DUBLIN, OHIO — Bryson DeChambeau and Jordan Spieth performed collectively within the first two rounds of the Memorial Tournament on Thursday and Friday, an association that might starkly show how two high golfers, each 27, have developed such disparate followings within the sport.
For DeChambeau, it strengthened his standing as a lightning rod for controversy. A latest social media feud together with his colleague Brooks Koepka erupted anew although Koepka was not taking part within the match or dropping a single snarky phrase on Twitter. Fans on Friday repeatedly taunted DeChambeau by calling him “Brooks,” or by shouting “Let’s go, Brooks-y,” which mimicked a video that Koepka posted on Twitter final week. It confirmed DeChambeau snapping at followers who yelled one thing comparable after one in every of DeChambeau’s pictures within the latest P.G.A. Championship.
Security officers on the Memorial match often interceded on Friday, approaching followers who appeared to jeer DeChambeau, though DeChambeau denied that the trouble was made at his request.
“The officers take care of that,” DeChambeau mentioned, including that the safety involvement was extra about spectators yelling throughout his backswing.
Moreover, DeChambeau, who’s one over par on the midpoint of the occasion and a number of other strokes off the lead, smiled and insisted that being referred to as “Brooks” was a praise.
“They weren’t taunts at all, they were flattering,” he mentioned and added: “When it comes down to it, when somebody’s that bothered by someone else, it is flattering.”
Spieth, whose second-round 67 left him one beneath for the match, mentioned he was not distracted by the periodic tumult. But from the beginning of the Memorial, which was interrupted by thunderstorms on Thursday, Spieth walked a distinct path from the companions in his group. It included Patrick Cantlay, who shared the lead at eight beneath par with Jon Rahm when the second was suspended due to darkness.
On the opening gap the group performed early Thursday afternoon, Spieth was handled with deference as he stood on the primary tee. Hundreds of followers circling the world remained hushed till his identify was introduced, after which a thunderous cheer ensued.
DeChambeau’s method to the tee moments later elicited one thing extra akin to a carnival environment, with an electrifying buzz and murmur as spectators stood on tip toes to catch a glimpse of the participant whose prodigious drives and boasts of remodeling golf have reinvigorated the sport within the final yr.
Jordan Spieth, left, Patrick Cantlay and DeChambeau on No. 11 in the course of the second spherical of the Memorial Tournament.Credit…Tannen Maury/EPA, through Shutterstock
Men hoisted kids onto their shoulders so they may see the strapping DeChambeau whereas others pointed cellphones to seize the second after they stood so near golf’s most intriguing, and infrequently mocked, persona.
Spieth, the slim, unimposing one-time boy marvel who claimed three main championship victories earlier than he was 23, unleashed a syrupy swing that despatched a proficient if understated drive down the center of the green. The crowd, nonetheless, was not upset.
“Atta boy, Jordan,” a person in his 40s yelled. There have been smiles and figuring out nods throughout.
Spieth, it appeared, was one in every of them.
When it was his flip, DeChambeau, the reigning United States Open champion, flexed and twitched over the ball after which unleashed a mighty swat that lifted his golf ball excessive into the sky till it bounded 50 yards previous Spieth’s.
The crowd hooted and howled its approval.
DeChambeau, undoubtedly, is one in every of a sort.
But after that first swing, a younger man within the throng simply 20 toes from the tee shouted, “Let’s go Brooks-y!” One voice grew to become two or three, additionally yelping and laughing: “Let’s go Brooks-y!”
DeChambeau stared straight forward however appeared perturbed, one thing he denied after his spherical.
“Everybody thinks it’s a big deal; it’s not to me,” DeChambeau mentioned evenly. Of Koepka, who has received 4 main championships, he mentioned: “I’ve got nothing against him, I’ve got no issues at all. If he wants to play that game, that’s great. I think no matter what, he’s a great player and won a lot of tournaments, and it’s like somebody calling me Jack or Payne or Hogan. People think it bothers me, it really doesn’t.”
As play was concluding on the Memorial, a grinning Koepka playfully threw one other barb in DeChambeau’s route. After thanking followers for shouting his identify Friday, he posted a video on Instagram and Twitter providing a case of beer to the primary 50 folks whose time on the match, as he mentioned, “might have been cut short.”
The clamor round DeChambeau might have had no impact on his golf, however after taking pictures a one-under 71 within the first spherical, which included 15 holes performed Friday morning, DeChambeau stumbled badly in the beginning of the second spherical Friday afternoon. With three putts from 28 toes, he double bogeyed the primary gap, then took 4 pictures to achieve the par-Four third inexperienced, which led to a bogey. DeChambeau responded with an eagle and 4 birdies but in addition had three extra bogeys for an inconsistent spherical of 72.
“A long day, long two days almost,” DeChambeau mentioned. “Unfortunately, I got it going the wrong way out there for a while.”
Spieth’s expertise was the inverse. After six bogeys within the closing 13 holes of his first spherical, he spent most of a 40-minute layoff earlier than the beginning of the second spherical consuming lunch. (DeChambeau, in contrast, spent almost all the time hitting balls, principally with a driver, on the observe vary.)
Spieth started his second spherical with 4 steadying pars, then made 5 birdies with no bogey the remainder of his afternoon.
“The biggest difference was I stopped hitting my tee shots in the rough,” Spieth mentioned. “Pretty simple.”
In the tip, not surprisingly, Spieth appeared throughout the day and felt buoyed, even by the group response. He talked about some “outliers,” however mentioned: “We had massive support, people trekked 33 holes with us today, and that’s pretty awesome considering the wet conditions.”
Recalling his many wayward pictures in the course of the first spherical, Spieth laughed and mentioned: “I mean, I know how I feel walking through the rough today.”