I truly love the media business. It’s like being back in school, when every little thing gets noticed and judged by your classmates. There’s this weird balancing act between trying to be edgy and completely safe at all times. You want to stand out and be popular, but you also don’t want your lunch money stolen. Maybe that’s why ‘shame’ and ‘fame’ are nearly the same word. It’s a fine line, indeed.
Todd Lewis is just doing his job here, but sheepishly commenting on the “no animosity/bit of fun” that Bryson DeChambeau was having by deliberately jumping in the background of the Koepka interview is weak. Golf needs drama and storylines just like everything else. Two of the titans of the modern game are getting in each other’s heads and the Golf Channel is giggling nervously. Vince McMahon would NOT be proud.
As far as this tiny rivalry between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, it’s both great for golf and panic-inducing for golf media. Journalists are laughing nervously, as if they’ve never seen two men simultaneously respect and annoy one another.
DeChambeau is obviously an eccentric guy who probably isn’t the best at parties. A little socially awkward, a little strange; he’s like the argumentative kid in class who took everything literally and had a roller backpack. Just easy pickings. But it paid off for him in a big way—he’s a multimillionaire athlete who turned his obsession into prowess. At just 27 years old with eight tour victories including a major to his name, he’s certainly got enough juice to make up for any weirdness with the ladies, even if all he wants to talk about are his Trackman numbers.
Koepka on the other hand probably exited the womb with his hands clasped behind his head asking the nurse for a Micky Ultra and a foot rub. The guy just drips easy-going apathy and effortless swagger. Every PGA tournament is basically a competition between he and Dustin Johnson to see who can walk with his chest higher from the ground. Whether it’s true or not, Koepka seems to ooze confidence, and has the game to back it up.
So it’s no surprise that when these two cross paths in the hallway that dirty glances are exchanged. And that’s all it really is; posturing, head-shaking, and some eye-rolling. Considering DeChambeau recently became the first Californian to get so beefy that he became earthquake-proof, it’s not like Brooks could give Bryson a swirlie even if he wanted to.
Neither really understands the other, and yet they are bound by this beautiful, tormenting, completely absurd game of golf. And that’s a good thing that would make a great storyline.
All real golfers know that the course is a sacred place, but not in the buttoned up Southern Baptist way that golf media would have you believe. Yes, etiquette is the backbone of the game, and yes, honor is what dictates the rules of the game. But golf is also a game of ruthlessness and authenticity. There’s swearing, head games, and boozing. There’s more shit talked on a golf course than in a Tarantino movie. That’s what makes it so much fun.
So it’s strange to see golf media do everything it can to hide the pageantry of the game in favor of the politeness. Listening to these analysts trip over themselves trying to keep this budding rivalry a lighthearted kerfuffle is more eye-rolling than Koepka’s infamous eye roll earlier this month. Koepka and DeChambeau don’t hate each other; they’re just very different people facing off in this great game we love.
Let’s embrace the sports ‘hate’ and have fun with it. Let’s stop with the fakeness and start acknowledging what people are actually like. That’s good advice for all aspects of life, but especially sports; and even more so for golf. The sooner that media stops being scared of real authenticity, the better.