
“Well, they’re playing golf,” Faxon said.
What followed was Chamblee and Faxon staring at each other in silence for what felt like about 10 minutes. In reality, it was about three seconds before Faxon chuckled, joked about a “stand-off,” then said “It’s a hard decision for me. I don’t know that there’s a right answer to this. But I know that Kopeka, he’s second on the points list right now. He’s only played in two events on the PGA Tour.”
Chamblee then responded with “Yeah. A second and first will move you right up.”
Things got a little awkward on Golf Channel Sunday night as Brandel Chamblee and Brad Faxon entered a "stand-off" debating Brooks Koepka being on the US Ryder Cup team. pic.twitter.com/iIapWiooDk
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 22, 2023
This awkward conversation was inevitable and — as long as LIV players continue to be eligible for the majors (which are PGA Tour events but aren’t run by the Tour), they will continue to happen.
What’s worth noting here is that while ESPN lists Koepka as second on the American list, the official Ryder Cup website does not. There, Koepka is 22nd, with the only points counting being the ones he accrued last year, before leaving the PGA Tour.
During the 2022 Presidents Cup, no LIV Golf Series players participated for either the American or International teams. The Ryder Cup has taken similar actions, notably with Europe taking the captaincy away from Henrik Stenson.
[Photo Credit: The Golf Channel]