How would you like to be the person who generated the awesome idea of Brooks vs. Bryson for Capital One’s The Match, Part V and watch that idea just melt into a puddle while Koepka and DeChambeau hugged it out at the end of the Sunday night Ryder Cup presser?
Two of the biggest names in golf — both reputationally and physically — will sort of have at it at Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas on Nov. 26. It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the match will be broadcast by TNT at 4 p.m. ET and — get this! — simulcast on TBS, truTV and HLN, lest the cable companies strain their capacity. Missouri and Arkansas will play college football at 3:30 that afternoon on CBS, if you need to start making plans.
This attempt at a WWE-style heavyweight bout was a bust before it was even announced. It was a bad idea when it was a good idea. It will be no more than a hit-and-giggle, except that Koepka doesn’t giggle, at least not so you’d notice.
The only thing that made this made-for-TV showdown (snicker) even palatable was a suspect-at-best, probably-made-up, fed-by-social-media feud between Koepka and DeChambeau that was about to dissolve under the patina of disinterest, anyway.
No feud, no tension. No tension, no drama. No drama, no one cares. No mas.
It’s practically a guarantee that Koepka and DeChambeau will try — probably too much — to manufacture some kind of perceived animosity between the two before and during the match. Know this: It will be as real as pro wrestling.
The players and promoters are using you, the potential viewers, deceiving you into believing that they are conducting a cage match between two golfers who despise one another. They’re not playing golf to resolve their mutual faux hate-on. It’s for money and social media traffic, nothing more.
So, what are you getting out of it? If you know all this and don’t care and you’re going to watch anyway, knock yourselves out and have fun. Except, your imagination has to be stretched out of shape to conjure up how this could possibly be worth your time, as opposed to an afternoon nap after Thanksgiving leftovers.
DeChambeau hinted at this at the Ryder Cup, saying in a press conference about “something fun” coming up involving Koepka and him. When asked at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas this week how the match came about, Koepka deflected as only he can. "You'll have to ask Bryson," he said, without further comment.
The first Match was contested at Shadow Creek in Vegas in November 2018 between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. The golf was ordinary and the trash talking, which would have been the only reason to spend the $19.95 on pay-per-view was nearly nonexistent. In fact, the paywall was a major disaster and most viewers wound up watching for free. Mickelson walked away with the $9 million winner-take-all prize.
Match 2 was in May 2020 at the Medalist in Florida and pitted Woods-Peyton Manning vs. Mickelson-Tom Brady. Mickelson and Manning dominated the microphones and $20 million was raised for COVID-19 relief.
Mickelson teamed with Charles Barkley for Match 3 against Manning and Stephen Curry at Stone Canyon Golf Club in Arizona. It was far from memorable. DeChambeau made his first appearance in Match 4 and Aaron Rodgers was his partner in Big Sky, Montana, against Mickelson and Brady. It featured the best golf and was the most fun of all the Matches to date.
This one has the real chance to be the worst Match yet. Unless something unforeseen happens — like DeChambeau and Koepka suddenly develop a personality and show it to people — no good can come of it, except that a lot of money will be raised for charity, which is always the saving grace.
But there’s one aspect about Match V that’s entirely puzzling: it’s only 12 holes. Someone needs to explain that decision and it will have a consequence, maybe unintended, maybe not.
This Match will be over quicker. Now, that’s the best idea yet.