SANDWICH, England — In Britain, they are calling the ongoing Bryson DeChambeau-Brooks Koepka row a pantomime. In the U.S., it’s called a soap opera. One thing is for certain: the feud is still producing good ratings.
Another salvo was fired on Tuesday at the 149th British Open at Royal St. George’s Golf Club when Koepka arrived in the interview room and took a swipe at what seems to be his favorite piñata.
Not long into the interview session, Koepka was asked about the Ryder Cup in less than 70 days and, more specifically, if he needs to find a way to be friendlier to DeChambeau?
“It's only a week,” Koepka said. “I mean, look, I can put it aside for business. If we're going to be on the same team, I can deal with anybody in the world for a week.”
Koepka was taking a much more adult attitude, a much different tact than at the Memorial Tournament earlier this summer. Then, Koepka was on social media promising cases of beer to anyone in the Memorial Tournament crowd who would heckle DeChambeau.
“I'm not playing with him,” Koepka continued in discussing the Ryder Cup. “I'm pretty sure we're not going to be paired together, put it that way. I think it's kind of obvious.”
What started with Koepka making a broad statement about slow play on a Golf.com podcast before the 2019 Saudi International has grown into something much larger. And it appears there is little chance of this blowing over any time soon.
“I just don’t understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds, or a minute and 15 to hit a golf ball—it’s not that hard,” said Koepka in the 2019 interview. “It’s always between two clubs: there’s a miss short, there’s a miss long. It really drives me nuts especially when it’s a long hitter because you know you’ve got two other guys or at least one guy that’s hitting before you, so you can do all your calculations, you should have your numbers. Obviously if you’re the first guy you might take 10 extra seconds, but it doesn’t take that long to hit the ball, especially if it’s not blowing 30 [mph].”
At the Northern Trust Open at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J., later that year, DeChambeau approached Ricky Elliott, Koepka’s caddie, and made clear that if his boss had a problem, Koepka should come speak to DeChambeau directly. Of course, it’s odd that DeChambeau didn’t go to Koepka directly.
According to Koepka, he and DeChambeau talked in the locker room later that week and agreed to not discuss the issue publicly or mention the other by name again.
In DeChambeau's press conference later Tuesday afternoon at Royal St. George's, he seemed to corroborate Koepka’s version.
So … ?
“He can say whatever he wants,” DeChambeau said of Koepka. “I think he said something back at Liberty National about not upholding something. I don't know what he's talking about in that regard. Maybe that's on me. Maybe I didn't. I really don't remember anything about that. We just had a conversation that I really don't know what happened, because we haven't really bantered back and forth until now, so it's like why is that happening now.”
Koepka asserts DeChambeau did not live up to his end of the bargain. According to Koepka, DeChambeau referenced the four-time major champion’s appearance in ESPN’s Body Issue while playing a video game on online. As a result, Koepka now says “it’s fair game.”
Koepka , especially if the two happened to be paired together on the weekend.
“I would enjoy it,” said Koepka of being paired together. “I'll be close to the final group come Sunday. I always feel like I play well in the big events, the majors. I think there would be a lot more people tuning in, with everything that's gone on over the last two years, something like that, three years. So yeah, I think there would be a lot of people tuning in.”
DeChambeau does not seem to agree.
“Well, I think it makes it emotionally a little more difficult to, I would say, resolve that because, in my heart of hearts, I really think I'm a great person and a really good person to be around, a kind person to be around,” DeChambeau said. “It's sometimes difficult, but at the end of the day you can just keep doing what you're doing, and I think that's why, for me, I've done a lot on social media, done a lot of YouTube series to showcase myself in a different light because I want people to see that side.”
More Morning Read Coverage of 2021 British Open:
• Gary Player Says St. George's is Easiest of Open Venues
• Unfazed Bryson DeChambeau Turns Page on Caddie Saga
• Elements of Style: What Pros Will Wear This Week at British Open
• Tee times: Did Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau Receive Lucky Draw