Brooks Koepka is the best big-stage golfer of his generation. There is no doubt about this. The image he’s meticulously cultivated over the past four seasons is that of the PGA Tour’s bad boy – a renegade loner, who isn’t really part of the club.
The persona was welcome at first as his flippant attitude was directed mostly at the despised media. But as his legend grew, the kid from the rough and tumble streets of West Palm Beach started trolling and taking on his fellow tour stars, including Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson, among others.
His unpopularity among tour players was first revealed when he lost the 2019 MVP award to Rory McIlroy, despite finishing 1st (PGA), 2nd (Masters), 2nd (US Open), and 4th (Open) in the season’s four majors, while also winning the CJ Cup and WGC-FedEx St Jude’s (Rory also won three titles – Players, Canadian Open, Tour Championship – while finishing 21st, 8th, 9th and MC in the majors). Anyone other than Koepka with those results is a landslide MVP choice.
His latest turf war is with Bryson DeChambeau, which started in 2019 during the FedExCup playoffs.
Coming off a regular season with second consecutive PGA Championship title, and fourth major in three seasons, Koepka was officially the big dog of the tour and cockier than ever.
At Liberty National for the Northern Trust, the opening leg of the postseason, Koepka criticized Dechambeau’s slow play to the media. Later on, DeChambeau bumped into Ricky Elliot (Koepka’s caddie), and told him to “tell your man to talk to me if he has an issue” with slow play instead of running to the media.
Koepka then confronted DeChambeau on the practice putting green and the two spoke.
“Ricky told me when I came out, hit a few putts, and then just walked right over to him, we had a conversation,” said Koepka on Tuesday at Royal St George’s.
“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.”
Bryson goes after Brooks’ physique!! pic.twitter.com/NSugaoCs1h
— Eric Patterson (@EPatGolf) January 15, 2020
The Palm Beach gangster was referencing a video released 18 months ago where DeChambeau joked about Koepka’s lack of abs when he posed nude in ESPN magazine.
He added, “He didn’t hold up his end of the bargain and I didn’t like that, so I’ll take my shots.”
Koepka sounds like an absolute lunatic talking like this over a joke about his abs. (It reminds me of the time former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez went up to Wes Welker and threatened him for being “disrespected” over a joke.)
Here he is talking about a week-long truce with DeChambeau during the Ryder Cup.