Brooks Koepka would relish a Sunday showdown with rival Bryson DeChambeau at The Open as the pair's feud continued at Royal St George's.

The American duo have been exchanging barbs for a long while now, with Koepka invited to offer an explanation when he faced the media ahead of the 149th Open in Kent on Tuesday.

Koepka revealed the issue started at the 2019 Northern Trust at Liberty National after he called out his compatriot for slow play.

A disgruntled DeChambeau took it up with Koepka's caddie, Ricky Elliott, before the pair apparently decided to call it quits, only for DeChambeau to stoke the fire with some unflattering comments about his countryman during a public online video game session.

Four-time major winner Koepka explained: "It was at Liberty. He didn't like that I had mentioned his name in slow play, so we had a conversation in the locker room, and then I guess we said something else in the press conference but didn't mention his name in it, and he walked up to Ricky and said: 'You tell your man if he's got something to say, say it to me.'

"I thought that was ironic because he went straight to Ricky. Ricky told me when I came out, I hit a few putts, and then just walked right over to him, we had a conversation.

"We both agreed we'd leave each other out of it and wouldn't mention each other, just kind of let it die off, wouldn't mention each other's names, just go about it.

"So then he decided I guess he was going on that little, whatever, playing video games online or whatever and brought my name up and said a few things, so now it's fair game."

Asked about the prospect of being paired with DeChambeau for the final round at golf's oldest major this weekend, Koepka said he would be up for the battle.

"Yeah, I would enjoy it. I would enjoy it. I'll be close to the final group come Sunday," he said.

"I always feel like I play well in the big events, the majors. I think it would be a lot more people tuning in, with everything that's gone on over the last two years, something like that, three years. So yeah, I think there would be a lot of people tuning in."

With the Ryder Cup to come at Whistling Straits in September, the two are set to be team-mates, but Koepka can handle a week of being on the same side.

"It's only a week. I mean, look, I can put it aside for business," he said.

"If we're going to be on the same team, I can deal with anybody in the world for a week. I'm not playing with him.

"I'm pretty sure we're not going to be paired together; put it that way. I think it's kind of obvious. It doesn't matter.

"We're not going to be high-fiving and having late-night conversations. I do my thing, he does his thing."

Speaking later the same day, DeChambeau was a little more succinct, saying of Koepka: "He can say whatever he wants. I think he said something back at Liberty National not upholding something. I don't know what he's talking about in that regard."

Rory McIlroy believes missing the cut at the Scottish Open could prove beneficial as he bids for glory at The Open.

The four-time major winner, who claimed the Claret Jug in 2014, endured a testing couple of days at the Renaissance Club, where an intruder attempted to steal his club.

McIlroy failed to make the weekend but that gave the 32-year-old extra preparation time ahead of the 149th Open at Royal St George's.

He will try to atone for a poor showing at the 2019 edition of golf's oldest major, where he missed the cut as the home hope at Royal Portrush.

The omens bode well for McIlroy, who has bounced back to win the next tournament in three of the previous nine instances where he has seen his campaign ended after two rounds.

 

Asked if that fact was mere coincidence, McIlroy said: "No, I certainly don't think it's a chance statistic.

"Look, I think in golf you always learn more about your game when you've missed a cut or struggled or not played as well. I think anyone can play well, anyone can hit the ball great and give themselves chances to win, but you just learn more.

"I've always learnt more from disappointments and from not doing as well, but I've always tried to learn. I've always tried to figure out, okay, why did this week not go so well, and then you give yourself a couple of thoughts and they're fresh in your mind going into the next week.

"That's why I say in golf there's always next week, and that's a great thing, because you can right some wrongs pretty quickly. I've been able to do that in the past.

"I missed the cut at Memorial a couple years ago, went down and won the Canadian Open the next week. Yeah, missed the cut at the Masters and then went and my next start was Quail Hollow and I won.

"Golf always just gives you another opportunity to go out and play well and to see if you've learned from your mistakes, and I've always made it a priority in my career to really try to learn from my mistakes, all the way back to what happened at Augusta in 2011 and going and winning the U.S. Open the next major."

Indeed, after his disappointment in Northern Ireland in 2019, McIlroy closed that year by winning the FedExCup, which he said "gave me a few million reasons to feel better".

He will tee off at the Kent links in pursuit of a second Open title on Thursday at 15:21 local time alongside Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith.

Jon Rahm is eyeing a historic double at The Open Championship this week as he seeks to add to his U.S. Open triumph.

The Spaniard is among the leading contenders at Royal St George's after claiming his maiden major at Torrey Pines last month.

Just six players have doubled up by winning both The Open and the U.S. Open in the same year, with Bobby Jones having done so twice before Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods repeated the feat.

Woods managed it in 2000 and Rahm has the chance to join that elite club 21 years on.

"It would be pretty incredible to win both Opens in one year. It would be amazing," said Rahm.

