The supposed grudge match between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau took place on Friday at the Wynn Resort Golf Club in Las Vegas No punches were thrown and no referees were required. It was just 12 holes of match play and Koepka made it a short event with a 4 and 3 victory giving him bragging rights for the time being. Koepka had it over and done with before a well earned nap could be taken during the proceedings. The made for Media feud between the two ignited this past summer of some ridiculous comments, tweets and videos designed to incite the casual golf fan and fan the flames of golf fans everywhere in Kardashian like fashion. Unfortunately the material used to incite all of this stuff seemed to be manufacturered and amplified. It would have been deleted out of any soap opera script. Golf really doesn’t lend itself to this type of silly behavior and you can’t help but think that this “feud” was someone’s media creation to create tension and excitement. Serious old school golf fans will ignore this as not a part of the game. Millennial Top Golf devotees will probably revel and keep the feud going on indefinitely. To label this behavior as a feud is probably a misnomer.
DeChambeau and Koepka are clearly different types of personalities. Koepka is quiet and has an immense amount of self confidence, which is well deserved with 4 major championship trophies under his belt. He seems to be insular and private in nature and would rather let his golf clubs speak for themselves. He has a recent history of nagging injuries which may have derailed his dominance on the PGA Tour in 2021. Koepka seems uncomfortable in the limelight and opining on various matters that impact the tour or societal norms. Koepka’s game is currently in a solid place and he’s been able to play well coming back from injuries and is very competitive particularly in golf majors. Whatever opinions he might espouse are curious and really can be taken with a “ho-hum.”
DeChambeau is the exact opposite of Koepka. He is gregarious and outgoing and is expressive on the golf course. Sometimes his emotions have cost him earlier in his career but he seems to be in much better control of those emotions these days although he’s hit some pretty remarkable shots this year. DeChambeau decided to differentiate his approach to the game by adopting a complete body make over to increase distance. Hitting 8 irons 200 yards is not something the average golfer will ever become familiar with. All of his clubs from driver, wedge to putter are the same length. He attacks the golf course with relish and takes significant risk with the skill to overcome those risks most of the time and whatever happens sometimes leaves him in some very interesting locations on the golf course. DeChambeau ‘s game may be in need of some fine tuning as his approach gives him many choices as how to attack the golf hole. His performance has declined slightly since his victory at the US Open at Winged Foot in 2020. Irrespective of the feud, DeChambeau creates significant fan interest with his approach to the game. If he gets the game dialed in, he could become a dominant force in the game but we all know that this is not something that the game of golf has ever allowed a player to do.
Both of these players have too much skill to be affected by mindless banter of a feud. Their skill levels are at the highest end of the PGA leader board and both players are in the prime of their career. Both players are major champions with Koepka having a total of four. Both players are prodigious hitters of the golf with average drives of over 300 yards anchoring the PGA Tour’s premier power game.
Feuds in golf never work as a feud is designed to elicit adrenalin and emotion, which adversely impacts the rhythm of the golf swing. Real competition between players like Palmer and Nicklaus had to do with staying focussed on their own game rather than on what the other guy was going to do. There was little evidence of a feud at the 12 hole match on Friday as Koepka continued to convert putts while DeChambeau was waving his wand at the air with another miss. All that being said, Koepka was the better man on this day but on a given day, a different result can always occur in golf.
This 12 hole made for TV grudge match between Koepka and DeChambeau will be soon be forgotten-probably after this column is read. The Media will prolong the feud with some future inane comments from the participants and life will go on. Hopefully, these two guys will put an end to the nonsense and be better spokespersons for the game of golf. It’s kind of annoying and these guys continue to snipe at each other for no apparent reason other than publicity. They should be concerned about their fellow PGA competitors not each other.