After months of feuding, trading jabs during interviews and on social media, then seemingly making up at the Ryder Cup — there was even a bro hug! — until that unraveled earlier this week, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka are finally taking this rivalry to the golf course.
Today, in the latest installment of “The Match” series, the two are going head-to-head at Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas.
DeChambeau, who has had quite a year filled with ups and downs, entered the event as the favorite, (-137) according to Caesars Sportsbook. Koepka, who is at +110, is hoping this 12-hole grudge match might help him find his missing form.
From the play to the trash talk, we’ll have you covered from first shot to last putt.
Scoreboard: Koepka 2 up
No. 1: Par 4
And we’re off at the Wynn Golf Club, with DeChambeau passing out cupcakes for Friendsgiving on the first tee, which drew a slight grin from Koepka.
DeChambeau found trouble from the start, with his opening tee shot landing behind a small bush in the pine bark. Fortunately for him, he got a free drop because the sprinkler system was in his line of play. He knocked his second shot into the greenside bunker. Koepka’s drive also went way right in the rough, but he was able to hit the green.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 26, 2021
Koepka two-putted, and DeChambeau got up and down to tie the hole.
Result: Tie with pars.
No. 2: Par 4
DeChambeau might want to dial it back a bit. His second tee shot was even farther right than his first. Then he once again landed in a greenside bunker. Koepka hit the fairway again and took advantage with a 15-foot birdie putt to take a 1-up lead.
Mickelson correctly had the putt falling right because of the grain, and Koepka responded, “Oh, Phil, good call,” while grabbing his ball out of the cup.
While walking off the green, Koepka looked back.
“Bryson, that’s good,” he said.
It’s about to get chippy.
Result: Koepka wins with birdie
No. 3: Par 3
On the closest-to-the-pin hole for charity, Koepka’s ball ended up in the deep rough to the right, while DeChambeau’s was just about perfect, landing pin high and about 8 feet from the hole.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 26, 2021
Koepka hit a nice chip to about 2 feet.
Before DeChambeau attempted to make his birdie putt, Mickelson asked him what was going through his head. His answer was about what you would expect — a thorough, 40-second explanation.
“It’s pretty simple: It’s 11½ feet [with the uphill], 2% straight putt over here and to be honest, 10 or 11 feet straight putt,” DeChambeau said, in part.
Of course, he left the putt low and let a good opportunity go to waste.
Result: Hole tied with pars.
No. 4: Par 4
Koepka’s tee shot went way right. Mickelson said what many weekend hacks would have said.
“Aren’t paralleling fairways the best, though?” Mickelson said. “I’m a big fan of those.”
DeChambeau hit a fairway off the tee for the first time. After Mickelson bragged about DeChambeau’s wedge play, he missed his number and hit his ball over the green. Koepka’s second shot landed on the green, but he left another putt short on his birdie try.
“I would make snarky comments on that, but I’ve still got to make a par putt,” DeChambeau said.
Result: Tied with pars.
No. 5: Par 5
On the lone par 5 of the match, both players carried the fairway bunker. DeChambeau’s, though, went a lot farther. Mickelson was impressed.
“I mean, that is so attractive,” Mickelson said. “I don’t even know what to say about that.”
“Phil, you like that?” DeChambeau asked.
“I love that,” Mickelson said.
“I hit that good, man, just for you,” DeChambeau said. “Hey, I’ve still got to finish out the hole, though. It’s never guaranteed, just like the last hole. We talked about this length all of the time. It’s great, but I’ve still got to get it in the hole.”
The conversation proved to be prophetic. Koepka, who complained of missing his second shot, found the green and had an eagle look. DeChambeau’s second shot clipped a tree and came up short.
DeChambeau chipped up to about 6 feet. Koepka two-putted from about 40 feet for birdie. Then DeChambeau, inexplicably, missed his birdie putt to fall 2 holes down.
As the broadcast went to commercial, Brian Anderson, doing play-by-play on TNT, reminded it was a 12-hole match.
Koepka, because has an earpiece in and can hear Anderson, Mickelson and Barkley, grinned.
“It won’t go 12,” he said.
Result: Koepka wins hole with birdie.
Before the match
Let’s compare what the two have done:
And what they’ve done when in the same group:
Let the trash talk begin
PGA Tour officials don’t want fans taunting DeChambeau with shouts of “Brooksy” at its events, but that rule apparently doesn’t apply to Koepka. His ride for Friday’s match includes many of his favorite verbal jabs toward DeChambeau:
“2 short of a 6 pack”
“Let’s go Brooksy”
“There’s an ant”
Let the insults begin.
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) November 26, 2021
Just say ‘Brooksy’
In an otherwise mundane prematch news conference — actually, it was fans sending in questions during a livestream event — about an hour before they teed off, Koepka and DeChambeau were asked what they would whisper to their opponent if the other had a putt to win on the 12th hole.
‘”Brooksy’ seems to get to him quite a bit,” Koepka said. “He had to go to the Tour to get them to stop.”
“It’s simple: I’d just be walking on the cart path in spikes,” DeChambeau replied.
Of course, the sound of DeChambeau’s spikes were what sent Koepka’s eyes rolling during a post-round interview at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in May. Even Koepka admitted on Friday that the incident sent their beef to another level.
“The spikes drowned out the sound of his mouth,” Koepka said. “I enjoyed hearing the spikes.”
Tom Brady has thoughts
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who played with Phil Mickelson against Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning in the event a year ago, has already chimed in about his former partner, who is offering TV commentary with Charles Barkley.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) November 26, 2021