Bryson DeChambeau controversy timeline, from Brooks Koepka drama to ‘my driver sucks’

Bryson DeChambeau was on a mission Thursday, opening his first round at the Masters with three straight birdies to prove he’s serious about competing in Augusta.

The 30-year-old may not be the best golfer at the top of the leaderboard – at least as long as Scottie Scheffler is in the mix – but he can make a strong case for the most compelling. DeChambeau is not afraid to speak his mind, and he has found himself at the center of a number of controversies in his career.

DeChambeau has improved his form over the past two years. But now that he’s back on the national stage, so are his feuds. Here’s a closer look at his controversies over the years, including his feud with Brooks Koepka.

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Bryson DeChambeau controversy timeline

DeChambeau calls Augusta a ‘par 67’

Augusta National, the annual home of the Masters, is revered by golfers and fans alike. That’s why DeChambeau’s comments about the 2020 course struck some observers as disrespectful.

DeChambeau called Augusta a “par 67” for him, five strokes lower than the actual number, and indicated he could handle the course’s par-five holes with ease.

As you might imagine, bragging about how easy it is to compete in the Masters didn’t lead to success for DeChambeau. He finished 46th in 2020 and missed the cut in both 2021 and 2022 as his play suffered across the board.

DeChambeau seemed to reverse those feelings completely after the first round of this year’s Masters, when he finally made good on his bold promises to cruise the course.

“I have a new level of respect for this golf course,” DeChambeau told reporters after posting a 65 in the first round on Thursday. He still has to win a green jacket, but he will participate on Sunday.

DeChambeau apologizes for saving his driver ‘sucks’

DeChambeau apologized at the 2021 Open Championship after saying his “driver was worthless” while underperforming at the tournament.

“It’s not a good look to me, and we’re still trying to figure out how to make up for the mishits,” DeChambeau told reporters.

DeChambeau was using a modified Cobra Radspeed driver at the time, and Cobra was less than enthusiastic to hear his comments.

“It’s just really hurtful when he says something stupid like that,” Ben Schomin, manager of Cobra tour operations, said at the time, suggesting DeChambeau’s fast swing could be the problem.

MORE: Inside Bryson DeChambeau’s 3D-printed Masters golf clubs

DeChambeau’s feud with Brooks Koepka

The highly publicized feud between DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka appeared to begin when DeChambeau took exception to comments Koepka made about golfers operating at a slow pace. Although Koepka did not mention DeChambeau by name, he later said that DeChambeau was one of the players he considered slow. DeChambeau even confronted Koepka’s caddie about the comments at one point.

Kopeka had a problem with DeChambeau confronting his caddy. DeChambeau reportedly told Koepka’s caddie that Koepka should address him directly if he has a problem, and Koepka later noted that it was ironic that DeChambeau did not approach him directly.

The dispute reached a fever pitch when Koepka visibly rolled his eyes when DeChambeau walked behind him in 2021, and DeChambeau at one point criticized Koepka’s physique to add fuel to the fire.

By all accounts, the relationship between DeChambeau and Koepka seems to be fine right now. Both players are central figures in LIV Golf, perhaps creating a bit of a bond between them as much of the golf world is against the competition.

Sponsor drops DeChambeau after LIV Golf deal

DeChambeau was certainly not the only player to receive criticism for joining LIV Golf, but he was not spared the outrage.

Rocket Mortgage dropped DeChambeau as ambassador after the decision, calling itself a “longtime supporter of the PGA Tour.” LIV Golf’s ties to the Saudi Arabian government resulted in criticism of many notable names signed to the league.

MORE: List of LIV golfers competing in the Masters

DeChambeau sparks outrage with comments about 9/11

Much of the activism against LIV Golf stemmed from concerns about the Saudi government’s ties to terrorism and accusations that Saudi financing helped facilitate the September 11, 2001 attacks. When asked for his thoughts on the matter, DeChambeau’s response received significant backlash.

“What I can say is that they are trying to do good for the world and show themselves in a light that hasn’t been seen in a while. No one is perfect, but we are all trying to improve in life,” DeChambeau said, ask for forgiveness.

Some golf fans believed that DeChambeau dramatically minimized the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people, and found his comments insensitive.