A timeline of Brooks Koepka vs. Bryson DeChambeau: How it started, how it’s going
In case you missed it, two of the world’s most visible and popular players, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, have been publicly airing their grievances against one another for what seems like forever. In reality, they’ve been trading barbs for nearly three years.
Depending on who you talk to, their behavior has been characterized as either a bitter rivalry between intense competitors or a manufactured PIP-fueled feud designed to garner engagement on social media.
Regardless of what’s driving the beef, it’s becoming difficult to keep every wrinkle straight. Here’s a comprehensive timeline of how the whole thing started and where we are now. Check back often — we’ll be updating as needed!
January 2019: A slow-play complaint
Like most golfers, Koepka finds slow play irritating. In January 2019, Koepka was vocal about his disdain for slow play on Tour.
“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,” Koepka said at the 2019 Saudi International. “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.”
Koepka’s comments were in response to a question about a viral European Tour tweet that showed DeChambeau taking what appeared to be a prolonged time on his club selection at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
At the Saudi International, DeChambeau defended his process: “Trust me, we do our due diligence to speed up and do our best,” he said. “We’re not trying to slow anyone down. I’m not trying to slow anyone down. It’s just a part of the process, and unfortunately the Rules of Golf allow for a certain amount of time, and we’re used it to our fullest potential.”
August 2019: Things escalate
Criticism of DeChambeau’s pace of play reached fever pitch at the 2019 Northern Trust, when videos of his lengthy pre-shot routine made the rounds on social media. Tournament broadcasters joined a chorus of voices expressing their frustration, and fellow Tour pro Eddie Pepperell called DeChambeau out on Twitter.
After finishing his third round at the Northern Trust, DeChambeau vented that he felt unfairly targeted and that none of his critics talked to him in person. “It’s really kind of unfortunate the way it’s perceived because there’s a lot of other guys that take a lot of time,” he said. “They don’t talk about this matter and for me personally, it is an attack and it is something that is not me whatsoever. People don’t realize the harm that they are doing to the individuals.”
DeChambeau and Koepka’s final-round tee times were 20 minutes apart at the Northern Trust, with DeChambeau teeing off ahead of Koepka. Golfweek‘s Eamon Lynch reported that DeChambeau told Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott, that Koepka should speak to him face-to-face about any pace-of-play issues, and Koepka did eventually speak to DeChambeau before the round.
Both Koepka and DeChambeau spoke about the chat after their rounds.
“It’s not just him. I know he feels singled out, especially when I’m speaking about it,” Koepka said. “But it’s like I told him, I’ve mentioned his name once, and that’s it. There’s so many guys out here where it’s become an issue, and obviously him being probably the best player that’s relatively slow right now, he’s going to be on TV a lot more, so you’re going to catch a lot more of those type of instances.”
DeChambeau was more effusive in his post-chat analysis. “It was actually fantastic; I appreciate what Brooks did,” he said. “I have high respect for him because he did that. There was one instance he said in Abu Dhabi, and he said, ‘Yeah, I said something about that, but it was in general and got blown out of proportion.’ It was great. I said, ‘I think we got to start internally so we don’t have these issues come out in public and it creates a bad image for the PGA Tour. We never want that. So it was great. We had a great conversation, and have a new level of respect for him.”
August 2019: The public reconciliation
It appears that all was well — perhaps even friendly? — after Koepka and DeChambeau buried the hatchet on DeChambeau’s pace of play at the Northern Trust. They even took things a step further by appearing on on a SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio segment together. When host Michael Collins quipped that there was speculation that the two might fight, DeChambeau defused the idea with humor.
“Let’s be honest, we know who would win that fight and it’s not me,” DeChambeau said. “Let me tell you right now — he’d kick my ass.”
Then Koepka chimed in: “You’ve got that right.”
January 2020: The abs jab
The cease-fire didn’t last, because then came the ESPN Body Issue, in which Koepka appeared in the buck.
During an unfiltered appearance on his Fortnite Twitch stream, DeChambeau took a shot at Koepka’s photos.
“I don’t think his genetics even make him look good,” DeChambeau said. “Did you see the Body Issue? He didn’t have any abs. I have abs.”
