Koepka says rivalry with DeChambeau good for growing golf

Brooks Koepka, shown, and Bryson DeChambeau are leaning into their media-fueled rivalry, with Koepka saying the attention being stirred up by the feud is “good for the game.”

RIDGELAND, S.C. (AP) — Brooks Koepka insists his ongoing rivalry with fellow major champion Bryson DeChambeau is good for golf.

Koepka is at the inaugural Palmetto Championship this week, his first event since a video interview outtake at the PGA Championship last month showed the four-time major champ rolling his eyes as DeChambeau walked behind him. The clip was not supposed to be shown, yet it was posted on social media and picked up more than 10 million views before it was removed.

To Koepka, the video put the attention squarely on golf for a social media-savvy generation essential for the game’s growth.

“I get the traditionalists who don’t agree with it. I understand that, but I think to grow the game you’ve got to reach out to the younger generation,” he said Wednesday. “I don’t want to say that’s what this is, but it’s reaching out to a whole bunch of people. ... I think it’s good for the game.”

And it didn’t end at the PGA.

After DeChambeau heard heckles of “Brooksie” at the Memorial last week and a few fans were removed from the Muirfield Village site, Koepka put up a promo video offering free beer from his sponsor to those ejected.

DeChambeau this week, like Koepka, thought a “good, jesting rivalry is good for the game of golf.”

Koepka, ranked eighth in the world, explained that he felt DeChambeau was being loud as he walked past the interview site at the Ocean Course last month. DeChambeau, who is not playing this week, didn’t talk directly to Koepka as he strode past.

“He was saying something about how he hit a perfect shot and it shouldn’t have been there,” Koepka recalled. “It was just very, very loud.”

“I just lost train of thought,” he continued, “which I think was pretty obvious.”

Expect things to heat up once more when defending U.S. Open champ DeChambeau and Koepka, who won that major in 2017 and 2018, play in this year’s event next week at Torrey Pines.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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