Footage of Brooks Koepka showing his clear disdain for Bryson DeChambeau in a leaked interview has lit up social media this week and given golf’s latest rivalry a new lease of life.
The pair have had a fractious relationship for well over two years and have clashed over everything from slow play to how each other’s body looks and even an ant hill.
The animosity is still there and as strong as ever, it seems. It was certainly clear for all to see when their paths crossed during Koepka’s interview with the Golf Channel at the PGA Championship last week.
Brooks Koepka could not hide his disdain for fellow American Bryson DeChambeau last week
Koepka looked outraged as DeChambeau walked behind him as he gave his interview on TV
The American duo, pictured here together back in January 2020, have a fraught relationship
As DeChambeau walked behind Koepka while he was giving his on-camera assessment of his own round and his putting issues, DeChambeau said something to a member of his team – or perhaps to Koepka.
It forced Koepka to lose his concentration and, irritated, he sighed and said: ‘I f***ing lost my train of my thought hearing that bull****. F***ing christ.’
But how did their relationship come to this? Sportsmail has tracked the ups and downs of the rivalry between two of modern golf’s biggest stars.
January 2019 – Koepka calls DeChambeau’s pace of play ’embarrassing’
DeChambeau, who was a physics major at Southern Methodist University, has completely revolutionised the game of golf with his scientific brain – or that’s what he’d like to think anyway.
But his process is not the quickest and his struggle to keep up with the pace of play has often led to criticism from the rest of the field.
One of those it has irritated in the past is, you guessed it, Koepka at the 2019 Dubai Desert Classic.
Speaking on Golf Monthly’s podcast back in 2019, Koepka said: ‘I just don’t understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds, a minute and 15 to hit a golf ball; it’s not that hard.
Koepka slammed DeChambeau’s pace of play after a tournament in Dubai back in 2019 when he was considering the air density before hitting a shot
‘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.
‘If it’s blowing 30 (miles per hour) I understand taking a minute and taking some extra time with some gusts, you know changing just slightly, I get that but if it’s a calm day there’s no excuse. Guys are already so slow it’s kind of embarrassing.’
DeChambeau hit back though and insisted he was simply maximising the time he is allowed to take over a shot.
He said: ‘It’s actually quite impressive that we’re able to get all that stuff done in 45 seconds; people don’t realise that it’s very difficult to do everything we do in 45 seconds.
‘I think that anybody that has issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do.’
August 2019 – An uneasy truce
DeChambeau didn’t take Koepka’s comments on board because just a few months later a video of him taking three minutes to hit a shot to the green at the Northern Trust tournament went viral.
The very next shot, DeChambeau then took a further two minutes to line up his putt before missing by quite a distance from eight feet, which caused outrage among his fellow pros.
A number of them, including Ian Poulter and even Justin Thomas – who was playing with DeChambeau that day – aired their frustrations on social media.
Poulter wrote: ‘There are a few players that continually disrespect their fellow pro’s and continue to break the rules without a conscience. It should be self policed but clearly this won’t happen.. so disappointing it hasn’t been stopped.’
Eddie Pepperell added: ‘Just look at Tommy (Fleetwood) and Justin (Thomas), both looking completely bored. Slow players do this to their playing partners making the game less enjoyable. Problem is, the unaffected single minded twit in this instance, doesn’t care much for others.’
A few days after the Northern Trust, DeChambeau asked Koepka’s caddie Ricky Elliot if he could organise a chat so they could clear the air before their final round tee-times.
‘It was actually fantastic. I appreciate what Brooks did,’ DeChambeau said after his round.
‘I have high respect for him because he did that.’
Koepka wasn’t so delighted with the talks, replying: ‘It was fine. No issues.’
The pair held peace talks at The Northern Trust just weeks later after DeChambeau was criticised again for slow play, and DeChambeau conceded Koepka would win in a fight
They both appeared on a radio show 48 hours later amid reports that their secretive talks were about something more serious.
But they quashed those rumours before DeChambeau did not hesitate in admitting Koepka would win if they ever come to blows.
‘Let’s be honest, we know who would win that fight and it’s not me,’ he said. ‘Let me tell you right now he’d kick my ass.’
‘He’s got that right,’ Koepka agreed.
January 2020 – DeChambeau mocks Koepka’s magazine cover
Things quietened down between the pair for a few months before DeChambeau stoked the fire once again with some disrespectful comments about Koepka’s appearance.
It was at this time that DeChambeau had started to work on his body and underwent a huge transformation that has added enormous power to his game.
DeChambeau added three stone of muscle during the first Covid-19 lockdown and now tips the scales at 17st, going from a M shirt size to an XL and earning him a new nickname: ‘The Incredible Bulk’.
The extra weight transformed DeChambeau into golf’s longest hitter, and it bore fruit when he won his first Major championship, the US Open last summer.
But at the start of his transformation, DeChambeau took a dig at Koepka’s physique after his naked appearance on the front cover of ESPN Magazine ‘The Body Issue’ over a year ago.
Speaking on a Twitch stream, DeChambeau said of his US Ryder Cup team-mate: ‘I don’t know if his genetics even make him look good, to be honest.
‘I mean, the Body Issue, he didn’t have any abs, I can tell you that. I’ve got some abs.’
Koepka controversially appeared naked on the front cover of ESPN’s The Body Issue in 2019
During a live stream on Twitch, DeChambeau mocked the cover and said Koepka had no abs
Koepka sent DeChambeau a picture of his four Major trophies after the latter mocked his abs on a magazine front cover
Not one to waste any time, Koepa replied 24 hours later with a picture of his four Major trophies and commented: ‘You were right @b_dechambeau I am 2 short of a 6 pack!’.
