Heading into the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, the prospect of a Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka pairing for the American team seemed like a frightening one for Team Europe. Surely, the bash bros would pummel their opponents into submission with their prodigious length and stellar wedge play and easily skate their way to an undefeated record and become the duo to beat for years to come.
But when captain Davis Love III announced the pairings for Friday’s first session, Johnson was paired with Matt Kuchar, who he played with again that afternoon. They went 1-1, dominating their morning match against Thomas Pieters and Lee Westwood 5-and-4, then falling to Pieters and Rory McIlroy 3-and-2 that afternoon. Koepka played just one session alongside Brandt Snedeker, and they won their Friday fourballs match with ease, 5-and-4.
It wasn’t until a full 24 hours later that fans were finally treated to the much-anticipated Koepka-DJ pairing, as Love III sent them out in Saturday’s afternoon fourballs to take on McIlroy and Pieters. Let’s just say they didn’t live up to the hype, losing 3-and-1 to the experienced McIlroy and Ryder Cup rookie Pieters, who, to be fair to Koepka and Johnson, was red hot, finishing the week with a team-best 4-1 record.
In the least surprising news of the day, that loss at Hazeltine is not exactly fresh in the mind of Johnson, who hyped up another potential pairing with Koepka in France on Thursday at the Dell Technologies Championship. When asked about possibly teaming up with Koepka for a second time, Johnson had this to say:
“I’m definitely looking forward to hopefully or possibly partnering up with Brooks. I think we’d make a pretty good team. And I feel bad for anyone who would have to play us.”
Based off how the two have played this season, Johnson’s not wrong. Not only are they the top two in the Ryder Cup standings, but they are also ranked 1 and 2 in the world and have combined for five wins this season (two pretty big ones from Koepka). But that won’t stop critics from pointing out they’re 0-1 record as a team from 2016, and the fact that they’ll be in enemy territory at Le Golf National. Either way, the pressure will be on, not that Johnson will even know or care that he’s just given the European team some bulletin board material.