Ryder Cup: Can Bryson DeChambeau be a team player at Whistling Straits?

Golf’s biggest hitter has plenty to prove when he goes into battle against the Europeans in Wisconsin this week.

The accepted wisdom at Ryder Cups is that Team America can never foster the same spirit of togetherness as the Europeans.

And that lack of genuine, or forced, camaraderie is the 'X' Factor which explains why Europe have won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups despite almost always having the inferior side on paper.

At the heart of the team spirit argument this year is Bryson DeChambeau.

It's been a rough road for golf's biggest hitter in recent months.

While some have felt his spat with Brooks Koepka has bordered on bullying - DeChambeau being on the receiving end - Bryson has seemingly, if unwittingly, done his best to throw away any sympathy with a series of petulant and socially awkward responses.

In the build-up to this Ryder Cup, tensions in the American camp caused by the DeChambeau/Koepka pantomime were viewed as perhaps the only reason that could stop them winning back the trophy.

Predictably, there is a thirst to find out if the feud has thawed or still lingers and DeChambeau's press conference on Tuesday picked at the sore.

The idea that DeChambeau is an awkward fit for a team environment could be batted away to some extent if he had a proven record in the Ryder/Presidents Cup.

Unfortunately, he hasn't.

DeChambeau at Ryder Cup 2018

DeChambeau made his Ryder Cup debut in 2018 after being given a wildcard.

It proved to be a disaster.

After sitting out the morning fourballs, he was paired with Phil Mickelson for the afternoon foursomes and suffered a 5&4 thrashing to Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren.

It was the same story on day two, another 5&4 foursomes defeat but this time in tandem with Tiger Woods.

In the singles, he went out in the bottom match, losing to Noren on the final hole.

2018 record: P3 W0 L3 H0 Pts 0

DeChambeau at the 2019 Presidents Cup

Bryson qualified in 8th place for Tiger's team in Melbourne.

After sitting out the fourballs in Paris, he was given the nod in that format on Thursday morning.

The result was the same though: another loss, this time a 2&1 defeat alongside Tony Finau at the hands of Byeong-Hun An and Adam Scott.

DeChambeau was left out of the next three sessions, finally appearing again in Sunday's singles where he halved his match with Canada's Adam Hadwin.

2019 record: P2 W0 L1 H1 Pts 0.5

Record as a pro in team events

DeChambeau has yet to win a match in his two appearances for Team USA as a pro.

He's lost four and halved one, suffering defeat in all three matches he's played in a partnership.

A big part of the problem is who do you play him with?

So far, the Californian has been paired with Woods, Mickelson and Finau. He's suffered defeat alongside all three.

For all his talent, that lack of a natural partner makes him a problem child for an American skipper.

Can he change the script in 2021?

Looking at the odds, DeChambeau is sixth favourite (out of 12) to be top US points scorer.

That suggests there's a feeling he could still have a big impact this week and punters are willing to take a chance.

One key will be trying to defuse the row with DeChambeau so are there signs of it being addressed?

The official USA Ryder Cup twitter account made a move by releasing a short video of Bryson and Brooks having a brief chat on the tee in Tuesday's practice round.

Powerful stuff. Said no-one.

Bryson also dealt with the Brooks question in his press conference and teased us with a possible future development between the two.

He later told the Golf Channel it would be "incredibly exciting" and would happen this year.

For the record, he practised on Tuesday with Scottie SchefflerJustin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

On his first home team event

"It's going to be fun. Every team event I've played in, it's been out of the States.

"Being here for the first time, I guess you could say, is an exciting opportunity. It's going to be fun to see what we can do and rile up the crowd in the right way and get us behind our backs and moving us in the direction we all want to be in, which is taking home that Cup."

On losing to Daniel Berger... at table tennis

"Nice. Way to go, Daniel, whoever leaked that.

"I lost in ping-pong, which kind of stinks, to Daniel. He beat me. There are obviously excuses I could make, but I won't. I'm pretty sour about it. I'm going to get him back.

On whether he's as good a fit for foursomes as fourballs

"I'd say first off I feel like I'm a player that can adapt to anything if I have to, and I feel like there are certain players on our team that can mesh really, really well with my game, and you guys could probably figure that out.

"But there are certain players that will be a nice fit to the puzzle, if you would like to say that. I could comfortably say that I have no issue playing either format. I think best ball has its benefits to my style of play, and alternate-shot with the right person can be pretty deadly."

On whether abuse/teasing from fans has hurt him

"I mean, no matter what, we're all humans at the end of the day, and I think there's obviously a level of, I guess you could say, control that any human will ever have, and you can have a lot of armour and you can protect yourself with people around you and all that.

"Sure, there are times where it's not comfortable, but there's also times where it fuels me. I think this week is going to be an amazing example of it, and it's going to be fun to be able to have the crowd behind us and pump them up and show them what I can hopefully do and what we can do as a team more importantly.

"I'm not going to make this about me again. This is about a team event. I've got a brass chest. I've taken a lot of heat. But I'm okay with it, and I understand I'm in the place where I'm at, and it's going to be that way moving forward.

"I recognize it and all I'm going to do is my absolute best to show people who I truly am, and whatever people think about me is not important. It's about the team this week. It's about riling us all up and getting that Ryder Cup back here on US home soil."

On his efforts to end the feud with Koepka

"You know, again, a lot of this social media stuff has definitely been driven by a lot of external factors, not necessarily us two. We had a great -- we had some great conversations TOUR Championship week when we had dinner, and then this week, as well. I sat down and had dinner with him last night, and it was fine.

"I think there may be something fun coming up here moving forward, but won't speak too much more on that."

On a potential partnership with Scottie Scheffler

"I'll say in college, he was at Texas and we played a little bit, didn't we, just a few events. A lot of amateur tournaments. A lot of US Amateurs. We never really, I guess you could say, practised a lot together, whatnot, but we always knew how good each other were. We always worked hard."

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