Koepka also hit out at his critics following some unkind remarks over his appearance in the Body Issue.
‘It’s one of those things where all these people that talk c*** and whatever on social media, they don’t have the balls to do it, and they wouldn’t look that good.
‘It was something I enjoyed. I was looking forward to it for months. It’s something I definitely don’t regret doing.
‘It’s been enjoyable to see the pictures over the last couple of months and see, I guess, all the hard work I put into it and see the results.’
July 2020 – Koepka fires the next shot
Things quietened down between the rivals during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic with no golf played during the spring.
But Koepka took the first shot this time around as the PGA Tour restarted when he commented on DeChambeau’s behaviour at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
During his third round, DeChambeau was filmed making a bad shot out of a bunker and he then went to speak to the cameraman for well over a minute.
When the PGA Tour restarted last summer, Koepka subtly suggested DeChambeau might have used steroids after his quick weight gain
He tweeted a GIF of Kenny from hit TV series Eastbound & Down when he denies his own steroid use allegations
DeChambeau appeared to be frustrated that the cameraman had continued to film him throughout the 7th hole and did not appreciate him catching his poor bunker shot and his reaction to it.
His angry outburst and the fact that he had put on so much weight during lockdown led to many making hints that he was using steroids.
Koepka, although not directly, was one of those and he tweeted a GIF of Kenny from hit TV series Eastbound & Down when he denies his own steroid use allegations.
July 2020 – Koepka strikes again over Ant-gate
Koepka had seemingly forgotten their peace talks from 12 months before and, just a month after the steroid joke, took a swipe at DeChambeau at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
DeChambeau had hit a bad shot into some trees and wanted relief from the officials because there was an ant hill near his ball.
Officials did not allow it and Koepka mocked him when he hit a drive in a similar position the next day.
After approaching his ball and lining up his next shot, Koepka said ‘there’s an ant’ to caddie Elliot.
Elliot went to have a closer inspection before Koepka joked: ‘Nah, I’m just kidding.’
DeChambeau wanted relief from an ant hill at the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational last July
Koepka mocked him a day later when he hit a drive in a similar position and joked he saw an ant
August 2020 – ‘No need to be scientific’
Koepka continued to poke fun at DeChambeau after the first round at last summer’s first Major.
When the 2020 PGA Championship got underway after being delayed by Covid-19, Koepka was one shot off the lead after an impressive start.
He took his post-round interview to have a dig at DeChambeau’s approach, insisting there is ‘no reason to be scientific’.
When asked about his attitude at the start of a round, Koepka said: ‘Just a major, I’ll get up for it, a little bit of confidence I guess.
‘At the end of the day I feel good, I’m playing good.
‘There’s no reason to be scientific with all the numbers and stuff like that on TrackMan, just go out and go play.’
At the 2020 PGA Championship Koepka aimed a dig at DeChambeau’s approach, insisting there is ‘no reason to be scientific’
October 2020 – Koepka not in the mood to congratulate his rival
Koepka missed a huge amount of golf towards the end of 2020 because of a hip issue and was not at Winged Foot to watch as DeChambeau won his first Major title.
DeChambeau obliterated the field, finishing the tournament six shots clear of his nearest rival Matthew Wolff.
But there was no congratulations coming from Koepka, who admitted weeks later that he had completely ignored the US Open.
Speaking at the CJ Cup, Koepka said: ‘Yeah I didn’t watch a shot of it. I didn’t see anything.’
Koepka insisted he had completely ignored the US Open, which was won by DeChambeau
May 2021 – THAT interview at Kiawah Island
Tensions seemed to have simmered in recent months and, to his credit, DeChambeau had remained silent on the issue with most of the barbs coming from Koepka.
That was until last week at the PGA Championship in South Carolina and Koepka’s reaction to DeChambeau’s presence in a leaked interview that has gone viral.
The pair’s paths crossed during Koepka’s interview with the Golf Channel, which was being pre-recorded and was not live on TV.
It appeared Koepka was already annoyed by DeChambeau’s presence before the interview started because he rolled his eyes at someone towards the side of the camera.
When asked about his performance, Koepka, 31, then said: ‘I just ball-struck my way around this place.
Koepka already looked annoyed that DeChambeau was stood nearby before he started talking
Koepka looked outraged as DeChambeau walked behind him as he gave his interview on TV
‘I didn’t putt well but I don’t think many guys are going to putt well in this wind. It’s very tough.
‘I don’t know what the other guys have said but I found it difficult to read sometimes…’
It is at this point of the interview that DeChambeau walked behind Koepka while apparently talking to a member of his team.
While you can’t hear what DeChambeau says, a clearly irked Koepka shut his eyes and forgot what he was saying himself, which he did not take well.
Clearly annoyed by DeChambeau, Koepka said: ‘I f***ing lost my train of my thought hearing that bull****. F***ing Christ.’
The Golf Channel reporter then joked ‘we’re going to enjoy that in the TV compound’ before Koepka said: ‘I honestly wouldn’t even care.’
It’s been claimed online that Koepka was annoyed by the sound of DeChambeau’s metal spikes as he walked along the ground.
Others have said DeChambeau muttered ‘just gotta start it on the right line’ in a derogatory reference to Koepka’s comments about struggling to putt.
It will be interesting to see whether or not DeChambeau responds in the coming days with the pair both expected to feature at The Memorial Tournament, which starts on June 3 at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
What could be fascinating is if, as expected, they both make the US team at this year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in September.
Surely US captain Steve Stricker will keep them apart? Fans will be anticipating fireworks if he does not, though.
The pair are expected to make the US Ryder Cup team in September – here both are pictured (top left) in the team line-up before the last edition in Paris in 2018, which they lost to Europe