Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau explain impromptu discussion over slow-play controversy
Patrick Reed won The Northern Trust but slow-play controversies dominated the weekend at Liberty National.
Bryson DeChambeau was heavily criticized by his peers after a couple of videos of his deliberate methods made the rounds on social media. DeChambeau defended himself after his third round on Saturday, but he was also irked that not one pro said anything to him in person.
“If they want to talk about it to my face, I’ll gladly explain the whole situation,” DeChambeau. “Because the way the PGA Tour policy is now for pace of play is not good the way they define it.”
But then came an impromptu meeting between well-known slow-play despiser Brooks Koepka and DeChambeau on Sunday morning. With their tee times just 20 minutes apart, DeChambeau told Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott, that he wanted to speak with Koepka and to pass the message. Elliott did, and the two chatted before their rounds started.
Post-round on Sunday, Koepka said DeChambeau didn’t appreciate when Koepka singled him out when going off on slow play in January, right after DeChambeau won on the European Tour.
“It’s not just him. I know he feels singled out, especially when I’m speaking about it,” Koepka said. “But it’s like I told him, I’ve mentioned his name once, and that’s it. There’s so many guys out here where it’s become an issue, and obviously him being probably the best player that’s relatively slow right now, he’s going to be on TV a lot more, so you’re going to catch a lot more of those type of instances.”
DeChambeau called their chat “awesome.”
“It was actually fantastic; I appreciate what Brooks did,” DeChambeau said. “I have high respect for him because he did that. There was one instance he said in Abu Dhabi, and he said, ‘Yeah, I said something about that, but it was in general and got blown out of proportion. It was great. I said, ‘I think we got to start internally so we don’t have these issues come out in public and it creates a bad image for the PGA Tour. We never want that. So it was great. We had a great conversation, and have a new level of respect for him.”
Koepka downplayed the discussion but said he’d be open to talk to DeChambeau more about it.
“Everyone out here [is] probably a little bit more afraid of confrontation than in other sports,” Koepka said. “There’s always been some confrontation on a team. Sometimes it helps and you figure out what the root of the problem is and start working on it.”