27-year-old Bryson James Aldrich DeChambeau is undoubtedly one of the brightest young stars in the golfing world. He already has his maiden Major in the bank after winning the U.S. Open last year to add to his eight wins on the PGA Tour.
Dechambeau’s career as both an amateur and since turning pro in April 2016, immediately after the Masters, has got off to an absolute flier, matching the achievements of some of the games all-time greats. He is only the third player after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to win the U.S. Amateur and the NCAA Division I championship in the same year and a U.S. Open win. Bryson is also only the sixth player in history to win the U.S. Open after winning the U.S. Amateur.
Renowned for his scientific and analytical approaches to the sport, the nickname ‘The Scientist’ has been assigned to DeChambeau. He became the longest driver on the PGA tour in 2020, using clubs with thicker than regular grips and irons that are all the same length.
DeChambeau’s Beef With Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau haven’t had an obvious flashpoint or incident that has turned them into enemies. Instead, their dislike for each other appears to have simmered away for years quietly in the background and has finally boiled over into the public forum.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the catalyst for their disdain for one another, but their feud has become a very compelling rivalry. The two men even went as far as to fire shots at each other on social media regarding who would win in a fight after getting into a spat regarding slow play.
Koepke poked fun at Bryson during the pandemic after he shared that he had put on 30 pounds of muscle with intense workouts during the pandemic, suggesting on Twitter steroids may have played a part.
Following the post-pandemic return to the fairways, Koepka was heard telling his caddie Rick Elliot to stop as ‘There’s an ant’, clearly poking further fun at DeChambeau, who had earlier asked for clarification on the rules after his ball settled next to a fire ant hill.
How Real is Their Dislike For Each Other?
Following an interview Koepka did recently with Golf Digest, what is slightly unclear, is how much of their rivalry is genuine dislike and how much is pageantry.
“It’s bringing new eyeballs. Like I said last week, you’ve got different—it’s pretty much been on every news channel,” Koepka said. “Pretty much everything you look at online, it’s got this in the headline, or it’s up there as a big news story. To me, that’s growing the game. You’re putting it in front of eyeballs; you’re putting it in front of people, the game of golf, who probably don’t normally look at golf, don’t play it, might get them involved. I don’t know how it’s not growing the game.”
This could indeed be a case of two golfers having a genuine hostility with each other, or it could be two men playing it up for publicity. Either way, fans of golf the world over are waiting with bated breath for the next instalment of the saga.
DeChambeau’s First Major Defense
DeChambeau defends his U.S. Open this week on the South Course at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Last year at Winged Foot, he won his first Major, coming from two strokes behind at the start of play on Sunday. He miraculously finished as the only player to end the tournament under par, six shots clear of second-place Matthew Wolff, with a three-under-par round and a six-under total for the tournament.
The win moved Bryson to fifth in the world rankings for the second time in his career.
Since then, DeChambeau has had one victory on tour. March of this year, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida, beating Lee Westwood by one shot.
Golf analysis and retired PGA player Brad Faxon said this week that the United States Golf Association had looked into the possibility of pairing DeChambeau with Koepka in the early rounds at Torrey Pines this week but that DeChambeau declined the option.
“The USGA did call Bryson DeChambeau and his agent and asked them if they would be OK with that, and Bryson declined,” Faxon said during an appearance on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio.
DeChambeau and his agent Brett Fakoff both squashed these claims, however.
DeChambeau said that he was never approached at all, stating, “I would be OK with that, but there was never really anything that went through me.”
Koepka also didn’t seem bothered about a potential pairing between the two, but like DeChambeau, claimed the suggestion of them playing together wasn’t put to him.
“I play my own game. I don’t care who I’m paired with,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me what goes on. It makes no difference to me. I’m out there trying to play my own game.”
However, golf fans the world over will be hoping to see the two rivals paired together over the weekend play once the tournament reaches its climax.