With all the shenanigans he has been involved in recently, you could be forgiven for forgetting that Bryson DeChambeau is the man to beat at this week’s US Open.
The 27-year-old has arrived at Torrey Pines in San Diego bidding to become only the seventh player to successfully defend the title – and the first since his rival Brooks Koepka.
The pair’s testy relationship has become even more strained since a video of Koepka making disparaging comments about the reigning US Open champ leaked online in the days following last month’s US PGA Championship.
It was reported that DeChambeau had some spectators ejected from the Memorial Tournament a fortnight ago after they taunted him with shouts of Koepka’s name. Bryson subsequently denied those reports and, meeting the media ahead of his US Open title defence, he insisted that he has no issues with the heckles.
“I'm always going to be trying to play my game and not really worry too much about what other people are doing,” he said. “I think there are just times where, if it gets outside the scope of just integrity and honour, yeah, that can get a little interesting.
“At the same point in time, all of it's been good fun. It's been fun. Shoot, to be honest, people saying Brooksy's name out there, I love it. I think it's hilarious.”
Whilst the pair clearly are chalk to each other’s cheese, they do, apparently agree on one thing: that their beef is good for the game.
Koepka made that claim after he was criticised for offering free beer to the supporters ejected from the Memorial and it’s a view DeChambeau shares.
“There's a point where it's great banter,” he said. “I personally love it. I think that, as time goes on, I hope on the weekend we can play against each other and compete. I think it would be fun and would be great for the game.”
It certainly won’t happen before the weekend. The pair have been kept apart by the USGA in the draw for the opening two rounds.