"I did have a sense of relief after winning the first major. I felt like for the better part of five years, all I heard is major, major, major just because I was playing good golf, as if it was easy to win a major championship.

"But the fact that you are expected to win one means nothing, but you're playing good golf, so a bit of relief in that sense, but it doesn't really change.

"There's still the next one to win, so I still come with the same level of excitement obviously and willingness to win.

"I'm focused on the fact it would be pretty incredible to be able to win The Open. Nobody after Seve has been able to do that [from Spain]."

 

Rahm, who will tee off alongside reigning champion Shane Lowry and 2010 winner Louis Oosthuizen on Thursday, also underlined why he was sticking to his plans to play at the Olympics despite many players having opted out of competing in Japan.

"I can't speak for other people, so I don't know why they're opting out of it, you'd have to ask them," he said.

"I'm not going to speak for them. In my case, I've been really fortunate enough to represent Spain at every level as an amateur since I was 13 years old.

"I've been able to win many team events representing Spain worldwide. Once you turn professional you don't really get that chance. You get a little bit of the Ryder Cup, but it's not the same thing as the Olympics or a World Cup maybe.

"To be able to have that chance as a pro, something that up until four or five years ago was not even a possibility, to me it was something I would never doubt.

"You get the chance to call yourself an Olympian, which is only a very select group of people in history that can call themselves that, and if you were to get a medal, especially a gold medal, you're even more of a select group, right?"

U.S. Open winner Jon Rahm will tee off alongside 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year Shane Lowry at the 2021 Open Championship on Thursday.

Spaniard Rahm won his maiden major at Torrey Pines, edging out Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke, and is among the favourites to prevail at Royal St George's this week. 

Lowry was a popular winner when golf's oldest major was held at Royal Portrush two years ago, with the 2020 event having been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Irishman, whose trio goes out at 09:58 local time and also includes 2010 victor Oosthuizen, will seek to become the first man to defend the Claret Jug at the Kent links since Harry Vardon in 1899.

Any superstitious players might have hoped to be drawn in Branden Grace's group, as he has played with the eventual winner in his first two rounds at each of the previous two Opens.

The South African featured with Francesco Molinari at Carnoustie in 2018 and Lowry in Northern Ireland the following year. 

 

Jordan Spieth, a winner in 2017, and 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau are the lucky pair, with that group teeing off at 09:25.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy will head out in the afternoon with Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith, while world number one Dustin Johnson starts his bid for a first Open title at 10:20 with Will Zalatoris and Justin Rose for company.

Brooks Koepka is an 08:45 starter and the star attraction of a threesome that includes Jason Kokrak and Garrick Higgo.

Darren Clarke, who prevailed when last Royal St George's last hosted in 2011, is an 08:25 starter alongside Bernd Wiesberger and amateur Joe Long.

The action will begin at 06:35, with English trio Richard Bland, Andy Sullivan and Marcus Armitage having the honour.

Shane Lowry is eager to embrace every aspect of the challenge he faces in trying to defend his Open Championship title at Royal St George's.

The Irishman claimed his first major title at Royal Portrush in 2019 and has had to wait two years to put the Claret Jug back on the line after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 event.

No player has retained their title at the Kent links since Harry Vardon in 1899 and this week is the 15th time the course has hosted, but for Lowry it is the whole experience of returning to the tournament as defending champion that is motivating him.

"There's a lot of things that I've got to play for this week other than defending the trophy," he said.

"It's a bit of everything. It's being announced on the first tee as defending champion. I'll be happy obviously to get that tee shot away, and if you've seen the rough down the first hole, I'll be happy if it's on the fairway.

"I'm kind of going into this week with an open mind. I'm really looking forward to the week ahead, and I'm looking forward to playing in The Open Championship, because we did miss it last year.

"Coming to play in The Open Championship, whether you're defending or not, is exciting because it's such a big event.

"It's always great to play in The Open. I said one of the coolest things about being The Open champion is I get to play in it for years. I have a lot more left, which is obviously really cool. This is one of them."

Lowry was a hugely popular winner on the island of Ireland last time out and he holds special memories of that triumph, which he sealed by a six-shot margin over Tommy Fleetwood.

"I look back on Portrush with incredible memories and fond memories and something that I'll have no matter what I do for the rest of my career. I'll always have that," he said.

Prior to his Portrush triumph, Lowry had missed the cut in four successive outings at golf's oldest major for a combined score of 23 over par across those eight rounds. 

His success two years ago was founded on stunningly accurate approach play, which saw Lowry hit 79.2 per cent of greens in regulation, putting him out ahead of the field.

Lucas Glover clinched his first PGA Tour win in more than a decade with a two-stroke victory at the John Deere Classic on Sunday.

Glover charged home at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, with a seven-under 64 in the final round.

The American finished at 19 under, two shots clear of Ryan Moore (68) and Kevin Na (68), for his first win since 2011.

Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, was two under for the round through 11 holes before a blistering finish.

He made four straight birdies before another at the 17th on his way to a fourth PGA Tour victory.

