DeChambeau calls taunts at Memorial 'flattering' thumbnail

DeChambeau calls taunts at Memorial ‘flattering’

Jun 4, 2021

  • Bob HarigESPN Senior Writer

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    • Senior golf writer for ESPN.com
    • Covered golf for more than 20 years
    • Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana University

DUBLIN, Ohio — The Bryson DeChambeau-Brooks Koepka feud continued Friday at the rain-delayed Memorial — and Koepka isn’t even here.

DeChambeau endured a good number of taunts, yells and jabs from gallery members at Muirfield Village Golf Club, leading security personnel to eject approximately 10 spectators.

The reigning U.S. Open champion was hit with numerous cries of “Go Brooks,” or “Brooksie” throughout the long day that saw him play 33 holes due to the suspended first round, most of the comments stemming from an interview of Koepka at the PGA Championship that was leaked last month.

“Oh, they weren’t taunts at all, it was flattering,” DeChambeau said after shooting even-par 72 in the second round. “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. When you look at it, to most people it’s they think it’s a distraction, but I grew up learning how to deal with that stuff and I honestly thought it was flattering.”

DeChambeau said he did not ask for anyone to be removed, that “the officers take care of that. I don’t really care.”

He also said the only time such chatter bothers him is if it occurs during his backswing.

The video of Koepka’s aborted interview following the second round of the PGA Championship two weeks ago at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina went viral the following Monday. It showed Koepka getting distracted as DeChambeau walked behind him, talking to his agent. Koepka rolled his eyes, dropped an expletive, and the interview was stopped.

The clip never aired but got out, leading to several days of discussion about it. Their feud goes back approximately two years, when Koepka called out DeChambeau for slow play. There have been a couple of other issues in the interim.

“Look, I’ve got nothing against him,” DeChambeau said of Koepka, who is not playing this week but is scheduled to play next week’s Palmetto Championship (DeChambeau is not playing that event). “I’ve got no issues at all. 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.

“He’s had stuff with other people, too. Like Rory [McIlroy] and numerous others. So that isn’t a one-off thing. It’s just the way he deals with stuff and I’m totally fine with it.”

McIlroy said he texted Koepka “when it all came out and I said, ‘I don’t care what happens to me for the rest of the week, this has made my week, this is like the best thing ever. Like it’s fine, I think it’s good for guys to show personality.”’

The issues at the course on Friday made their way to social media. In one instance, a Twitter poster suggested facetiously that it is people’s right to taunt as they please. Koepka retweeted it.

Koepka later tweeted a video in which he referred to what happened at the Memorial.

“What’s up guys, it’s Brooksie,” he said in part of the video. “Just wanted to say, ‘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 for showing support.”

Jordan Spieth, who played with DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay, said it was impossible not to hear the comments directed at DeChambeau.

“I hear a lot of stuff,” Spieth said. “I’ve had people tell me I suck to my face for a long time, so you just kind of zone everything out. But certainly, any bad hole, someone was yelling it and then any good hole people were yelling, ‘Go, Bryson’ almost louder. It was like a pseudo rivalry and he’s [Koepka] not even here.

“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. As far as pairings go, if you’re paired with Patrick [Reed], you hear some of the worst stuff from the crowd.

“The whole thing was interesting last week for sure.”