January 2020: Koepka’s response
Koepka cheekily responded to DeChambeau’s jab with a textbook flex of his own: I may not have abs, but I have more majors than you.
July 2020: The ants episode
At last year’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, DeChambeau made headlines when he requested relief from what he thought might be an anthill on TPC Southwind’s seventh hole, and was denied. He went on to make double-bogey.
The next day, Koepka hit his drive in a similar spot. After taking a couple of practice swings, he pointed to a spot on the ground with his club.
“There’s an ant,” Koepka said to his caddie.
“No, I’m just kidding,” Koepka said after his caddie stepped in to look.
And the burn saga continued.
May 2021: The leaked video seen ’round the world
All was quiet on the Koepka/DeChambeau feud front until May, when the peaceful facade came crashing down. In case you missed it, here’s the gist: Brooks Koepka was being interviewed by Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis after the second round of the 2021 PGA Championship. Mid-interview, Bryson DeChambeau and his caddie walk by, behind Koepka, on their way to the scoring area, and DeChambeau says something inaudible to his caddie. Koepka is visibly annoyed, complete with a huge eye-roll and expletives. “I lost my train of thought,” he said, and Lewis suggests a re-take.
The clip was obviously meant for the cutting-room floor, but it leaked, and was viewed millions of times before being removed. Alas, the damage was already done, and Brooks vs. Bryson was on again in full force.
May 2021: The fallout
The jury is still out on what exactly triggered Koepka’s reaction in the video, but many speculated that it was the sound of DeChambeau’s metal spikes on the cart path. DeChambeau himself commented “You know you can fix spike marks now,” with a laughing emoji on Instagram under a clip of the video.
Right around the time the video leaked came news that DeChambeau would be a co-headliner in the next iteration of The Match. DeChambeau will be paired with Aaron Rodgers while Phil Mickelson will team up with Tom Brady for a round in Montana on July 6. When the news broke, Koepka set off a tit-for-tat tweet fest with his jab:
To which DeChambeau responded, “It’s nice to be living rent free [sic] in your head!”
Then Koepka came back with this:
“Enough is enough,” DeChambeau told GOLF.com via text. If only!
June 2021: The fans get involved
That “Brooksy” video shared by Koepka turned out to be catnip for fans looking to rankle DeChambeau. At his next PGA Tour outing at the Memorial, three fans were removed for taunting DeChambeau with his rival’s nickname.
But after the round, DeChambeau insisted the chants didn’t bother him. “Oh, they weren’t taunts at all, it was flattering. I think it’s absolutely flattering what they’re doing,” he said. “They can keep calling me that all day if they want to, I’ve got no issue with it.”
Though Koepka wasn’t even playing the Memorial, he capitalized on the kerfuffle by offering free Michelob Ultra (one of his sponsors) to anyone whose time was “cut short” at the Memorial.
Bryson’s response? “If he keeps talking about me, that’s great for the PIP fund.”
The PIP — “Player Impact Fund” awards the year’s top 10 players a bonus from a $40 million fund based on metrics like player popularity on social media.
June 2021: Koepka defends the beef
At this point, questions started swirling about what Koepka and DeChambeau’s feud was doing to the integrity and respectability of the game. Koepka was adamant that the duo’s drama was a good thing for golf.
“I’m okay with anything I do. I don’t really live with regrets,” he said. “It’s nothing I’m terribly upset about. From everybody I spoke to, it is what it is and move on. I think it’s good for the game. I really do. The fact that golf’s on pretty much every news outlet for about two weeks pretty consistently, I think that’s a good thing. It’s growing the game.”
Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker isn’t convinced.
“Yeah, it’s not making my job any easier, you know?” Stricker said of the feud. “I haven’t talked to either one of them. I will have to at some point. We’ll see where it goes from there. Hopefully, they can put their differences aside for the week, be big boys and come together as a team.”
June 2021: The U.S. Open pairing rumor
On a podcast ahead of the U.S. Open, Brad Faxon said the USGA wanted to pair DeChambeau and Koepka together for the first two rounds, but DeChambeau declined. That rumor turned out to be false, as DeChambeau, Koepka and the USGA all denied that any attempt to gain permission for a grouping had transpired.
