Bryson DeChambeau’s budding rivalry with Brooks Koepka has been a major talking point ahead of this week’s U.S. Open at historic Torrey Pines. The two have butted heads behind the scenes for years, though their beef has taken a more public turn of late, beginning at the PGA Championship in South Carolina, where Koepka appeared visibly annoyed by DeChambeau during a post-round interview with Golf Channel. Their feud has since escalated, with fans ruthlessly taunting DeChambeau at the Memorial Tournament (with encouragement from Koepka, who rewarded hecklers with free cases of liquid courage) and a social-media spar to boot.
Golf, dismissed by its critics as stuffy and out of touch, has waited DECADES for a rivalry of this magnitude. It’s not just that they hate each other—what elevates DeChambeau/Koepka to Shakespearean heights is that both are legitimately monster talents capable of winning any given week. DeChambeau, the reigning U.S. Open champ following his six-stroke victory at Winged Foot last fall, and Koepka, who finished runner-up to Phil Mickelson at last month’s PGA Championship, would have been a dream pairing this week at Torrey Pines. And according to Brad Faxon, the prospect of the bitter rivals playing 18 together was a real possibility.
“I found out last night the USGA actually did call Bryson DeChambeau and his agent to ask him if they would be okay [playing with Koepka],” shared Faxon during his appearance Tuesday morning on Sirius XM. “Bryson declined.” There’s still hope of DeChambeau, currently the world’s fifth-ranked player, and Koepka (10th) crossing paths in San Diego this week, though obviously it would have to wait until the weekend.
Koepka will tee off Thursday at 7:29 AM Pacific Time, beginning his opening round on the Par-4 10th hole alongside Collin Morikawa (last year’s PGA Champ at San Francisco’s Harding Park) and Justin Thomas. Meanwhile, Bryson will be joined by Tyler Strafaci and recent Masters champ Hideki Matsuyama at 1:14 PM PT. DeChambeau holds the tournament’s second-best odds on FanDuel Sportsbook (+1700 to win), though Koepka (+1800) isn’t far behind. World No. 3 Jon Rahm, who had to withdraw from the Memorial earlier this month after a positive COVID test, is the odds-on favorite at +950.
UPDATE: DeChambeau’s agent, Brett Falkoff, has refuted Faxon's claim, adamantly denying DeChambeau was ever approached about the possibility of playing with Koepka. “The USGA did not reach out to Bryson regarding a potential pairing the first two rounds with Brooks Koepka,” Falkoff insisted in a statement to Golfweek. “Bryson is fully focused on defending the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines this week."