Whether it's "growing the game" or not, the rivalry between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau has certainly got people talking
USGA Denies Attempting To Group Koepka And DeChambeau Together
The USGA (United States Golf Association) has refuted claims that Bryson DeChambeau turned down the opportunity to play the first two rounds of the US Open with Brooks Koepka.
The pair have become embroiled in a bizarre little spat that has grabbed the attention of fans, media members and even fellow players ahead of the year’s third major.
And to make matters worse, Brad Faxon, an eight-time PGA Tour winner in his day, yesterday reported that DeChambeau “declined” the chance to play with Koepka and 2019 winner Gary Woodland on Thursday and Friday.
It is tradition that the defending US Open champion plays with the US Amateur and Masters champions, but the USGA was apparently willing to stray from the norm in the name of entertainment.
In a clip posted by SiriusXM US Open Radio, Faxon can be heard saying: “I found out that the USGA actually did call Bryson DeChambeau and his agent, and asked them if they would be OK with that, and Bryson declined.”
You can listen to the clip below:
However, in the aftermath, Bryson, his agent, and the USGA have all denied such claims.
“The USGA did not reach out to Bryson regarding a potential pairing the first two rounds with Brooks Koepka,” DeChambeau’s agent Brett Falkoff said. “Bryson is fully focused on defending the US Open at Torrey Pines this week.”
That statement was echoed by Craig Annis, the USGA’s brand manager, who told ESPN simply that “Bryson was not asked.”
As for the players themselves, their responses came as no surprise.
Up first, DeChambeau, who had fans ejected during the Memorial for yelling “Brooksy”, attempted to make light of the situation.
He said: “I would be okay with that [playing the opening rounds with Koepka], but there was never really anything that went through me.
“I think it’s fun. There’s a point where it’s great banter. I personally love it. I hope on the weekend we can play against each other and compete. I think it would be fun and would be great for the game.”
And on the opposite side of the spectrum, the straight-talking Koepka didn’t mince his words, saying: “I was not asked about playing with Gary Woodland nor Bryson. I don’t care who I’m paired with. It doesn’t matter to me what goes on.
“I’m out there trying to play my own game. What happens inside the ropes, it won’t bother me.”
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One thing they do agree on, however, is that all the attention their rivalry is generating is good for the sport.
“I think it’s good for the game. It’s bringing new eyeballs,” Koepka reiterated. “Like I said last week, you’ve got different — it’s pretty much been on every news channel. Pretty much everything you look at online, it’s got this in the headline, or it’s up there as a big news story.
“To me, that’s growing the game. You’re putting it in front of eyeballs, you’re putting it in front of people, the game of golf, who probably don’t normally look at golf, don’t play it, might get them involved. I don’t know how it’s not growing the game.”