The U.S. Open was the first tournament where both DeChambeau and Koepka were in attendance since the PGA Championship, and both of them downplayed their drama when they were asked about it in their pre-tournament press conferences.
The two ended up on opposite ends of the U.S. Open tee times draw.
June 2021: Bryson attempts levity
There was Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis with Koepka, gearing up for a post-round interview. Again, DeChambeau is walking in the background. But this time, he’s aware of the camera, and jumps up to give a wave.
“People were thinking that I was doing something at the PGA Championship. I wasn’t doing anything,” DeChambeau said after his round. “[Today] I saw the opportunity and I just had fun with it.”
Was Koepka amused? We’ll let you know if we hear anything.
June 2021: Koepka goes back to the beginning
Now more than two years in to their feud, it’s hard not to wonder if Koepka and DeChambeau even remember what started this whole thing in the first place. Well, Koepka does. In his pre-tournament press conference ahead of this week’s Travelers Championship, Kopeka was asked if he could pinpoint the genesis of his beef with DeChambeau.
“I thought it was just interesting when he walked up to my caddie and told Ricky that if I had something to say, to say it to his face,” Koepka said. “I thought that was kind of odd. Don’t walk up to my face, say it to my caddie. When we had that conversation we agreed on something and he went back on it. So, you know, if you’re going to go back on your word I don’t have much respect for that.”
July 2021: Koepka trolls DeChambeau over caddie split
July 2021: Koepka reveals new details about feud’s beginning
At his pre-tournament press conference at the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, Koepka was asked for more details about the start of his feud with DeChambeau. Back in June, Koepka said he and DeChambeau “agreed on something and he went back on it,” in their 2019 slow-play confrontation at the Northern Trust. But what it was that DeChambeau went back on remained a mystery. Koepka clarified: “We both agreed we’d leave each other out of it and wouldn’t mention each other, just kind of let it die off, wouldn’t mention each other’s names, just go about it. So then he decided I guess he was going on that little, whatever, playing video games online or whatever, and brought my name up and said a few things, so now it’s fair game.”
Kopeka is referring to DeChambeau’s “ab jab,” when DeChambeau criticized Koepka’s ESPN Body Issue photos during an Fortnite Twitch stream.
“Maybe that’s on me,” DeChambeau said in his own press conference later. “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?”
July 2021: DeChambeau’s driver dig
After posting a less-than-stellar opening round at Royal St. George’s, DeChambeau made a shocking assessment: “The driver sucks.” He then launched into a lengthy explanation of his club’s perceived shortcomings. Cobra’s response? “It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid.” (That was Cobra’s Ben Schomin, speaking to Golfweek’s David Dusek.) DeChambeau issued an apology later that night, saying “I sucked today, not my equipment.”
Never one to miss an opportunity to pile on, Koepka made sure to get a couple of digs in. First, in his post-round interview after his second round at Royal St. George’s, he made sure to add that he “drove the ball great. Love my driver.”
Then, there was this:
July – August 2021: Kopeka appears to relent
Despite the fact that DeChambeau offered Koepka plenty of fodder throughout July and August — a positive Covid test, an announcement that he’ll participate in the World Long Drive contest after the Ryder Cup, and a near-miss at the BMW Championship — Koepka refrained from any public engagement with DeChambeau. Does that mean the feud is over?
August 2021: Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker says feud is over
According to Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, Koepka and DeChambeau squashed their beef. “They assured me that the team and the country and everything else that goes into this is their [top priority],” Stricker told Sports Illustrated’s John Hawkins. “They said it’s not going to be an issue, and I believe them. I trust them. As far as I’m concerned, it’s been put to bed.”
August 2021: DeChambeau confronts a taunting fan
Even if Koepka has voluntarily taken a break from social-media pot-stirring in recent weeks, DeChambeau has continued to endure the after-effects of Koepka’s influence; namely, in the form endless “Brooksy” taunts from fans. According to an account from ESPN’s Ken Van Valkenburg, Things reached fever-pitch at the BMW Championship, when Dechambeau, in the immediate aftermath of his dramatic playoff loss to Patrick Cantlay, confronted a fan who chose to utter a “Good job, Brooksy!” at a most inopportune time.
