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Brooks-Bryson Feud Good For the Game?

Koepka vs. DeChambeau: One writer says it's all harmless; the other argues it's downright useless.
Hawk and Purk Podcast

Longtime golf journalists John Hawkins and Mike Purkey, who co-host the Hawk & Purk podcast, also discuss and debate the game’s hottest issues in this weekly commentary.

Is the Brooks Koepka-Bryson DeChambeau feud “good for the game,” as Koepka suggested during U.S. Open week?

Hawk’s Take: Two superstars waging a mock war in a thinly veiled attempt to ratchet up interest and earn a bigger slice of the PGA Tour’s $40 million social-media pie made public two months ago? It’s silly. Harmless. And certainly not bad for the game — only good in that it draws mainstream attention from a slightly different angle and humanizes a couple of golf’s biggest names. Phony and hokey? Sure. Detrimental? Not even a little bit.

Sort of like the WWE, quite frankly.

Koepka’s quest for his version of “respect” has taken some weird twists and turns over the last year or so. DeChambeau, meanwhile, has become a caricature of himself. This little spitball battle isn’t nearly as dangerous as Brawny Bryson’s shrugging off his final-nine collapse at Torrey Pines by saying, “It’s frustrating when it’s happening, but afterwards for me now, I don’t really care as much. I’ve already won it [a U.S. Open].”

Such perspective is the type of faulty rationalization one would expect from a third-grader, not a guy who had entered the week as the tournament’s defending champion. DeChambeau’s obvious lack of maturity has become a crucial ingredient to the spat with Koepka, who has allowed the so-called “Scientist” to get under his skin and elicit a growing number of negative responses.

It all keeps generating internet headlines, however, and as any shameless publicist will tell you, there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Purk’s Take: Enough. Whatever this is between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau says nothing, means less and has dragged on about three weeks longer than it should.

If Koepka believes this hissing contest between two alleged adults is “growing the game,” he needs lessons in golf’s essence. Golf is about attraction. Nothing’s wrong with drawing people to watch the game for whom golf doesn’t normally cross their radar. But running up the number of eyeballs to witness an ongoing snit between two of the game’s best players does no one any good. You can grow the audience for this kind of empty calories for about as long as it takes to watch a Twitter video. Then, those viewers are off to something else.

Neither is there a problem with rivalries, as long as they’re legitimate. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson didn’t like each other very much for years. There was always an unspoken tension between them but they didn’t take cheap shots at one another in public just for the purpose of ginning up attention.

Not only is this social media clickfest between Koepka and DeChambeau juvenile, it’s entirely weak. If Brooks and Bryson want a real feud, they need to binge watch some WWE. Come on, boys, throw down. The only thing these two guys need to grow is up. Hey, Brooksie, you wanna grow the game or your reputation as a tough guy? The answer is shamelessly clear.