Brooks Koepka may not play in Ryder Cup without fans

FORT WORTH, Texas -- If the Ryder Cup does not have fans when it is scheduled to be played in September, Brooks Koepka said it is possible he would not participate.

"The fans make that event," Koepka said Wednesday as he prepared for this week's Charles Schwab Challenge. "The fans make that special. If we're not playing in front of fans, it's just like us playing a game in Florida. You've got myself, Rory [McIlroy], DJ [Dustin Johnson], you've got all these guys that are living in Jupiter. It would be just like a normal game that goes on in Jupiter. And there's no fist pumping there, there's no excitement. The fans create the excitement for the Ryder Cup.

"Yeah, we're excited to play, but you see the emotion. If there's no fans out there you're not going to see guys fist pumping and that passion behind it. Yes, I love to play for my country, I love to do all these things, but it's important to have the fans there. We feed off it. The fans get louder or they'll boo you depending on what you're doing, but that's the beauty of it. The Ryder Cup is a true sporting event. It's different than any other golf tournament we play. It's a true sporting event, and I think if we can have fans, that's perfect, and if we can't, it just seems kind of like an exhibition, which it kind of already is. I just don't want to play it without fans."

The Ryder Cup is scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, a week after the rescheduled U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

Not long after Koepka's comments, McIlroy reiterated that he would prefer the Ryder Cup to be postponed until 2021 if there would be no fans present because of the coronavirus pandemic, but he does not believe he will be asked to make a decision about whether or not to play without fans.

"I think there's enough people within the game that don't want the Ryder Cup to happen without fans, that's why I sort of have this conviction that it wouldn't happen if fans wouldn't be allowed," McIlroy said. "That's sort of what I'm saying. I think there's enough people against it within the game. So that's why it's either going to be played this year with fans, if we can do that, or going to have to figure out kicking it down the road to a later date."

Koepka said he has not been approached by the PGA of America, which controls the event, about what should happen regarding playing or having fans in attendance. McIlroy said he has had conversations with officials from Europe and the United States but does not think his opinion on what should happen would play a factor.

Koepka said there would be more to go into the decision to play or not, like money that goes to the PGA of America and the European Tour, and conjured up Johnny Manziel's famous money sign celebration.

"That's the only reason," he said. "Give it a Johnny Football."