According to Van Valkenburg, DeChambeau cursed at the fan, told him to get out, then waved security over to deal with him.
September 2021: The PGA Tour officially steps in
In a press conference ahead of the Tour Championship, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced that anyone yelling “Brooksy” — or exhibiting any behavior that doesn’t align with the Tour’s code of conduct for fans — will be subject to dismissal from tournament grounds.
“We have to be intentional about our expectations for fan behavior and I believe our fan code of conduct does that,” Monahan said. “By coming to a PGA Tour event, you’re expected to contribute to a welcoming and safe environment by refraining from and reporting any unsafe, disruptive, or harassing behavior. Comments or gestures that undermine the inclusive and welcoming nature of the game will not be tolerated, nor will any harassment of players, caddies, volunteers, officials, staff, or other spectators. Fans who breach our code of conduct are subject to expulsion from the tournament and loss of their credential or ticket.
“The barometer that we are all using is the word ‘respect,’ and to me, when you hear ‘Brooksy’ yelled or you hear any expression yelled, the question is, is that respectful or disrespectful? That has been going on for an extended period of time,” Monahan continued. “To me, at this point, it’s disrespectful, and that’s kind of behavior that we’re not going to tolerate going forward.”
September 2021: Brooks releases new merch
What does this mean?? Stay tuned!
September 2021: The Ryder Cup hug seen ’round the world
When the 2021 Ryder Cup finally rolled around at the end of September, the world finally got to bear witness to some much-anticipated Bryson/Brooks interaction. The week began with the cameras catching some impromptu chatting and smiling on the range between our guys, followed by a revelation that they had dined together — twice! — without incident. DeChambeau even hinted at “something fun” coming down the pike. Well, alrighty then!
DeChambeau and Kopeka both turned in stirring performances en route to Team USA’s 19-9 trouncing of the Europeans at Whistling Straits. And in the champagne-soaked aftermath, not only did Captain Steve Stricker reveal that the two actually wanted to play together, there was also, gloriously, this:
October 2021: Brooks vs. Bryson — IT’S HAPPENING!!!!
Well, it appears that we now know what DeChambeau meant by “something fun”!
The fifth edition of The Match will feature Brooks vs. Bryson in a 12-hole showdown in Las Vegas on the day after Thanksgiving.
Now this is what we call giving the people what they want!
November 2021: The pre-match trash-talk heats up
Koepka got the pot-stirring started in the days leading up to his big match with DeChambeau, releasing a couple of zingers in a preview chat with Phil Mickelson. Most notably:
“Playing 12 holes is nice, I mean it’s better than playing 18 holes with Bryson. Anything to spend less time with him I’m happy to do.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s that big of a rivalry [with DeChambeau]. I mean when you’ve got 4-1 [major championship tally] and the 1 was during Covid and I didn’t play? So, I don’t know how big of a rivalry that could be. When you win a major and I’m there then it might be more credible.”
“Just know that this is going to be different than any other event. He better watch out. He better watch out on the golf course and on the microphone.”
In the same pre-match interview with Phil, Bryson got his own digs in.
“I personally learned that he’s a bit more of a softie than I thought,” DeChambeau told Mickelson. “He played this hardball first off, but as I kept pushing back there was definitely some unique responses I got out of him, ones that I didn’t really expect. I thought it would be a little harder.”
DeChambeau also addressed the Brooksy taunts he’s endured throughout the season.
“And then him going out and trying to incite crowds and not having him man up and talk to me about it. Like, you know, just kind of soft-balling me, I guess you could say,” DeChambeau said. “He’s trying to go through and use social media as a platform to mess with, and, no, we’re going to settle it on the golf course.”
“It’s disgusting the way the guy has tried to knock me down. There’s no need for it in the game of golf,” DeChambeau said. “He’s just tried to knock me down at every angle, every avenue. For what reason, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because he’s jealous and wants to get a part of that PIP money from the tour. That’s probably a part of it, because it was squashed until that was announced.”
Oh yeah — and as for that touching Ryder Cup hug? Both DeChambeau and Koepka described it as “forced.”
This post will be updated as new developments in Brooks vs. Bryson unfold.