The new generation of rising golf stars has more friends than enemies. It’s not uncommon to see Jordan Spieth and his pals Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Smylie Kaufman on their respective Instagram Stories.
But there’s a rivalry in the rising generation, and it’s between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau. Maybe it’s more of a quarrel – call it what you want. But two of the best players on the PGA Tour had some gaiters that caught the eye. They enter the 2020 Masters with DeChambeau ranked sixth in the world and Koepka ranked 12th, and before the end of the week at Augusta National, they can be interviewed once or twice more (or in a TV deal, maybe they will meet in the same group on weekends).
Here’s a look back at the defining moments in Koepka and DeChambeau’s relationship (so far).
MORE: A Tiger Woods Story at the Masters
January 2019: Brooks Koepka complains about Bryson DeChambeau’s slow play
Golf has not been immune to the discussion of the pace of play that has made its way into a number of sports. DeChambeau is one of the slower competitors on tour, approaching every shot with a scientific process that takes longer than your average golf shot on the local course.
Koepka was asked about his thoughts on slow play shortly after this DeChambeau music video above, while speaking on the Golf’s Monthly podcast. Here’s what Koepka had to say:
“I just don’t understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds, a minute and 15 to hit a golf ball; it’s not that hard. It’s always between two clubs; there is a short miss, there is a long miss. It really drives me crazy especially when he’s a long hitter because you know you have two other guys or at least one guy hitting before you so you can do all your math; you should have your numbers. Obviously if you’re the first guy you might take an extra ten seconds, but it doesn’t take that long to hit the ball especially if it doesn’t blow 30. If it blows 30 I understand that take a minute and take a little more time with a few gusts, you know how to change slightly, I understand but if it is a calm day, there is no excuse. The guys are already so slow it’s a little embarrassing. I just don’t understand why you apply some things and not apply others.
DeChambeau had a response.
“It’s actually quite impressive that we are able to do all of this in 45 seconds; people don’t realize that it is very difficult to do everything we do in 45 seconds. I think anyone has a problem with that, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihood here, and that’s what we want to do. If we want to give you the best entertainment, it’s part of our process, or at least it’s part of my process. “
“We are trying to accelerate. Believe me, we are doing our due diligence to speed up and do our best. We are not trying to slow anyone down. I’m not trying to slow anyone down. It’s just part of the process, and unfortunately the rules of golf allow for a certain amount of time, and we (use it) to our full potential.
The PGA Tour updated their pace of play rules in January. Any player who takes more than 120 seconds to shoot will be given excessive shooting time. Officials can then impose a one-stroke penalty for the second bad weather in a tournament, and for each bad weather thereafter. Players will also be fined for such times.
The tour has put together an observation list based on ShotLink data, which tells them how long players are taking for each shot (this is not publicly available data). Then officials can choose to monitor particularly egregious individuals on a specific basis.
You can also read this entertaining article from Golf Digest to see if Koepka really has a case for DeChambeau’s shooter.
August 2019: DeChambeau admits Koepka would ‘kick my ass’ in a fight
On SiriusXM Radio, DeChambeau and Koepka were both on the same show with Michael Collins. They had recently met and talked on the practice green at a tournament, and things seemed amicable. When DeChambeau was asked about it, he put himself in his shoes.
“Let’s be honest, we know who would win this fight,” DeChambeau said of a hypothetical fight between him and Koepka. “And it’s not me.”
Koepka hammered the point: “You are right.”
DeChambeau again said “I want to go faster, without a doubt.” And then, showing his youth, he concluded his comments with this: “I would love to be done in two hours and ‘See you later.’ I would play “Fortnite” all day.
July 2020: Koepka trolls DeChambeau with a “steroid” tweet
When the PGA Tour came back from its coronavirus stoppage, DeChambeau looked as strong as ever and was hitting his records farther than any player ever in tour history. This led to questions as to whether DeChambeau’s bloat was all about protein shakes and muscle activation, as he claimed.
Koepka also stepped into the action. He opted this time for the sub-tweet approach, using a Kenny Powers GIF to troll DeChambeau.
After winning a tournament in September, DeChambeau was asked about the extra length of his game.
“I was hitting him (like) just a normal, average touring player a year ago,” DeChambeau said. “And then all of a sudden I got a lot stronger, I trained every day, I trained every day and all of a sudden – not because of the clubs, but because of me – I was able to gain 20, 25 yards. “
DeChambeau concluded with an impractical choice of wording: “You pushed me to push the needle, to move the needle, and (my supporters) will continue to inspire me.”
July 2020: Koepka jokes about DeChambeau’s ant near his bullet comment
During the first round of the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, DeChambeau struck a blow in the trees and requested landing point relief due to a red ant near his ball. The request was denied.
Koepka had obviously heard of the request, and the next day it struck a reader at a similar location. After lining up on his ball, he walked away and said to his caddy, “There’s an ant.
After a break, Koepka made it clear that he was joking. Nick Faldo said on the show: “Bryson is definitely the source of entertainment.”
May 2021: Koepka reacts to DeChambeau’s comment in an interview
Koepka, giving an interview following the second round of the 2021 PGA Championship, was apparently interrupted by DeChambeau while discussing the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, SC
Warning: Explicit language used.
It’s hard to tell from the video what DeChambeau said to elicit Koepka’s reaction. But according to responses to the original tweet from people claiming to be there, he said, “Maybe you should hit him on the right line” after Koepka said he found the course “hard to read.”
The feud between DeChambeau and Koepka spread across social media over the next 48 hours.
Koepka fired the first shot after NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers was announced as DeChambeau’s partner for “The Match” against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.
When DeChambeau replied that he was “living rent free” in Koepka’s head, Koepka shared footage of a fan calling DeChambeau “Brooksie” during a practice session for the PGA Championship.
@BKoepka It’s nice to live without rent in your head!
– Bryson DeChambeau (@b_dechambeau) May 26, 2021
The USGA is would have organize a star group for the US Open that would pair Koepka and DeChambeau with Gary Woodland, the last three winners. One can only hope.