It has become a tradition for a top level mano-y-mano golf competition to take place on Thanksgiving weekend. And this year is no exception. The long-awaited showdown between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here’s a look at Brooks vs. Bryson and a pick to win the highly anticipated showdown.
Brooks vs. Bryson – The Format
Previous iterations of Match were designed to go through the full 18 holes. This one will (luckily) be much shorter. As the theme of their real-life rivalry, Brooks and Bryson will face off in match play over a maximum of 12 holes. The glaring symbolism of 12 holes is a 12 round boxing match.
At this point, it is not known (or publicly disclosed) which holes they will be playing at Wynn Golf Club. As described below, however, this probably won’t give either player an advantage one way or the other.
The golf course
A golf course existed on the Match field, but it was not in its present form. The golf course was formerly known as the Desert Inn Golf Course, across from the Desert Inn Casino. From 1953 to 1966, it hosted the Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour. It would later serve as a rotational course for the Shriners Children’s Hospital which opened from 1983 to 2000.
The Desert Inn closed in 2000, and Wynn Properties built an extravagant hotel and casino in its place. The resort then called on Tom Fazio to design a brand new 18-hole course in its place. In 2005, the Wynn Golf Club opened its doors to guests of the resort:
Before Tom Fazio sank his claws into the property, it was a completely flat property. But Fazio is known to spare no expense to create his vision. And often his visions create golf courses that are absolutely unlike the surrounding landscape. It will displace significant amounts of land to create unnatural topography, elevation changes, streams and lakes.
And like Shadow Creek (another golf course owned by Wynn Properties created by Fazio in Las Vegas), the Wynn Golf Club creates the illusion of a lush, bustling golf course in the middle of a barren wasteland. Fazio planted 8,000 trees to line each fairway. Artificial streams and lakes have been created to play the water on 12 holes. And a giant waterfall serves as the backdrop for the 18th Par 3. The goal was to completely obscure the desert landscape for the player and make the environment appear to be playing in an oasis. Mission accomplished.
If you’re someone who wants to spend $ 550 to play on an immaculately landscaped golf course with great amenities and services, all on the Las Vegas Strip, the Wynn Golf Club is for you. But overall, the golf course offers very little in terms of the unique golf experience. There isn’t much that sets the Wynn Golf Club apart from other Tom Fazio models. Or, frankly, other really cool and expensive country clubs in your area. Each Par 4 and 5 is fairly immediate and guarded by a solitary fairway bunker and a water hazard. Deep bunkers on the green guard the bentgrass greens undulating. The Wynn Golf Club has a very linear north / south route. There is nothing so special apart from the luxurious and over-the-top golf experience.
This is by no means a bad golf course. It’s just not my cup of tea.
The Wynn Golf Club is the type of course that Brooks and Bryson have dominated their entire careers. Although the course is only 6800 yards, Brooks and Bryson have plenty of opportunities to take shortcuts on the dog’s paws. Both should also be able to completely remove the fairway bunkers from the tee. They should both have short irons in most Par 4. And both should have medium irons in hand on all Par 5. If both play to the best of their ability, there should be a lot of birdies out there. do at Wynn Golf Club.
Brooks vs Bryson – Best Bet
Usually, I automatically bet the underdog in these exhibition matches. It’s Match Play – anything can happen. This time, however, I am deviating from the standard protocol.
We haven’t seen Bryson DeChambeau since the Ryder Cup. But in his last 50 ShotLink measured laps, Bryson has been awesome. Only Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm have gained more strokes per lap on the field in their last 50 laps than Bryson. He almost won the BMW Championship in August. And he was very impressive at the Ryder Cup. Bryson was a force in the Four Ball format and smoked Sergio Garcia in singles on Sunday.
During this time we saw Brooks Koepka. And the results were not pleasant. In his last 12 laps, Koepka has lost 0.73 shots per lap on the pitch. He loses shots both with his hitting ball and on and around the greens. Brooks hasn’t had a Top 10 since the Open Championship in July. And even at the Ryder Cup, despite getting the winning point, Brooks was not one of the strong points of the team.
Things hit a low point with Brooks after the first round of the Houston Open. After a disappointing first run 71 and losing more than 0.5 field shots from the tee, Brooks was seen late that night working on his driver at the range. It didn’t help. On Friday, Brooks again lost more than 0.5 shots from the field from the tee. Maybe switching to Srixon gear will solve his ball hitting issues. But the form advantage is strictly Bryson’s.
The mental advantage also lies with Bryson. For a while, it looked like Brooks was gaining the upper hand in his feud with Bryson. After Bryson foolishly mocked Brooks’ physique while streaming Fortnite, Brooks dove into Bryson with a photo of his 4 major trophies. He then roasted Bryson at WGC FedEx St. Jude after Bryson argued with an official over an anthill. And he even gave away free Michelob Ultra to anyone who shouted “Cmon Brooksie!” To Bryson at tournament events (a move that probably went too far).
But Bryson also lives in Brooks’ mind. Remember Brooks was triggered just by Bryson walking past him in Kiawah?
And let’s face it, we haven’t seen Brooks the Killer since Round 3 of the 2019 PGA Championship. He was very shaky on the stretch at Bethpage Black. And he had several opportunities to knock the hammer down on Sunday in a major tournament to secure another victory. And he didn’t. Whether it was scar tissue after nearly blowing up the 2019 PGA Championship, or both complaints and doubts about his health, he has lost some of his advantage.
There is a story that Brooks is crazy enough to play on purpose this fall so he can be an underdog and find that edge. It’s a ridiculous notion. Much of the Brooks vs Bryson feud has been social media scam work, but it’s a stretch for even the most foiled conspiracy theorist. The plain truth is that Bryson is a better player than Brooks is right now. And that’s why you should bet Bryson to beat Brooks on Friday.
Pick: Bryson DeChambeau -125