The last time these two met, they were three of the world’s best in majors. Bryson DeChambeau stormed into contention at the U.S. Open before storming back down and Justin Thomas won the event by holding off Jordan Spieth by three strokes. They were there as friends – this was after Thomas had already broken up with his long-time girlfriend Hannah Rose – and their rivalry looked poised to turn into a tour de force in the game. Instead, Thomas had an eventual career year, winning three majors and coming within a whisker of winning a fourth, while DeChambeau’s career path has gone from one of high potential to somewhere in the wilderness.
So even before it got started, it was different when DeChambeau and Koepka greeted each other on the Tuesday before the BMW Championship at Conway Farms, a historic Chicago course that has hosted two U.S. Opens. After a few brief words from each of them, they went their separate ways. DeChambeau celebrated his 21st birthday that day with a few early-morning rounds in the afternoon, never winning.
After their rain-delayed opening round on Thursday, the tournament has been retitled the BMW Championship, but don’t expect it to be the same because they won’t be there to start. The new two-man team added between their careers is Tiger Woods, one of those predictable updates in a career that keeps as many as 20 different partners each year, or more.
The last time Woods and DeChambeau were together for a major championship was at The Open Championship, the first major they played together. Woods battled to a tie for second that weekend after a back-nine collapse that featured not only a triple bogey on the 16th, but also three bogeys on the last four holes to finish the back nine. At one point DeChambeau actually held a four-shot lead before exiting that afternoon with a 71.
As the two stretch their partnership past their matching nine-year age difference, they will be the only current members of the world’s top 10 to have played together before. Having won a major and seen Woods play make seemingly miraculous comebacks year after year, there has never been anything about them that didn’t seem destined to play together – this is about the day they were put together in their golf journey.
Do you think this will be the match to end all matches?