Sports McIlroy admits Koepka's rivalry comments 'did fire me up a bit'

20:00  05 november  2019
20:00  05 november  2019 Source:   thescore.com

Golf-McIlroy shrugs off Koepka verbal jab

  Golf-McIlroy shrugs off Koepka verbal jab GOLF-JAPAN/:Golf-McIlroy shrugs off Koepka verbal jabCHIBA, Japan, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy has shrugged off a verbal jab from world number one Brooks Koepka, damping down talk of a special rivalry between the pair given the depth of talent at the top of the rankings.

Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka are posing for a picture© Keyur Khamar / PGA TOUR / Getty

Instead of responding to comments from the No. 1 player in the world, Rory McIlroy has been letting his game do the talking.

"His remarks did fire me up a bit," McIlroy said of Brooks Koepka, according to Global Golf Post's Lewine Mair. "But hey, we're out here for a long time and Brooks and I get on well. There was no point in retaliating to a Koepka comment, which just might, like one of my own, have slipped out unthinkingly. We all do it."

Three weeks ago at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka shut down the idea of his rivalry with McIlroy despite the latter ranking No. 2 in the world.

"I've been out here for what, five years. Rory hasn't won a major since I've been on the PGA Tour. So I just don't view it as a rivalry," Koepka said at the time.

Koepka replaced by Fowler at Presidents Cup due to knee injury

  Koepka replaced by Fowler at Presidents Cup due to knee injury Brooks Koepka will not participate in the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia, as the top-ranked golfer in the world has pulled out due to a knee injury, the PGA Tour announced Wednesday. U.S. captain Tiger Woods acted quickly in naming Rickie Fowler as Koepka's replacement for the team event. Koepka also withdrew from the CJ Cup in October after 36 holes. The 29-year-slipped on wet concrete, aggravating a previous injury to his left knee. Koepka had stem cell treatment on his left knee during the offseason.Even without Koepka, Team USA features six of the top 11 players in the world golf rankings.The tournament is set to begin on Dec. 9 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

Since then, McIlroy has won the WGC-HSBC Champions, finished in a tie for third at the Zozo Championship, and drastically narrowed the gap on Koepka in the Official World Golf Ranking.

"I'm trying to (chase down Koepka)," McIlroy told reporters after his fourth win of 2019.

This is the second time McIlroy has taken the high road instead of clapping back at Koepka. He was also asked for his thoughts on the topic during The Challenge: Japan Skins.

"What Brooks said wasn't wrong," McIlroy said in Japan. "He's been the best player in the world for the last couple of years, (won) four majors. I don't think he had to remind I haven't had one in a while. I love Brooks, he's a great guy (and) obviously super competitive like we all are."

McIlroy and Koepka have both earned four career majors. McIlroy collected all of his prior to 2015 when Koepka first started playing full time on the PGA Tour.

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