The USGA decided not to grant the golf world its wish. During the 2021 U.S. Open, rivals Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau will not be playing together — at least not for the first two rounds.
Instead, DeChambeau will be paired with Hideki Matsuyama and Tyler Strafaci while Koepka will be playing with Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas. And apparently, there is a reason for that.
According to Brad Faxon, the USGA did consider pairing DeChambeau and Koepka but their efforts to do so were rebuffed by DeChambeau.
“I found out last night that the USGA did call Bryson DeChambeau and his agent to ask them if they’d be OK with that, and Bryson declined,” Faxon said.
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This about lines up with what Rick Reilly said in a deleted tweet. Reilly claimed that the USGA wanted the past three winners of the event — Koepka, DeChambeau and Gary Woodland — to play together. But Woodland said that DeChambeau would “never do it.”
It’s unclear exactly why DeChambeau would be reportedly refusing to play with Koepka. Obviously, the two have been embroiled in a long-running feud that dates back to 2019, but Koepka has conveyed that he would be fine playing with DeChambeau.
During a media session on Tuesday, DeChambeau denied that he had been approached by the USGA about the pairing, saying that he would “have been OK with it,” but that “there was never really anything that went through me.” Koepka also said on Tuesday during his interviews that he had not been asked by the USGA about the trio with DeChambeau and Woodland, either.
Still, this feels like a missed opportunity for the USGA, even if it’s through no fault of its own. The Koepka-DeChambeau rivalry has intensified in recent weeks and has drawn the interest of sports fans everywhere. An on-camera moment showed Koepka getting frustrated with DeChambeau yelling during an interview and rekindled the feud, while supporters of Koepka were thrown out of the Memorial Tournament for heckling DeChambeau.
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Certainly, this feud has been “good for the game,” as Koepka has intimated, and had the two stars played alongside one another, it would’ve been some rare must-watch early-round golf.
Instead, golf fans will have to settle for DeChambeau playing with 2021 Masters champion Matsuyama while Koepka plays with the 2017 PGA Champion Thomas and 2020 PGA Championship winner Morikawa.
But deep down, they’ll be hoping that DeChambeau and Koepka make the cut and get paired on one of the weekend days.