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He said, he said

Ryder Cup 2023: Jon Rahm on Brooks Koepka dig—'I'm very comfortable with who I am'

September 30, 2023
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Jon Rahm reacts on the 11th green during the Saturday morning foursomes matches.

Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

ROME — On Friday, after losing on the final hole to Jon Rahm and Nicolai Højgaard in the afternoon fourball session, Brooks Koepka, who played with Scottie Scheffler, took a shot at the Spaniard who seems to keep coming out on top whenever the two meet.

"I mean, I want to hit a board and pout just like Jon Rahm did," Koepka said. "But, you know, it is what it is. Act like a child. But we're adults. We move on."

On Saturday, Rahm made his first appearance since those remarks Saturday after winning his third straight match, 2 and 1, with Tyrrell Hatton over Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in foursomes. Inevitably, after a pair of questions about the match, he was asked to respond to Koepka's comments.

"I'm not going to stand here and say I'm a perfect example of what to do on a golf course," he began, before indicating Hatton and saying, "I don't think either of us are."

Protested Hatton, who was watching the afternoon matches on a nearby screen, "I'm just sitting here watching TV!"

"But I play and compete the way I think I need to play and compete," Rahm continued. "And, yeah, I think you mentioned … I'm not happy I left the 10-footer short on 17 to possibly tie the hole and going up to the tee, I let out some frustration in hitting the board sideways, and I kept walking and that was it. If Brooks thinks that's childish, it is what it is, he's entitled to think what he thinks. I mean, I don't know what else to say."

This comment solved the mystery of what exactly Koepka meant when he asked Rahm of hitting a board. Social media speculated that it might involve an incident at the U.S. Open this summer when Rahm hit a sandwich board with his club at the conclusion of a round. Instead, it seems to be something that happened en route to the 18th tee in the tight match on Friday.

As for whether Koepka's comments bothered him, Rahm made it clear that he's never had an issue with Koepka, and that he wasn't fazed.

"I'm very comfortable with who I am and what I do," he said. "I've done much worse on a golf course, so that doesn't even register to a low level of anger on the golf course. So as far as I'm concerned, I'm very happy with who I am, and I needed to do that at that moment to let off some steam and play the hole the way I wanted to. And clearly it worked out, I hit two great shots and got a little lucky with the putt. I did what I needed to do to perform under those circumstances. Is it right or wrong, childish or not? I don't know."

Rahm isn't on social media, but said he became aware of the comments when friends texted him the news.

"I wish they hadn't, to be honest," he said.

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