WE'RE FRIENDS! All 12 U.S. Ryder Cuppers spoke about their bond – Golf.com
From right, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Scottie Scheffler on Thursday during a Ryder Cup practice round.
Justin Thomas was player one on day one of press conferences for this week’s Ryder Cup. And in answer one, the theme began.
“I mean, I knew it was going to be a special week and we were all going to be together as a team, but just the brotherhood, the camaraderie,” Thomas said, in response to the question about his first Ryder Cup, in 2018. “I mean, the moments in time spent in that team room, it’s hard to explain.
“Even though it’s like last night, just getting together, you’d think that all of us are best friends the entire year. We hang out, we all live in the same place, and it’s just a lot of fun.”
On Tuesday, it continued on to Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler. On Wednesday, to Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa. On Thursday, to Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Daniel Berger and Harris English. To a man, the dozen Americans who will meet Europe beginning Friday at Whistling Straits were united in one common goal:
We know, we know, this is the U.S., where Patrick Reed’s wife tweeted about her husband’s captain, and Reed questioned Jordan Spieth, and Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka reportedly confronted each other — and that was just in the last Ryder Cup.
And yeah, this is a team event in a sea of individual ones. And the objective here is not to hold hands, but to hold the cup. Still, the American fan looks at the other side, and they see that the Euros have won nine of the past 12 of these things, and they’re talking about getting tattoos on their captain’s head (it ended up on Thomas Bjorn’s backside, by the way), and the American fan begins to wonder:
Why can’t we be friends?
Maybe what we heard was more lip service than love. Or maybe it was sincere. Honestly, it was likely a little bit of both. We’ll let you be the judge below, with a few thoughts of our own:
“It just feels — not that we aren’t friends off the course. It’s just different. You’re never — not that we’re forced to be in the same room, but we’re obviously all eating in the team room together. We’re watching the game together. We’re playing ping-pong. We’re signing the million flags together that we have to sign. We’re doing all these things that — we just don’t have those opportunities in individual events. Everyone has their own schedule, they’re practicing and playing at different times, arriving at different times.
“When we get together in normal events, we have that same relationship; it’s just we’re not all of us together at one time. The opportunity just doesn’t present itself. Yeah, we are. Obviously it’s not like all 12 of us are just sitting cross-legged around a circle on the floor just talking about life, but we’re all in our — just kind of bopping around the room and catching up here and there, and it’s been fun.”
Takeaway: One of Thomas’ actual best friends, Jordan Spieth, is on this team. And if there’s a guy who could bring this group together, it’s the affable Thomas.
“It’s a wave where I was talking with Justin about it. We’ve known everyone on this team since grade school except for Dustin and Tony. I mean, it’s pretty special. So you have a camaraderie. It’s kind of more like a really light setting. Guys have known each other for a long time.”
Takeaway: The buddies went back-to-back! But Spieth brings up a good point here — any generational gap issues on a team with an average age of 29 seemingly aren’t there. Essentially, all these guys are generation ‘Gram.
“Going back to the reconnaissance, it was a lot of fun seeing the team here, a lot of camaraderie. We came together I think as a team really nicely during those two days, and coming here this week it felt like we were prepared already, like ready to go already, which is cool.”
Takeaway: Take this quote, and add in this week’s video of rivals DeChambeau and Koepka talking it out on the range, and you have the makings of a buddies golf trip. Of course, those cameras just happened to be there at the right time, didn’t they? We’ll move on.
“I think it’s something you’ve seen for a long time. It’s something you saw — like I watched The Last Dance — I’ve watched The Last Dance a couple of times, and it’s something you saw with Jordan, as well. When people make it really big like Bryson has, I think some people try and tear him down a little bit. Fantastic guy, he’s got a heart, and I really have nothing but good things to say about him.”
Takeaway: Scheffler would say later “the guys have done a really great job of making me feel like I belong,” but this was too good not to include. Call a guy MJ, and you’re BFFs.
“You know, I think it’s sort of whatever you make of it, but it is nice to have teammates. We always — all the guys on my team are enemies most of the year, but for this one week, we all share our thoughts and we’re all pulling for each other, and we want the best for each other because we all want to win. We stand under one flag and for one cause. Just try and win this thing.”
Takeaway: We appreciate the honesty here. Still, at the last Presidents Cup, he and Patrick Cantlay were paired together, hit it off — and sipped wine in Napa last week.
“I think bonding with the guys is really cool and having them on your side. I think golf misses that so much because we’re all individuals and we almost bond with our own like team unit. We’ll travel with our teams. So that’s where that bonding takes place on a regular week.
“This week I’m having dinner with DJ or Daniel Berger or whatever it would be. Having those guys on your side for a common goal lets everybody’s guard down a little bit, so I think they can be more of themselves with less protectiveness. Like I don’t want you to know what I’m thinking or know my insecurities or whatever it would be.”
Takeaway: Back-to-back buddies again. Cantlay even goes beyond friendship and talks bonding and letting your guard down and less protectiveness. Damn.
“So the dynamic has been great. We all get along really well for the most part, and during a team event, everyone — we all get along and we’ve had a great time so far.”
Takeaway: For the most part! Maybe the line of the week. But for DJ, this is like asking these guys to stand up in his upcoming wedding.
Morikawa: “They’re all amazing guys, and they’re really smart. I mean, I just chimed in on a — I wasn’t even talking, I was listening to a conversation with Jordan and Bryson last night at our dinner, and the things they were talking about are things that I’ve never talked about with my friends or other golfers I even play with.”
Reporter: Can you just give us the gist or the topic that Jordan and Bryson were talking about?
Morikawa: They were just talking about wedges.
Takeaway: Talking wedges with Spieth with DeChambeau? Hell yeah!
“I get to know a lot of these guys better than I know them on just a normal PGA Tour week or playing major championships, whatever it is. Just getting to know the guys, our wives getting to know each other better makes for good feelings all around, and whatever tiredness we are feeling throughout the week, I think gets trumped just by being here and participating in the Ryder Cup.”
Takeaway: “Good feelings” makes for a good feeling for the U.S.
“In the end, statistics are important, but what makes a good team is how you gel with your partner and how you guys get along. That’s a big factor in how the performance is going to go is how you and your partner team up together.”
Takeaway: Spoken like a guy whose Instagram handle is “db_straitvibin.”
“It’s just a lot of fun being around guys in the team room and at dinners outside the golf course. You spend all years playing with these guys and playing in big tournaments and you don’t really get to spend that quality time with them off the golf course and learn about their interests and their wives’ interest off the course. So it’s been really cool for me to get to know these guys on a more personal level and enjoy that camaraderie that we get in the team room.”
Takeaway: Good stuff. You’ll notice that one player remains. The polarizing Brooks Koepka, fittingly, gets two quotes.
“I enjoy it. I think it’s fun. It kind of brings you back a little bit to college, to be honest with you. We’re not playing alternate shot or best ball or anything like that, but it is that team camaraderie.”
“We are on the same team together. We’ve had dinner almost every night as a team. I got here on Monday. Everyone who is on our team is interacting and everybody is participating in conversations and doing everything we need to do.”
Takeaway: The Ryder Cup begins Friday.
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