BOB WEST ON GOLF — DeChambeau-Koepka match has little golf appeal

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Bad weather the day after Thanksgiving seems to be the best hope for the latest iteration of “The Match” to draw enough eyeballs to keep from being a huge embarrassment. Even some lame college football telecasts would seem to offer a better viewing choice.

For those who haven’t heard, and it is possible many of you haven’t, The Match circa 2021 pits Bryson DeChambeau against Brooks Koepka at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas. A new twist, no doubt implemented to keep things from dragging out too long, is that the format calls for only 12 holes.

If you are really interested in watching golf being presented with mostly phony WWE hype, The Match airs Friday at 3 p.m. on TNT, TBS and HLN. Possibly keeping things interesting with trash talking will be the announcing duo of Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley.

Mickelson, of course, was the founder of the inaugural match cash grab pitting him against Tiger Woods for $9 million in 2018. There have been three follow-up matches, all involving Mickelson. Woods also played in Match 2, teaming with Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning against Mickelson and Bucs QB Tom Brady.

It’s all in good fun, there has been some intriguing golf played and charity has been a big winner. But DeChambeau taking on Koepka in a 12-hole match has generated mostly yawns. Yes, at one time the pair seemed to genuinely dislike each other, a feud fueled by Koepka taking no-so-subtle social-media shots at his long-hitting opponent.

In truth, Koepka probably went a bit overboard. His barbs inspired liquored-up fans to give DeChambeau some serious tournament grief from behind the ropes. In a mostly genteel sport, that didn’t go over well with the masses and left Koepka looking like a bully.

A hug-it-out lovefest at the Ryder Cup, however, has seriously diluted whatever venom there was. So, a 12-hole “shootout” in Las Vegas seems pretty tame, even under the guise of entertainment. For many, the only reason to tune in figures to be watching DeChambeau crush tee shots as only he and guys belt long drives for a living can do.

It’s highly possible the most remembered and talked about aspect of this event will be the wisecracks and banter of Mickelson and Barkley. Mickelson, when he puts his golf clubs up, is going to be a no-doubt star of golf on TV. Barkley has long been revered for his funny and no-holds-barred quips. He spares nobody, including himself.

If that’s enough to justify spending three hours watching golf’s equivalent of The Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan, have fun.

CHIP SHOTS: The 2021 portion of the PGA Tour schedule ended on a downer for all three players with Southeast Texas ties entered in the RSM Classic in Sea Island, Georgia last week. All three missed a four-under-par cut of 138.

Chris Stroud, coming off a strong showing the previous week in Houston, opened with a 67, then faded to a 76 in gusting winds. Andrew Landry, two weeks removed from a T7 in Mayakoba, posted 68-75. Dawie van der Walt signed off on rounds of 70-76.

Next tournament opportunity for the trio will be the second week in January in the Sony Classic in Hawaii.

The Monday Senior 50 Plus game at Babe Zaharias was played in a best 2 ball format. Winning the front at minus 1 was the team of Ted Freeman, Steve Wisenbaker, Art Turner and Charles Perez. Taking the back at even par was the team of Dwayne Morvant, Cap Hollier, Dillard Darbonne and a ghost player.

Closest to the pin winners were Dwayne Benoit (No. 2), Joe Gongora (No. 7), Randy Trahan (No. 12) and Freeman (No. 15).

The Super Saturday 2 ball saw a two-way tie on the front. Finishing at minus 2 was the team of Rusty Hicks, Gongora, Rufus Reyes and Richard Menchaca and the foursome of Bill Hanley, Brian Mirabella, Derrick Wolf and Stewart Ellis and the foursome of James Vercher, John Jessen, Mike Brown and Dan Harrington.

In the Friday 2 ball at Zaharias, the team of Brian Vincent, Bob Luttrull, Mike Junot and Dan Flood won the front with minus 1. That was also the winning score on the back for the team of Jim Cady, Brian Sweeney, Rick Pritchett and a ghost player.

Thursday’s 2 ball ended in a near sweep for the team of Freeman, Hollier, Pritchett and Perez. They won the front outright with minus 3 and tied the back at minus 3 with the team of Bob West, Mirabella, Don MacNeil and a ghost player.

The Wednesday Zaharias DogFight was played in an all-points count format. Winning the front with 27 points was the team of Kenny Robbins, Tommy Bellows, Keith Marshall and Paul Duplantis and the foursome of Cady, John House, Pritchett and Darrell Mouille.

Closest to the pin winners were Bob West (No. 2, 2 feet, 5 inches), Gongora (No. 7, 1-10), West (No. 12, 21-10) and Robbins (No. 15, 5-9).

Golf News should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.