Bryson DeChambeau vs. Brooks Koepka: How an internet meme helped fuel sport’s biggest rivalry

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Now it’s one of sport’s biggest rivalries and after months of expectation, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will take to the course and go head-to-head in golf’s fifth edition of “The Match” on November 26, the day after Thanksgiving.

DeChambeau and Koepka will compete over 12 holes at Wynn Golf Course, Las Vegas, with proceeds from the event going towards charity.

It’s a rivalry that’s brewed for over two years, and it all began with a dispute over slow play, and Koepka’s criticism of DeChambeau’s meticulous approach.

Koepka’s naked spread in ESPN’s Body Issue in 2019 also proved a moment of friction between the two American golfers.

Yet to win a major at that point, DeChambeau made a comment about Koepka’s physique, saying on a Fortnite Twitch stream: “In the Body Issue, he didn’t have any abs. I got some abs.”

Koepka replied with a picture of his four major trophies — two from the US Open and two from the PGA Championship — with the caption: “You were right @b_dechambeau I am 2 short of a 6 pack!”

Earlier this year, a video clip of Koepka losing his train of thought “hearing that bulls**t” as DeChambeau walked behind him in the middle of an interview at May’s PGA Championship took the feud up a notch.
Koepka rolls his eyes and loses his train of thought as DeChambeau walks behind him at the 2021 PGA Championship.

Fuel was added to the fire by NFL superstar and seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady.

The 43-year-old quarterback trolled DeChambeau upon the announcement of both of their involvements in the ‘The Match III’ — alongside Phil Mickelson and Aaron Rodgers — with a series of memes aimed at the 2020 US Open winner. That was DeChambeau’s first and so far only major win.

Fans also heckled DeChambeau at the Memorial Tournament, shouting “Brooksie” as he walked past and were reportedly being ejected from the event as a result.

In response, Koepka posted a video offering free beer for any spectators kicked out of the Memorial Tournament for heckling DeChambeau.

Although the pair seemed to bury the hatchet during the Team US press conference after winning the 43rd Ryder Cup in September, it hasn’t stopped the trolling between the pair.

DeChambeau has mocked Koepka’s poor form coming into The Match, posting a picture of his face — the one used as a meme template from earlier in the year — superimposed with his last two results, in which he missed the cut both times.

Koepka plays his shot from the seventh tee during the second round of the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.
“Looks like @BKoepka is ready for the match,” he said.

And in their pre-match press conferences, the sparks continued to fly between the two.

Koepka questioned how big the rivalry between the two players is, as well as saying: “Playing 12 holes is nice. I mean, it’s better than playing 18 holes with Bryson. So anything to spend less time around him.”

Earlier this year the PGA Tour introduced its Player Impact Program, a scheme which while seek to reward 10 players who drive the most fan and sponsorship engagement, regardless of their results on the course, through a pool $40 million.

According to Reuters, the player who is deemed most valuable could receive an $8 million reward.
DeChambeau plays his shot from the seventh tee during Saturday afternoon's Fourball Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup.

“Him going out and trying to incite crowds and not having him man up and talk to me about it. Like, you know, it’s just kind of softball on me,” said DeChambeau. “I guess you could say he’s trying to go through and use social media as a platform to, to mess with me and no, we’re going to settle on the golf course.”

Now that they are both major winners and victorious Ryder Cup teammates, it’ll be fascinating TV to see how the two fair against one another.

Earlier this year the PGA Tour introduced its Player Impact Program, a scheme which while seek to reward 10 players who drive the most fan and sponsorship engagement, regardless of their results on the course, through a pool $40 million.

According to Reuters, the player who is deemed most valuable could receive an $8 million reward.

The clash between the two US golfers will also raise money for Advocates Pro Golf Association Tour and Feeding America, as well as DeChambeau donating to Shriner’s Hospital and Koepka to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Over the four previous installments of the series, more than $30 million has been raised for various charities and initiatives.

TNT will exclusively broadcast the event, although its coverage will be simulcast on TBS, truTV and HLN.

CNN is a division of WarnerMedia, along with HBO, Warner Bros, TNT, TBS and other media assets.



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