HAVEN, Wisconsin — Concerns about discord within Team USA were centered on the rivalry between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau in the lead-up to the 43rd Ryder Cup. Despite the fact that the bros are keeping it civil this week there is plenty of tension in the U.S. squad.
It’s only coming from the swing coaches.
Swing coaches and putting coaches who work with American team members at Whistling Strits have to pay their own expenses this week. Coaches working with European players are covered. European coaches have access to the hotel and golf course team rooms, which is a privilege not afforded to American instructors. This has caused a flurry of complaints among coaches who are demanding better treatment from the PGA of America.
The American coaches pay their own airfare, hotel and food. One teacher working with a prominent U.S. player said that there was a hotel that we had to stay at to be in the bubble. It’s $350 per night after taxes. “There was even a night when the area we were supposed to eat in order to stay in the bubble was rented out. So we didn’t have a place to eat The costs for Ryder Cup week instructors are not insignificant. Three teachers told Golfweek their outlay would be between $4,000 and $5,000, but added that there’s a hidden cost of lost income from not working with other clients at home. Another instructor stated that it was an additional $5 ,000 cost for him. Another suggested, “This is a $10,000 to $20,000 week all in for a lot of guys.”
Which potentially puts instructors in the position of needing to have an awkward conversation with their players about reimbursement.
All coaches have different deals for their players,” explained one instructor. Many coaches base their percentages on the Ryder Cup’s purse. You have nothing to lose by being here if you are not on a contract for travel and billing. Even though it is expected that we would be there with the best players around the world, it’s unlikely you will ever get reimbursed. It would be an outlandish conversation to our player .”
” The situation it places us in is that we either eat the $5 ,000, or complain to our player.” he said.
Access is another area of contention in Wisconsin. Support staff for European players can access both the team rooms and instructors for U.S players can use either.
“I tried to meet my player in the back of the team rooms and couldn’t get near the building to meet him,” said one coach.
The access problem extended to the golf course as well. After several coaches complained, the PGA of America granted them access to the ropes on tournament days.
We were not allowed to enter the ropes on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This would have again broken the bubble by placing us in the crowd,” said a coach incredulously. “They corrected that one .”
A request for comment from the PGA of America wasn’t answered by publication time.
The range of issues that anger coaches caused tension between them, and the PGA of America.
At least one American player insists that instructors should be treated the same way as Europeans. They should be welcomed into the team with the appropriate access. That starts with covering their expenses.
They’re making, what $100 millions off this but can’t cover that?” The player laughed.
The player shrugged when he was asked if he believed that the instructors, which is roughly 20 people total — would have their expenses paid by the team members.
“It depends on each player whether they pay it,” said he.
This player’s instructor said that there was a simple solution to backroom dissent within Team USA. “We send our invoices to travel and hotel the same way as the European side .”
And if he sent such an invoice to PGA of America headquarters next Monday, what are the chances that it would get paid?” He said
” None. “They wouldn’t even receive it .”