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The Open at Sandwich: Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau’s ‘rivalry’ – just get it on with it, guys

Brooks Koepka speaks to the media at Sandwich.
Brooks Koepka speaks to the media at Sandwich.

Golf’s chuckle brothers really need to just play each other straight up and be done with it.

Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau’s ‘rivalry’ is becoming ever more tiresome. We in the media are at fault for keeping bringing it up, but the ‘banter’ is tepid now.

Instead of bringing it to a natural end by, you know, them actually playing head-to-head, it’s being avoided.

Here at Sandwich was another chance to pitch them in the same grouping and see them get it on. Okay, the R&A were unlikely to ever do something quite so unseemly. But they’d be doing us all a service and they’re all about what’s good for the game, are they not?

Endless and tedious banter

Unfortunately, we’re left with something like boxing’s preview press conference trash-talking sessions, but one that goes on endlessly and tediously without an actual fight at the end of it.

They were far more entertaining speaking about themselves than about each other yesterday. DeChambeau got really carried away at one point, describing his YouTube videos (yes, really) as if they were some kind of religious artefact.

“I really think I’m a great person and a really good person to be around, a kind person to be around,” he said earnestly. “I’ve done a lot on social media, done a lot of YouTube series to showcase myself in a different light because I want people to see that side.

“I think there’s a lot of greatness to that and also humbleness to that, as well. Showcasing that I am human and I did start pretty much from nothing.”

Yes, he really did say that. Despite appearances to the contrary in hanging his body shape so radically and all the super-sciency stuff, I think we do still realise that Bryson is a human being.

Bryson tactically unsure

Bryson DeChambeau on the fourth tee at Sandwich.

Anyway much more interesting is whether his often reckless style will be punished as it was at Torrey Pines. He doesn’t seem quite sure whether to take on the high hay abounding Royal St George’s.

“The thing is you can’t miss it out here very often. If you do you’re in the hay and it’s not easy to get out of.

“This is the first time I’ve taken my length to links golf. We’ll see how that plays. Maybe it plays out week; maybe it doesn’t. I’ll keep trying to figure it out.”

Koepka has a fond memory of St George’s in that he came as a 10-year-old in 2003.

“Yeah we actually came here, watched Ben (Curtis) win,” he said.

“We’d just to come over here and play St. Andrews, Carnoustie, come watch I think the final round of The Open – me, my mom and my little brother, we just got to play links golf. I thought it was so much fun. That’s kind of when I fell in love with it.

“On the last day Tiger was playing on 13 and my brother had said something and Tiger said something back to him, and we thought it was the coolest thing at the time. It was a cool family trip.”

Not among Koepka’s favourites

Those memories apart, he’s not that enamoured of it now 18 years on as a player.

“It’s not my favourite venue that we’ve played,” he said. “I think Portrush and St. Andrews are definitely my favourites.

“There’s quite a few blind tee shots, kind of hitting to nothing. I’m not too big a fan of that. Fairways are quite undulating. I don’t know, it’s not my favourite of the rotation, put it that way.

“I’ve won on golf courses that I’m not a big fan of before. I don’t care whether I like the place, don’t like it. You’ve still got to play good and go hit the shots.”

As for the rivalry, well, there was a large element of tedious “he started it, no, he started it.” Both of them said they’d put it aside at the Ryder Cup.

“I’m pretty sure we’re not going to be paired together; put it that way. I think it’s kind of obvious,” said Koepka. “We’re not going to be high-fiving and having late-night conversations.”

But what about Sunday? Get this over with, in the way it should be?

“Yeah, I would enjoy it,” said Koepka. “I’ll be close to the final group come Sunday. I always feel like I play well in the big events, the majors.

“I think it would mean a lot more people tuning in, with everything that’s gone on.”

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