It didn’t matter that there was a whole tournament going on before “The Match,” or that FedEx Cup points would be up for grabs along with some cash. The matchup between American golfers and foes Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka was the main golf event last week, but the RSM Classic was not something to leave on the fairway.
The RSM Classic, held from Nov. 18-21 on the Sea Island Seaside Course on Saint Simons Island in Georgia was the final PGA Tour tournament scheduled for this November. Quite honestly, I was hoping Scottie Scheffler would have some sort of breakthrough on these rounds, but I didn’t have any expectations for Sea Island. I could see maybe Zach Johnson, an American golfer, coming out with a hundred points, but really, I didn’t make any sort of predictions ahead of RSM.
He’s been under the radar, since he’s fairly new to the PGA Tour and still young, but it was Talor Gooch of America who walked away with his very first PGA Tour title two Sundays ago.
Gooch finished the tournament 22 under par, with a total of 260 shots. The first and last rounds were his best, as he had an eagle and six birdies in round one, and then six more in the fourth round; shooting 64 on both. He only had two bogeys throughout the entire tournament.
Not even the wind could get in the way of Gooch’s putting game, putting over 65 feet for the eagle. This was the longest putt he’s ever made on the PGA Tour, and he was able to do so with 25 mph winds and cool temperatures. For the birdie putts, almost all of them were less than six feet and Gooch was able to secure his first PGA Tour win pretty easily. He approached the green ranked 14th in the FedEx Cup and left with 500 points more.
Mackenzie Hughes of Canada came in second at the RSM Classic, but it wasn’t all that close. He finished three shots behind Gooch but had a bogey in every single round, with three in the third round. He walked away with $784,800 and 300 FedEx Cup points by shooting one less shot than Colombia’s Sebastián Muñoz, who came in third.
Further down on the winner’s list was Zach Johnson, who finished at 16th and was tied with five other golfers. Johnson is a resident of Sea Island and I would have expected him to finish at the very least in the top 10, but the second and third rounds were pretty tough on him. After shooting -11, he earned himself a little over $100,000.
Once again, it was Scottie Scheffler who was robbed of getting something even close to decent. Maybe robbed isn’t the word, since he only shot three under par, but he’s certainly played better than this. Scheffler finished 57th in the RSM Classic, tied with three other players. He looked phenomenal in the first round, but after the bogey on the second hole in the second round, it was over. The third round had Scheffler on the green racking up five bogeys and a double bogey with only two birdies, collecting for a grand total of 279 shots by the end of the Classic.
Following the RSM Classic was “The Match,” which I’m sure Brooks Koepka wasn’t pleased about waiting for, because he is not a man to wait. Not even for fellow PGA Tour member Bryson DeChambeau. So, for Brooks to have to wait to play DeChambeau must’ve really taken a lot out of the guy heading into Friday, Nov. 26 when they played each other at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas.
You don’t need me to tell you how highly anticipated this match was. Everyone was waiting on Brooks to do his least favorite thing: wait on DeChambeau.
With their different styles of play, these American golfers do not get along and have joked about fighting each other, but “The Match” is the closest they could come to it after a series of slight digs and mimicking one another. Koepka criticizes DeChambeau’s style on various levels, DeChambeau comes after his looks, and Koepka fires back with how many titles he’s won.
Rumors were silenced about them pursuing a title together, as they would not be paired on the U.S. Open. We would have to wait until the Ryder Cup to see them physically together, where they both hinted at something happening while being overly friendly with each other.
Cue, “The Match.”
I have a lot of respect for both golfers, I think they own their individual styles quite well but I do believe that Brooks Koepka is the overall better golfer; and it shows.
DeChambeau couldn’t even pull it together for the first shot and needed a mulligan. Funny enough, Koepka had obstacles as well, but still got the ball to land where it needed to. That’s pretty much how the rest of the 12-hole round went, much to Koepka’s satisfaction. Not once did DeChambeau win a hole, they either tied or Koepka won with the birdie. Brooksy really does live rent free up there in DeChambeau’s head.
Brooks Koepka won “The Match” with a final score of 5 and 3, all while Phil Mickelson commented for each round and had fun not only calling out Koepka’s mistakes or what he would do, but the lack of holes won for DeChambeau as he never managed to secure a lead.
As excited as I am that Brooks Koepka won and Phil Mickelson had such great commentary, I’m still a little sad that this hyped-up match is over. Nonetheless, we’ll see both Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau back on the green this upcoming weekend in the Hero World Challenge.
I’m thankful that this is the next match because it features so many of my favorite American golfers besides Koepka, like Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, and Rory McIlroy, who is actually from Northern Ireland. There’s going to be a ton of talent in the Bahamas for December’s only PGA Tour match. Henrik Stenson of Sweden will look to defend his title after most recently being cut from the Houston Open, so it’ll be quite the tournament to catch on the Golf Channel starting Thursday, Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.