The Loop

Golf Etiquette

The details are still rolling in from Monday’s fight at the Korn Ferry Wichita Open qualifier and they are wild

June 15, 2021

For the last month, the golf world has been completely and utterly enveloped by one thing: Brooks Koepka vs. Bryson DeChambeau. The pair’s years-long feud hit a hilarious boiling point following the PGA Championship, when footage of Koepka cursing DeChambeau’s metal spikes to hell and back leaked on Twitter. Since then the dispute has remained at a healthy simmer, with fans shouting “Brooksy!” at DeChambeau during the Memorial Tournament and Koepka pledging free Michelob Ultras to those who were removed by security for their brave sacrifice. But while the unspoken dislike has become a spoked hatred in recent weeks, Koepka and DeChambeau’s war of words has nothing on what happened between Austen Dailey and Luke Smith at the Monday qualifier for the Korn Ferry Tour Wichita Open.

Yep, that’s right. Sand Creek Station GC saw a full-bore golf brouhaha on Monday, only this time instead of two adult males from Florida duking it out on Instagram, it was a pair of prospective Korn Ferry Tour qualifiers literally duking it out. According to The Firepit Collective, who did the bulk of the early reporting on the title tilt, the Dailey and Smith’s grouping fell behind the pace of play early on Monday. By the par-3 seventh hole, tensions were running a little high. Then Dailey lost his tee shot to the left of the green. The group’s third member, Derek Fribbs, came over to help look, but Smith, a collegiate player at University of Tennessee-Martin who had his father Oliver caddieing for him, declined to help. Fribbs holed out and headed to the eighth tee box to help get the group back on track. As Dailey and the Smiths rushed over to catch up with him, Dailey mentioned that things might move faster if the Smiths also helped him to look. Boom went the dynamite, as they say.

Oliver Smith allegedly popped like a shook up Dr. Pepper, shouting at Dailey about how his poor play was dragging the group down and that his son “wasn’t here to look for balls.” As Dailey turned away from the confrontation to walk to the tee, Luke Smith reportedly jumped Dailey from behind and the haymakers flowed like fine wine. Fribbs ran back to break up the fight, but was reportedly held off by Oliver waving a putter in his face, the international symbol for “this ain’t your fight, kiddo.” The pro shop was eventually called to break up the fracas. When they arrived, they asked Dailey if he would like to press charges.

“Absolutely,” he said.

Both players were then transported back to the clubhouse, presumably in separate carts, and Smith, who also reportedly failed to replace the flagstick throughout his round, was placed under arrest (but not for the flagstick thing). The Korn Ferry Tour was quickly made aware of the incident and gave the following statement to Golfweek on Monday:

“The Korn Ferry Tour is aware of the incident that occurred at today’s qualifier in Newton, Kansas. The individuals involved are not current Korn Ferry Tour members. We are in the process of gathering more details and have no further comment at this time.”

As for Fribbs? Well, if you want to make the big show, you first have to qualify for the medium show, which means the little show must go on. After the fight, he was joined by a PGA Section official so he could finish his round, which was interrupted further on the 10th hole when local police came out to take a statement. Amidst all the chaos, Fribbs shot a seven-over 79. Needless to say, if you’re looking for the victim in all this, it’s him. Apparently nice guys really do finish last.