Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau will finally get the showdown all their chirping and antics have pointed toward for the last few months. Koepka and DeChambeau will square off in the fifth edition of The Match at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas. The event will again be broadcasted on TNT with simulcasts running across Turner platforms TBS, truTV and HLN.
Interestingly, this edition of The Match will only be contested over 12 holes -- perhaps as a nod to 12-round boxing matches Las Vegas has so often hosted -- and will feature just these two golfers. In four previous iterations of The Match, the only one that also featured a one-on-one matchup was the very first one over Thanksgiving 2018 when Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods teed it up in Vegas. DeChambeau competed in the most recent edition of the match with Aaron Rodgers against Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson.
Koepka and DeChambeau have been jawing, mostly in public and possibly for the sake of notoriety regarding the Player Impact Program. The PIP, as it is otherwise known, is a $40 million pool distributed to golfers who are ranked by a number of different factors, including how popular they are on social media.
This feud -- if we're still calling it that -- began around the PGA Championship and escalated quickly when Koepka was caught on camera rolling his eyes during an interview as DeChambeau walked by him in metal spikes. It was taken up a level later in the summer when DeChambeau reportedly began having folks who were yelping "Brooksie!" at him thrown out of golf tournaments. Koepka has mostly poked at DeChambeau on social media and in interviews, but there has seemingly been a psychological effect on DeChambeau and his game.
The two tabled their feud during the Ryder Cup as they helped the United States to an historic 19-9 win over Europe at Whistling Straits a few weeks ago. The event concluded with a fun, boozy U.S. press conference, and Justin Thomas called for them to hug in the middle of the room with the trophy at the very end. They both obliged J.T.
DeChambeau alluded to this match -- which will be broadcast by Turner and reportedly feature Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley in some capacity -- during his pre-Ryder Cup press conference.
"A lot of this social media stuff has definitely been driven by a lot of external factors, not necessarily us two," said DeChambeau. "We had some great conversations Tour Championship week when we had dinner, and then this week, as well. I sat down and had dinner with him last night, and it was fine. I think there may be something fun coming up here moving forward, but won't speak too much more on that."
Now it's here. Should we be looking forward to the actual playing of this DeChambeau-Koepka match? I suppose. In retrospect, this always felt like the end game. There were times when their feud felt completely fabricated and others when it felt very intimate and personal. In the end, however, Koepka and DeChambeau want the same thing.
Both golfers deeply desire to be celebrated for their accomplishments and both crave the adulation that comes from performing at the highest level. The way they go about chasing that praise is very different, which makes for an interesting dynamic, but I'm dubious about how entertaining they'll be as foils in a made-for-TV event. There seems to be some true animosity in there somewhere, but a post-Thanksgiving, 12-hole extravaganza is probably the least likely place for it to be disclosed.
Pressure in sports, and specifically golf, is revealing. This match is not a cauldron. Instead, it seems to be two golfers who have, at times, halfheartedly engaged in this brouhaha, both publicly and privately, capitalizing on something they have perhaps accidentally built. That may still be good TV, but it's not going to be the showdown everybody thinks it will be.