DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Brooks Koepka isn’t playing the Memorial. It just sounded like it at times Friday.
From the tee or from the fairway, Bryson DeChambeau would hit a shot only to hear someone in the crowd scream out, “Let’s go, Brooksy!”
It was a not-so-subtle reminder of the beef between the two big hitters in golf that began brewing nearly two years ago and reached an extraordinary level after the PGA Championship with leaked video footage.
The short segment, which was never aired, showed Koepka doing an interview with Golf Channel when DeChambeau walks behind him, the sound of his spikes on the pavement. Koepka rolled his eyes and said he lost his train of thought “hearing that bull——.”
The interview began anew, but that clip made its way onto Twitter. So began a back-and-forth that included DeChambeau tweeting that “it’s nice to be living rent free in your head.”
Or maybe not. The security detail following the group of DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay removed at least two groups of spectators from the tournament on Friday for referring to DeChambeau as “Brooksy.”
DeChambeau, who played 33 holes Friday in the rain-delayed tournament and had rounds of 71-72, didn’t seem to mind, at least once the round was over.
“Oh, they weren’t taunts at all. It was flattering,” he said. “I think it’s absolutely flattering what they’re doing. They can keep calling me that all day if they want to. I’ve got no issue with it.”
Koepka kept up with the needle, posting a video on Twitter after the round offering cases of Michelob Ultra (one of his sponsors) to the first 50 people who might have had a short day at the Memorial from being thrown out.
“What’s up guys! It’s Brooksy,” he says. “Hey, thank you guys for the support. I heard a bunch of you were shouting my name at the golf tournament today. I know I’m not playing, but thank you guys for showing support.”
Koepka and DeChambeau first mixed it up at The Northern Trust two years ago when Koepka was among those criticizing DeChambeau for his pace of play.
They traded jabs when Koepka was part of the “Body Issue” for ESPN The Magazine. DeChambeau joked that Koepka had no abs, and Koepka replied he was “two short of a six-pack,” offering a photo of his four major championship trophies.
Koepka also posted a steroid rage video after DeChambeau, who had added 40 pounds of muscle and mass through an intense regimen during the pandemic, yelled at a cameraman during the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
“I’ve got nothing against him. I’ve got no issues at all,” DeChambeau said. “If he wants to play that game, that’s great. I’m going to keep trying to play my best game and when it comes down to it, when somebody’s that bothered by someone else it is flattering.”
Spieth seemed amused by the the eight hours they spent on the course Friday, suggesting there were as many references to “Brooks” as “Bryson” depending on how the hole was played.
“He mentioned it to me at one point and I said, ‘All anyone wants is a reaction and you give it to them, then … it’s going to get worse.’ So it didn’t seem to bother him,” Spieth said.
Rory McIlroy missed it — he was in the group behind them — but was loving the exchange.
“I sent Brooks a message when it all came out,” McIlroy said. “I said, ‘I don’t care what happens to me for the rest of this week, this has made my week, this is like the best thing ever.’
“I think it’s good for guys to show personality and pretty sure whoever leaked it from the Golf Channel got in trouble,” McIlroy said. “There’s certainly people out here that don’t like me, I’m sure and there’s a few people out here that I don’t like.”
It was pointed out to McIlroy that no one is aware of such beefs.
“Yeah, because I don’t want it aired,” he said with a smile. “That’s life.”