If the teamwork-centric U.S. Ryder Cup was being held today, feuding golf superstars Brooks Koepka and Bryson Dechambeau would both be on the team.
Jim Furyk, 2018 Ryder Cup captain and major championship winner, said the heated rivalry between the two will unlikely hurt the mojo on this year's team. Having said positive mojo is often a key ingredient to winning Ryder Cups.
"I think they will be fine. We've got a lot of help. We've got a lot of folks in the team room," Furyk told Yahoo Finance.
The 43rd Ryder Cup will be held from Sept. 21 to Sept. 26 at Wisconsin's Whistling Straits. Dechambeau is currently ranked second in the Ryder Cup rankings, while Koepka is number five. The top six players in the rankings make the team.
Steve Stricker will captain the U.S. team while Padraig Harrington leads the international stars.
Koepka and Dechambeau — long-time rivals — have been exchanging blows on social media in recent weeks. The feud spilled out into the public forum after Koepka rolled his eyes as Dechambeau passed by him during an interview last month. Koepka lost his concentration as Dechambeau walked by in loud metal spikes, and then blasted him to the interviewer.
In a game with such a rigid reputation, the back and forth banter is far from the norm.
The Golf boom persists
Even without the attention grabbing rivalry among golf's elite, the sport continues to trend in the right direction as people seek socially distant activities during the pandemic.
The number of rounds played in the U.S. rose 24.3% through March, according to the latest available data from the National Golf Foundation. March alone saw a 45.3% surge from a year ago. The number of rounds played rose 13.9% in 2020.
The momentum has major golf retailer Dick's Sporting Goods stepping up its investment in the space.
Dick's will spend $20 million to bolster its Golf Galaxy stores in a bid to capture market share in the red-hot golf equipment market. Among the investments, Dick's is installing Trackman technology (essentially large digital screens that one can hit balls into and receive data feedback on ball flight, etc.).
The company has gone live with online booking for lessons and club fittings — which has become the industry standard.
"Dick's investment in the sport [golf] shows that the go-forward outlook is strong, and strength cannot simply be attributed to a one-time COVID benefit," said Jefferies analyst Randal Konik in a research note.
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