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Brooks Koepka watches Rory McIlroy line up his shot during the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire)
November 24th, 2021
Las Vegas is no stranger to big money fights. Legends of the boxing ring and the octagon have done battle in Sin City, where they’ve sweat, bled, and been battered and bruised in some of the greatest showdowns in sporting history.
And now, at Wynn Golf Club in Vegas, we get another epic clash. It’s Brooks vs. Bryson!
The Match is back for a fifth edition, and we are going back to basics. Forget the celebrity appearances and the sporting crossovers, this is a straight-up battle between two golfing greats who really don’t like each other.
Let’s be honest Brooks…#TheMatch #CapitalOnesTheMatch @BleacherReport pic.twitter.com/TNwm6OSzU2— Bryson DeChambeau (@b_dechambeau) November 20, 2021
Let’s be honest Brooks…#TheMatch #CapitalOnesTheMatch @BleacherReport pic.twitter.com/TNwm6OSzU2
A rivalry that goes back to January 2019 when Koepka criticized DeChambeau for slow play, and that has escalated over two years with both men throwing barbs at each other online and from across the course. Not even an enforced hug by Team USA at the Ryder Cup has cooled tensions between the two. By chance or by choice, the PGA Tour never paired the men together, but now we get to see it one-on-one in a fascinating 12-hole match.
Here are the three best prop bets for The Match V.
Brooks is the underdog in the fight, but should he be? In the 227 measured rounds where the two competitors have played the same course on the same day, Koepka has a 108-89-28 record. That’s a 48% win record for Brooks and 39% for Bryson.
DeChambeau is in better form having finished seventh in the Tour Championship, second in the BMW Championship, and eighth in the WGC St. Jude Invitational across August and September. He hasn’t played on Tour since the first week of September, but certainly was swinging well when we last saw him.
This week I'm thankful we finally get to settle this... Ready to see what you're bringing to our "Friendsgiving" @PhilMickelson #CapitalOnesTheMatch pic.twitter.com/qNKnGIYHBb— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) November 22, 2021
This week I'm thankful we finally get to settle this... Ready to see what you're bringing to our "Friendsgiving" @PhilMickelson #CapitalOnesTheMatch pic.twitter.com/qNKnGIYHBb
Last season Bryson made 91% of his cuts and was in the top 25 55% of the time. Brooks only made the cut 70% of the time, and was in the top 25 45% of the time. Interestingly, however, both men finished in the top 10 40% of the time, and this leans into Koepka’s admission that he only gets motivated for the big tournaments these days.
A sentiment that is obvious when you look at his major form in 2021 in which he finished Cut, second, fourth, and sixth compared to Bryson who finished 46th, 38th, 26th, 33rd.
A chance to settle a rivalry on TV in a one-on-one environment is exactly the big occasion Brooks lives for, and while he’s missed his two cuts in November, he’s clearly been putting the reps in to prepare for The Match.
The third hole of The Match will be the 12th hole at Wynn Golf Club. A visually stunning 209-yard par-three with a whole lot of trouble to your left. Any ball heading left off the tee is going to either get wet in the massive lake that guards the whole left side of this green, or it will end up in the bunker, also to the left.
The safe shot here will be to the right of the flag, and it will be interesting to see how the players tackle it, given they’ll have just walked off a par 5 where Bryson has a slight edge. With it being a shorter 12-hole format, these early holes are crucial, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Bryson attempt a braver shot here.
We’re really getting @b_dechambeau vs. @BKoepka 1-on-1 🍿🍿🍿 #CapitalOnesTheMatch is coming Friday, November 26th at 4pm ET on TNT pic.twitter.com/ESlAG2TYpw— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 6, 2021
We’re really getting @b_dechambeau vs. @BKoepka 1-on-1 🍿🍿🍿 #CapitalOnesTheMatch is coming Friday, November 26th at 4pm ET on TNT pic.twitter.com/ESlAG2TYpw
He has a better record across last season from this distance – ranking eighth on Tour with shots between 200-225 yards, and getting them on average three foot closer to the pin than Brooks. DeChambeau also has a superior Par-3 scoring average through 2021, and is a worthy favorite to be closer to hole after the tee shots on three.
The obvious place to start here is Bryson. Over the last two years he has changed the face of golf by piling on the muscle to generate more swing speed and increase his distance off the tee. He has single-handedly made the PGA Tour consider some of their rule book. But Brooks isn’t too far behind him in terms of distance, and the key in this prop is that this hole comes as the players effectively turn for home.
I don’t think either man will have necessarily run into a big lead here so the pressure will be ramping up, and I think Brooks will handle that better than Bryson.
Bryson and Brooks have history.Things are getting spicy before Friday's #CapitalOnesTheMatch 👀 pic.twitter.com/lapp2qHTDP— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 23, 2021
Bryson and Brooks have history.Things are getting spicy before Friday's #CapitalOnesTheMatch 👀 pic.twitter.com/lapp2qHTDP
In this prop, balls must be on the fairway to count, and that is where I think Koepka has the edge. While Bryson hits the ball on average 13 yards further off the tee than Brooks, he is 2.45% less accurate and 3.22% more likely to find the rough.
Those don’t sound like particularly big numbers, but it’s those little things that can be exaggerated under pressure. The seventh hole has a narrow fairway and a dangerous bunker to the right that stretches from 270 yards to 297.
In a high-stakes environment, the value bet is with Brooks keeping it long and straight.
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