Brooks Koepka hopes to make things challenging for American Ryder Cup Captain Zach Johnson as he aims to secure a spot in the biennial event at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in September.
Johnson said the possibility of LIV players featuring in the Ryder Cup is currently “not even a discussion item”, with American players still eligible for this year’s edition of the biennial contest despite being banned or having resigned from the PGA Tour.
Koepka, who finished in a share of second alongside fellow LIV golfer Phil Mickelson at the Masters, is currently 22nd in the qualification standings, where the top six will automatically qualify before Johnson picks his six wildcards.
“It would be awesome to represent the United States,” said Kopeka, who will bid for a third PGA Championship triumph this week.
“Anytime we do it it’s always fun, but I’m not focused on it. It’s not my first thought when I go play well this week. If I handle my business out here, everything will take care of itself.
“If you win, go second, first, first, first, it would be kind of tough not to pick, right? If you go handle business, I feel like I should be fine. But it’s not up to me. It’s up to Zach and what goes on.
“I just play my best and see what happens from there, but I would love to play for him. It’s tough to be in Zach’s mind or where he is at, but I would love to make it hard on him.
“I think that would be cool. The only thing I can do is go play good. If I play good, everything takes care of itself. Like I said, it’s not up to me. I’m not the one making the decisions. I can only go play golf.”
Fellow LIV golf and Ryder Cup teammate Dustin Johnson is also hoping to feature in Rome, two years on from winning all five of his matches in their record-breaking win at Whistling Straits.
“I have no idea if I’d get picked,” Johnson said. “Obviously if I continue to play really well for the rest of the year, then obviously there’s a chance. I would definitely like to play in the Ryder Cup. It’s one of my favourite events to play in, especially after the last Ryder Cup.
“I’ve known Zach for a long time, so I’m sure he’s keeping an eye on things. You just never know. Obviously play well in the majors, the next three majors, and just play some good, solid, consistent golf from here on out the rest of the year, who knows what will happen.
“I think I’ve proven myself out here for a long enough time where I don’t need to keep proving myself. I already have for many years. Same with all the other guys. It’s just where we play at. It doesn’t change the style of golfer we are.”
Despite Koepka finishing second at the Masters and DJ winning the latest LIV event, Zach Johnson stressed he would not be placing too much importance on either performance.
“He played really good that one week, but it’s one week,” Johnson said of Koepka.
“He played great but there’s still a lot of golf between now and then. “One of the factors that we’ve looked at over the years is what kind of form are the guys in when it gets close to the Tour Championship (August 24-27). I think that would be wise for me to look at. “I remember playing really well one spring thinking, man, I’ve got this, I’m a shoo-in, and I didn’t make the team. There’s a lot of factors involved.”
Asked about his namesake’s form, Johnson added: “Really difficult for me to judge that. I don’t know the golf courses they’re playing. Never seen them. I’m not there on foot, in person. “You’re talking about an individual whose resume is extremely deep and wide. “He’s certainly in my generation one of the best players I’ve ever competed against, but it’s not fair for me to guess his true form or anybody’s true form that I can’t witness.”