As the Ryder Cup kicks off on Friday, golf fans around the world will be praying for the USA team to team up Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.
That’s because they share the sport’s most wonderfully petty rivalry, which has been the gift that continues to give in recent months.
From that swear words at the PGA Championship to Koepka offering fans free beer to troll DeChambeau, with some back and forth on Twitter between the two, the feud has been one of golf’s biggest stories this year. .
And that should reach a climax this week when the duo join forces to take on Team Europe at Whistling Straits in the Ryder Cup.
It was bubbling beneath the surface for a while, but we’ll start with the leaked Golf Channel interview in May, which did indeed get the ball rolling.
As DeChambeau walks behind, Koepka’s eye draws his fellow golfer back to California, admits he lost his train of thought over “those bulls ***”, before muttering “f ***** * Christ “in his beard.
Some reports suggest that DeChambeau advised Koepka to start the putts on the correct line, as he complained about the greens on Kiawah Island, but after turning and watching it over a hundred times (for reasons purely journalistic), we never really heard that.
And in keeping with what is a gloriously petty rivalry, we consider it more likely that Koepka challenged DeChambeau’s metal spikes.
While most golfers around the world have converted to soft tips, DeChambeau still wears metal, in one of the many major consensuses.
Either Koepka was irritated because the metal spikes can damage putting lines, even though new rules allow players to mend, or simply because DeChambeau’s shoes made a crazy noise as he tried to speak.
But like all great rivalries – Manchester United and Liverpool, England and Germany, Jake Paul and Tommy Fury – there’s more to it.
Played through a series of trivial public episodes, this is a feud rooted in a clash between two completely opposite personalities.
You have Brooks “why is everyone fussing about hitting the ball” Koepka vs. Bryson “wait a minute while I dip that ball in Epsom salt” DeChambeau.
They represent two different games: both based largely on power, but one brutally simple, and the other a complicated scientific equation.
In fact, it all started in 2019 when Koepka described DeChambeau’s pace of play as “embarrassing” after it took him over three minutes to hit a medium corner kick.
The pair actually had “cool-looking” talks at the tournament, which the internet interpreted as a “come and tell me this to my face” moment.
And while we’re joking about a fight, they’ve actually been asked about the possibility before.
Then speaking on Pat Perez and Michael Collins’ SiriusXM PGA Tour radio show, they both laughed about it.
“People acted like you were all going to fight,” Collins said.
“Let’s be honest, we know who would win this fight and it’s not me,” DeChambeau said. “Let me tell you right now he would kick my ass.” “
“We know that,” Perez said.
“He’s right,” Koepka joked.
It’s true. DeChambeau weighs about the same as heavyweight king Anthony Joshua, hits the golf ball as hard as anyone, but is still a nerd at heart.
Anyone who has been through an interview with Koepka will tell you that he is the alpha male of the alpha males.
Nonetheless, DeChambeau attempted to tear his rival’s physique apart when Koepka appeared on the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue in January 2020.
“In the Body Issue, he didn’t have abs, to be honest. I have abs, ”he said sarcastically as he streamed a video game live over the Internet.
And Koepka, the four-time major winner, hit back, flexing his silver muscles on Twitter.
I hope you get a feeling of an insignificant cold war developing between two of golf’s biggest stars, who, it must be emphasized, are adults.
Otherwise, Ant-gate in July 2020 should do the trick.
After DeChambeau gained 20 pounds during the lockdown and returned to the course looking like a bodybuilder in golf gear, Koepka made a joke about steroids when his rival argued with a cameraman in a three-way win. shots at Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Later that same month, DeChambeau’s slightly irritating attention to detail struck again when he tried to relieve himself from a fire ant colony at the St. Jude Invitational.
The next day, Koepka claimed there was an ant on her ball, much to her amusement and that of all of us watching.
Since then, it has been a series of subtle digs, clearly referencing each other but not explicitly.
DeChambeau even came by when Koepka answered questions on an Instagram Live with her finance Jena Sims last October.
“Yes there were a lot of them [questions about Bryson], I just chose not to talk about it, “he said.” If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.
Even still, there was still the feeling that it was just light fun with a little edge. Joke, if you will.
It was still like that when the last edition of The Match was announced recently, with Mickelson and Tom Brady taking on DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers.
Kopeka tweeted “Sorry Brother” to Rodgers and Mickelson jokingly suggested he should step down for Brooks.
DeChambeau told Koepka he was “living in his head rent free,” to which Brooks responded with a video of Bryson calling himself “Brooksy” and getting angry.
Then, at the memorial tournament earlier this month, when a handful of fans were kicked out for yelling “Brooksy” at DeChambeau off the tee, Koepka responded by offering them free cases of beer.
There were rumors that the USGA approached DeChambeau and asked if he wanted to be associated with Koepka at the US Open earlier this year.
Amid reports he declined, the Californian insisted he would welcome the opportunity.
He said: “We joke back and forth for fun.
“I would be okay with that, but there’s never really anything that has gone through me.
“I think over time I hope this weekend we can play against each other and compete. I think it would be fun and it would be great for the game.
Koepka agrees that the rivalry has been helpful in developing golf and promoting it to a wider audience.
“I think it’s good for the game,” Koepka said. “It brings new eyeballs. He’s been on pretty much every news channel.
“Everything you watch online has it in the headlines or it’s up there like big news. For me, it makes the game grow.
It’s odd that they were never grouped together, given that the PGA Tour just set up a $ 40 million pot called the Player Impact Fund, designed to reward players who move the metaphorical needle and attract the pay attention to online gambling.
Many believe this was an attention-grabbing move, aimed at winning a part of that Player Impact Fund, and if so, DeChambeau may regret it, with the distracting heckling now becoming an integral part of it. all round.
Even Rory McIlroy came out recently and told fans to give him a break.
Koepka, meanwhile, continues to have fun. While DeChambeau got a ton of sticks for saying his driver ‘sucked’ at the Open in July, his rival stepped out and said he ‘loved his driver’.
Given that they are both in the top ten in the world, it is surely only a matter of time before they fight for the top of a ranking, leaving officials with no other choice. than to bring them together.
Or Steve Stricker could make every golf fan’s dream come true by pairing them up with Whistling Straits for this week’s Ryder Cup.