- Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau finished their first round at the Masters on Thursday tied for the lead, at six under par.
- Both players have for months been feuding through the media over slow play, stemming from a viral video of DeChambeau taking his time to set up a shot at the Dubai Desert Classic in January.
- With both players looking strong through the first day of the tournament, there’s a chance that the feud will come to a head if the two get paired for one of the final two rounds.
- Read all of Business Insider’s Masters coverage here.
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Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau finished their opening rounds at the Masters on Thursday tied for the lead, at six under par.
They represent two of golf’s best young athletes – Koepka won two majors last year, and DeChambeau has an impressive five wins between the PGA and European tours since the start of 2018.
But while the two both have a knack for the winner’s circle, they have recently been feuding through the media over how they get there, and DeChambeau’s tendency toward slow play is the crux of the issue.
The feud began after DeChambeau’s win at the Dubai Desert Classic in January, when a video of him analysing a shot out of the rough went viral.
DeChambeau, a physics major in college, could be seen discussing the shot with his caddie, breaking down the distance and air density to calculate the perfect club selection.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 27, 2019
DeChambeau’s process is clearly labour-intensive, but for some of his competitors – specifically Koepka – his slow play should be penalised according to the rules.
“I just don’t understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds or a minute and 15 to hit a golf ball. It’s not that hard,” Koepka said on the “Golf Monthly Clubhouse” podcast after the clip of DeChambeau went viral. “It’s always between two clubs. There’s a miss short; there’s a miss long. It really drives me nuts, especially when it’s a long hitter, because you know you’ve got two other guys, or at least one guy, that’s hitting before you, so you can do all your calculations. You should have your numbers.”
DeChambeau responded to the not-so-subtle shot at a press conference ahead of the Saudi International when asked about the video of him planning his shot in Dubai.
“It’s actually quite impressive that we’re able to get all that stuff done in 45 seconds; people don’t realise that it’s very difficult to do everything we do in 45 seconds,” DeChambeau said. “I think that anybody that has an issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do.”
Before the Masters, DeChambeau was asked about it again and said that his preparation would not be as noticeable if other players weren’t so slow getting to their ball in the first place, according to Golf magazine:
“The one piece of information that a lot of people miss is the walk to the ball. There’s a three‑minute walk that people don’t take into account. You can gain a lot more time by walking 15 seconds quicker to the ball than you can by five seconds over a shot. So people don’t take that into account when we talk about slow play.
“I may be a guy that hits it up there farther than someone, and they are taking their merry time getting to their golf ball, and it’s behind me, and I’m already up there, and I can’t get any of my numbers because I’m right in their line of sight. Once they do their whole process that takes maybe 25 seconds compared to my 35‑second to 40‑second preparation to hit the shot, by the time we walk back over and get the number, do all that, you can view me as a slow player.
“In the end I look at it from another standpoint saying there’s a whole other piece to this puzzle that we are not looking at yet.”
Two players disagreeing about course etiquette is usually fine, but with Koepka and DeChambeau tied for the lead after one day of play at the Masters, the feud could come to a head over the weekend should the players be paired near the top of the leaderboard.
- Read more Masters 2019 coverage:
- The Masters has strict rules not seen anywhere else in sports. Here are the things that can get you thrown out or even arrested.
- Take a tour of Augusta National’s gorgeous new pro shop, the only place where you can buy official Masters merchandise
- Food at the Masters is so cheap, you could order one of everything, and it would only cost $US56.50
- Somebody placed an $US85,000 bet on Tiger Woods to win the Masters that would be worth $US1.19 million if he comes through
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