Brooks Koepka is a tough competitor, both on and off the golf course, and has a reputation for speaking his mind and not watering down his opinion for fear of consequences. The four-time major champ is also known to get frustrated when reporters pepper him with questions about other players, instead of focusing on his own sterling game and accomplishments.
So when a reporter asked Koepka about the physical transformation of the player that has become the talk of the Tour, Bryson DeChambeau, during his pre-tournament press conference at the Travelers Championship on Tuesday, it was anyone’s guess how he would respond.
But instead of griping about the question or laying into DeChambeau (who he has tangled with before), Koepka surprised everyone by revealing what he admires most about Bryson’s game, and, in particular, the monster drives that everyone keeps talking about.
“Everybody is trying to get out here and figure out how to hit the ball straighter, further, all these different things,” Koepka said on Tuesday. “[DeChambeau} found his way. It’s working for him, and I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
But one truth about DeChambeau’s quest in particular has kept Koepka from growing bothered by his increasing distances, and the ensuing questions Koepka has had to field about them: Bryson has earned his distance gains by putting in the work.
“He’s been playing good. That’s good. Good for him. I have no problem with it. If he’s going to put the work in and go do everything, you can’t sit here and bitch and complain about him hitting it too far. He’s just taking advantage of technology,” Koepka said about DeChambeau. “He’s obviously had to put in work. I think that’s what people forget. You’ve actually got to put in the work when no one is looking, no one is watching, and he’s done that. So props to him, and he’s using it to his advantage.”
Koepka’s positive acknowledgment of DeChambeau’s hard work is somewhat surprising given the fact that the two have had a couple public kerfuffles recently. In January of 2019, Koepka called the slow play of certain players on Tour “embarrassing” after an earlier DeChambeau pace-of-play incident.
At last year’s Northern Trust, DeChambeau was roundly criticized after videos surfaced of him taking a painfully long time to hit a few shots. With Koepka set to tee off 20 minutes before him for the final round, DeChambeau took Koepka aside to discuss the issue before they began their rounds.
Back in January, in a much lighter and less tense incident, DeChambeau jokingly criticized Koepka’s ESPN Body Issue photoshoot, saying, “I don’t know if his genetics even make him look good. Did you see the Body Issue? He didn’t have any abs. I have abs.”
But Koepka got the last laugh, sharing a photo on Twitter of his four major championship trophies and writing, “You were right @b_dechambeau I am 2 short of a 6 pack!”