AP Photo/Eric Gay // AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili
- Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau finished their first round at the Masters on Thursday tied for the lead at 6-under.
- Both players have been feuding through the media over slow play early in the 2019 season, stemming from a viral video of DeChambeau taking his time to set up a shot at the Dubai Desert Classic.
- With both players looking strong through the first day of the tournament, there’s a chance the feud comes to a head if the two get paired together for one of the final two rounds.
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Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau finished their opening rounds at the Masters on Thursday tied for the lead at 6-under.
The duo represents two of golf’s best young athletes, with Koepka the winner of two majors last year and DeChambeau sporting 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’ve recently been feuding through the media over how they get there, with DeChambeau’s tendency towards slow play being the crux of the issue.
The feud began after DeChambeau’s win at the Dubai Desert Classic in January when a video of him analyzing a shot out of the rough went viral. DeChambeau, a physics major in college, was seen discussing a shot with his caddie, breaking down the distance and air density to calculate the perfect club selection.
DeChambeau’s process is clearly labor intensive, but for some of his competitors, specifically Koepka, his slow play is an issue that, according to the rules, should be penalized.
"I just don’t understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds, a minute and 15 seconds 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 out 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 realize that it’s very difficult to do everything we do in 45 seconds," DeChambeau said. "I think that anybody that has issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do."
Prior to the Masters, DeChambeau was asked again and explained that his preparation would not be as noticeable if other players weren’t so slow getting to their ball in the first place.
"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 together over the weekend near the top of the leaderboard.
- Read more Masters 2019:
- Recent history tells us only 10 players still have a chance to win the Masters after the first round
- Bryson DeChambeau had a great reaction to being shown how close he came to hitting the shot of the Masters, a 200-yard bomb from the 18th fairway hidden from his view
- Take a tour of Augusta National’s gorgeous new pro shop, the only place where you can buy official Masters merchandise