Matthew Wolfe believes that Brooks Koepka should have taken his criticism directly rather than through the media.
Koepka is the captain of LIV Golf’s Smash GC team, and told Sports Illustrated earlier this week that he “basically gave up” on Wolff.
In a statement to SI, Wolfe responded to the remarks as “heartbreaking” and said he was grappling with general mental health challenges.
“I read SI’s interview with Captain Brooks Koepka and it was very disappointing to me. When I chose to join his team in 2023, I did so with a lot of optimism about my new home as part of Team Smash and just as important the opportunity to be around and learn from a player of Brooks’ stature.
“Like anyone who has ever played the game at the highest level, I have had competitive moments in the past where I feel like I let myself down and even others in our new team environment. This was very difficult for me. My mental health challenges on and off the golf course have been well documented. I deal with these challenges every day.”
Wolfe has had five consecutive poor performances at the LIV Championships, including a 44th-place finish last week in Spain and his withdrawal after 36 holes as he was 46th out of 48 finishers.
Koepka’s comments portrayed Wolf as guilty.
“I mean, when you quit on your tour, you give up and stuff like that, that’s not a competition,” Koepka said. “I’m not a big fan of that. You don’t work hard. It’s very difficult. It’s so hard to have such team dynamics when you have one guy that’s not working, one guy who’s not going to make an effort, who’s going to quit the course, knock clubs, get laid off, bad body language, it’s just so hard. I basically gave it up — a lot of talent, but I mean talent is wasted.”
In his statement, Wolf said Kupka’s communication through the media is not the kind of leadership he hopes for.
The statement continued, “However, while my 2023 season has not been everything I could have hoped for up until this point, I have made positive strides in managing my life and I feel like my game is shifting towards the positive.”
“Hearing from the media that our captain has abandoned me is heartbreaking. This is not what a team member is looking forward to hearing from their leader, and I think we all know that feedback should have been handled very differently.
“But I am moving forward and will never give up on myself. While in the course results may not now appear to be positive indicators, I am trying to win the biggest game of my life.”