The Match 5 between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka was billed as a 12-hole prize fight that mirrors the boxing culture, which much of Las Vegas has been built upon over the years. DeChambeau got knocked out early, though, as the event didn't even see the back side of the course. Koepka won 4 and 3 after making four birdies on the front and leading after eight of the nine holes that were played.
The golf from both parties was not what anyone would describe as tremendous, but Koepka cleaned up his misses, hit a couple of shots tight as well as a couple of putts he needed while DeChambeau continuously burned edges and didn't give himself any easy short ones at all.
At one point, DeChambeau even asked Koepka why he doesn't play this well week-to-week on the PGA Tour, and Koepka replied that, "I don't play again until April," and then added, "Not gonna lie, I just wanted to spank you."
The trash talk overall was not compelling, though we didn't really expect that it would be. Koepka told DeChambeau his par putt was good on the second hole just after Koepka had made birdie to win the hole, which was humorous. Then, after his third birdie of the first six holes, Koepka handed his putter to his brother, Chase, and asked the audience, "Any questions?"
Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter to break down and react to The Match V: Bryson vs Brooks. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
There was also a pretty humorous moment when DeChambeau pulled driver on one of the holes and acted concerned about hitting it through the fairway and smoking somebody standing in the distance because it was going to go too long and too straight. Koepka reacted to that one similarly to how he reacted when DeChambeau walked past him at the PGA Championship at Kiawah in the now-infamous leaked video that was part of the genesis of this entire feud.
The real show, it turned out, happened in the booth. Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley were part of the broadcast team and were able to talk to players throughout the day. Mickelson took over early and never relented. Barkley was a hilarious sidekick for him as he asked him questions about shots at altitude and took him deep when Lefty got wound up with DeChambeau on parasympathetic brain waves.
Koepka asked Barkley if he caught any of it, and Barkley responded, "Hell no."
Ultimately, this was not the score-settling bout it was touted to be over the last month or so. If there's even a score to be settled, it will only happen at a big-time tournament when these two are marching toward the same trophy. The player banter on Friday was borderline genteel, but the broadcast did click into place something for me. When matches are short like this one and with Mickelson and Barkley in the booth, you could put anyone at all on the golf course playing each other and it would be tremendous television.
So while we'll have to wait for months or years before the entire DeChambeau-Koepka feud completely plays out, Friday's win for Koepka was another reminder of just how much fun golf can be when it's talked about (and played) at this level by people who are in just as deep as the rest of us.