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Brooks Koepka has been criticised for saying that he doesn’t view Rory McIlroy as a rival by his long-standing nemesis Brandel Chamblee.

Speaking to AFP ahead of CJ Cup title defence in South Korea, world No.1 Koepka dismissed suggestions that he and current world No.2 McIlroy could become golf’s next big rivalry.

“I’ve been out here for what, five years?” said the American. “Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I don’t view it as a rivalry.”

He added: “I’m number one in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry.

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“If the fans call it a rivalry, then that’s on them and it could be fun.

” I love Rory. He’s a great player and he’s fun to watch. But it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it.”


That, according to Golf Channel analyst Chamblee, was out of order. 

“This is adding fuel to a rivalry that definitely exists,” said Chamblee. “They’re the No.1 and No.2 player in the world, they each have four major championships, the last two times that they’ve gone head-to-head, each has gotten the better of the other.

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“Rory is Brooks Koepka’s greatest rival. Brooks Koepka is Rory’s greatest rival right now. In general, I just thought his comments were disrespectful.”

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Adding that McIlroy had “the better year” on the PGA Tour last season, Chamblee added that the Northern Irishman has a stronger case to make the comments Koepka made. 

“You could make the argument that what Rory has done the last couple years, winning the Vardon Trophy a of couple times and the Players, that Rory could say what Brooks said, but he would never say that.”

Chamblee has been a vocal critic of Koepka throughout 2019, so much so that Brooks’ dad was even compelled to jump to his son’s defence online just last month.

Your thoughts?

Do you agree with Brandel Chamblee that Brooks Koepka’s comments about Rory McIlroy were disrespectful? Or do you think Koepka got it right? Leave your thoughts in our Comments section below.

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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