Golf: American pair square off in Vegas

26 November 2021 00:55:05 GMTPlus11
Brooks Koepka takes on Bryson DeChambeau in Las Vegas

Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will both be hoping to claim the bragging rights when they go head-to-head in the fifth instalment of The Match on Friday.

DeChambeau, ranked seventh in the world, is on offer at 1.72 to pick up the victory, while Koepka, who sits 16th in the OWGR, is 2.10 to get one over on his fierce rival.

Rivalry building for some time

The feud between the American pair is the most infamous in the golfing world right now and it all stemmed from an incident at the 2019 Northern Trust Open when Koepka took exception to DeChambeau approaching his caddie, Ricky Elliot, on the putting green before the final round.

DeChambeau expressed his anger to Elliot that Koepka singled him out for slow play during the tournament, a topic that was and still is an issue in the sport, and the US stars have traded social media blows ever since.

During the season-ending FedEx Cup play-offs, DeChambeau took exception to a fan shouting "Brooksy" at him, which resulted in the spectator being ejected, but Koepka responded on Twitter by offering any hecklers who had been thrown out a free case of beer.

Although the pair did put their disdain for each other aside for the 2021 Ryder Cup, these two definitely won't be on each other's Christmas card list and they will both be desperate to claim the bragging rights on Friday.

Recent form favours Bryson

DeChambeau heads into this event on the back of some good form, having finished second at the BMW Championship and then tied-11th at the Tour Championship (72-hole score) on his last two PGA starts.

As for Koepka, he has missed the cut on his last two outings and hasn't recorded a top-10 finish since ending up T6 at the 149th Open Championship.

Different format for The Match 5

'The Match' began back in 2018 when Phil Mickelson defeated Tiger Woods in a light-hearted encounter, and since then, the competition has been between two teams made up of a professional golfer and another famous athlete.

In 2020, Woods and Peyton Manning beat Mickelson and Tom Brady before 'Lefty' and Charles Barkley overcame Manning and Steph Curry in the third installment. The most recent edition, the Match 4, saw DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers defeat Mickelson and Brady.

What will be different on Friday is that DeChambeau and Koepka will only be competing over 12 holes at Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada - a course that hasn't been featured on television for any PGA Tour events in its history.

The course is a 6,722-yard, par-70 and, if all goes well on Friday, there is the chance this venue could be introduced onto the PGA Tour in the future.

Charity boost

Although this presents the chance for DeChambeua and Koepka to somewhat settle their rivalry or at least put a pin in it, the duo will also be playing for charity and there are numerous opportunities to increase the pot.

Koepka will be donating to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and DeChambeau will be contributing to Shriner's Hospital, while Turner Sports also announced they will be donating money to Advocates Pro Golf Association Tour and Feeding America.

There are also five holes on the course that will present both players a chance to increase the charity pot.

On hole three, whoever lands their tee shot closest to the hole will be able to donate $50,000 to their charity of choice, while an additional $150,000 will be donated if they land within five feet of the hole and $2million is on offer for a hole-in-one.

The same criteria also apply to holes nine and 11, while hole six will see whoever lands their tee shot closest to the hole have 500,000 meals donated to Feeding America in their name.

Inside five feet of the hole will see an additional 1.5million meals donated, while a hole-in-one will see the meals increased to 20million and 100,000 water bottles will be donated by ZenWTR.

On hole seven, the par-five, the player who hits the longest drive will have $200,000 donated in their name.

Commentary debut

The Match 5 will also see the debut of Mickelson as a commentator and the quick-witted American is sure to be a hit with the mic in hand.

'Lefty' will also be joined in the booth by Barkley, who will make his third appearance as an analyst for the event.

Mickelson provided a huge shock last season when winning the US PGA Championship and he can be backed at 100/1 to successfully defend his title next year at Southern Hills.

Las Vegas incident?

Despite Koepka and DeChambeau not being the best of friends, there is unlikely to be any physical confrontation during the event and any blows struck will be verbal.

With both players expected to be mic'd up throughout the 12 holes, viewers should see some frosty exchanges and some trash talking between the pair.

Don't be surprised if the US rivals decide to add some more spice and put extra wagers on shots before they have hit them.

Both Koepka and DeChambeau are headstrong and ready for a good battle in Las Vegas.

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