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Brooks vs. Bryson

U.S. Open 2021: Did Bryson DeChambeau really turn down a pairing with Brooks Koepka?

June 15, 2021

Ezra Shaw

In the time between last month’s PGA Championship and this week’s U.S. Open, the feud between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka—which was re-ignited by a rogue, viral video—has dominated our sport’s discourse. Who’s side are you on? Is it good for the game? And, perhaps most saliently: Should they be paired together at the U.S. Open?

It’s a fair question, given the USGA’s history of cheeky pairings for the opening rounds of its marquee championship. The last time the U.S. Open was at Torrey Pines, the powers that be grouped the top three players in the world—Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott—in a precursor to the modern “supergroup.” They’ve lumped together small guys and big guys (literally), U.S. Amateur champions and guys with long last names … you get the picture.

And while there’s been some concern—given the antics at the Memorial Tournament, when fans repeatedly referred to Bryson as “Brooksy”—that having the two men play together on Thursday and Friday at Torrey Pines would devolve into a fracas, allegedly the USGA actually considered the possibility. At least, according to Brad Faxon.

Faxon, an eight-time PGA Tour winner who worked as a broadcaster when Fox held the U.S. Open rights, was discussing the possibility of a Brooks-Bryson pairing in an appearance on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio.

“I found out last night that the USGA actually did call Bryson DeChambeau and his agent, and asked them if they would be okay with that, and Bryson declined.”

DeChambeau's agent, Brett Falkoff, denied Faxon's accounting.

"The USGA did not reach out to Bryson regarding a potential pairing the first two rounds with Brooks Koepka," Falkoff told Golfweek. "Bryson is fully focused on defending the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines this week."

Golf Digest has requested comment from the USGA.

While DeChambeau initially stoked the flames with Koepka on social media, he has since tried to distance himself from the back-and-forth. After Koepka released a video promising free beer to fans who’d been ejected from the Memorial, DeChambeau was asked about where this kerfuffle is headed.

“I think that’s something the tour needs to handle; it’s something I can’t control,” the World No. 5 said. “I tried to take the high road numerous times, and I think that, from my perspective, I’ll continue to keep doing so and people are going to do what they want to do.”

If Faxon’s suggestion is not accurate, as Falkoff suggests, it wouldn't be the first time he reported information regarding Koepka that was subsequently disproven. Back in March, also on PGA Tour radio, Faxon offered some insight on Koepka’s knee injury.

“There was rumors around here, the Honda Classic was last week where I live, I was on the range with caddies and talking, and I have instructor friends, I think this injury is way more serious than Koepka’s letting on. I’ve heard, you know, patella injury, post collateral ligament, PCL. I’ve dealt with multiple ACL injuries, and I’ve heard rumors he’s out for six to eight months. So I don’t think the Masters has a chance.”

Koepka did indeed play in the Masters, missing the cut just a month after undergoing surgery to repair the medial patellofemoral ligament in his right knee. A month later, he finished tied for second at the PGA Championship.

MORE U.S. OPEN 2021 STORIES FROM GOLF DIGEST:
U.S. Open 101—Everything you need to know about this year at Torrey