"It's been a long 10 years, been some struggles, I've had a couple of good years, but nothing like this, nothing where I had a real chance to win," Glover told the Golf Channel.

"It's great."

Adam Schenk (67), Luke List (68), Scott Brown (69) and overnight leader Sebastian Munoz (71) finished tied for fourth at 16 under.

Min Woo Lee clinched his second European Tour title as he was the last man standing after a three-way play-off at the Scottish Open on Sunday.

The Australian's opening two rounds of 68 and 69 gave Lee a decent platform heading into the weekend, and from there he really found his groove.

A 65 on Saturday was bettered by only Lucas Herbert and Alexander Bjork, while Lee's final-round 64 was second to Ian Poulter's 63, the Englishman setting the clubhouse lead at 17 under par earlier on Sunday.

But Lee rattled off six birdies on the trot on the front nine and he added another after the turn to then set the benchmark at 18 under.

Thomas Detry, who had earlier edged ahead from a five-way tie for the lead, and Matt Fitzpatrick were the only two who could answer the challenge set by Lee.

The trio returned to the 18th for a sudden death play-off, and Lee, who had agonisingly missed a birdie attempt on that hole not long prior, had his eye in when it mattered most.

The 22-year-old sunk a birdie from nine feet to see off his rivals and pocket just shy of £1 million in prize money, as well as securing a spot at next week's Open.

Understandably emotional afterwards, Lee was somewhat stunned at his own performance and dedicated it to loved ones and fans at home.

"It's an awesome day, I was pretty proud of how I played. Six birdies in a row, that was sweet. It kind of happened really quick," he said.

"I could have holed a few more putts, in regulation I missed it by a roll, that was painful but we regrouped and the tournament starts in the play-off, pretty much.

"It's just crazy, I've kind of dreamt of it last night and people back home staying up late to watch me, sending messages. This one is for you too.

"I hit a lot of good shots today, that was just one of them. In that situation, it's a huge moment but I hit so many great shots.

"I've been playing really good in recent weeks and just trending, a few mistakes over the whole tournament and wasn't able to capitalise so it's awesome to do it here. I'll enjoy this one."

Two-time former Masters champion Bubba Watson has withdrawn from the Open Championship.

Watson, who finished sixth last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, said he had come into contact with somebody who has been confirmed as having the COVID-19 virus.

The 42-year-old must therefore stay at home in the United States rather than travel to England for the major, which begins at Royal St George's in Kent on Thursday.

Watson posted a statement to his social media accounts that read: "I am disappointed to announce I will not compete at the Open Championship next week due to having direct exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

"While I am vaccinated and have passed the required pre-travel COVID test, not enough time has passed for me to comfortably join the charter flight and risk exposure to the other players and personnel on board."

He added: "Like many of you, I look forward to watching the Open Championship on TV. Since I will be watching from the comfort of my couch I would not mind seeing the field have to deal with a little rain and strong winds!

"Best of luck to all the players. I look forward to returning to the Open Championship next year."

Watson won the Masters in 2012 and 2014 but has often struggled at The Open, which is the only one of the four majors at which he has failed to register a top-five finish. Indeed, his best performance has been a tie for 23rd place at the 2012 tournament.

Sebastian Munoz signed for a second successive score of 67 to sit one shot clear at the end of the third round of the John Deere Classic.

The Colombian, who has had three top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year, had a trio of birdies and no blemishes on his card after the turn on Saturday, good enough to lift him to 16 under par.

Having held a share of the lead with Chesson Hadley at the end of the first round, Munoz is now just ahead of Brandon Hagy, who also carded a 67.

The 28-year-old will hope to hold off his competitors and add to his solitary tournament win on the PGA Tour, which came at the Sanderson Farms Championship in 2019.

However, on a condensed leaderboard, there are five players sitting well within striking distance on 14 under.

Adam Long (64), Cameron Champ (65), Kevin Na (66) and Ryan Moore (68) are all in the group along with Scott Brown, who burst into contention thanks to a 63 that included a run of six birdies in seven holes.

Overnight leader Luke List had managed the same score as Brown on Friday to move into first place, but his third round did not go quite so well.

After mixing three birdies with the same number of bogeys from the eighth hole onwards in an eventful run either side of the turn, List reeled off five straight pars to close out an even-par 71 that leaves him on 13 under.

American duo Maverick McNealy and Chez Reavie are on that same score, along with Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas.

Thomas Detry is on course to secure a place at The Open after maintaining a share of the lead after the third round of the Scottish Open.

Detry followed a 66 and a 65 during the previous two days with a three-under-par 68, moving him to 14 under for the tournament with 18 holes go.

The Belgian has Matt Fitzpatrick for company at the top of the leaderboard but is within touching distance of sealing a place at Royal St George's next week.

Spots at The Open will be given to the top three players at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick who have not already earned exemptions.

Detry put himself in prime position to take one with a round that featured an eagle at the par-four fifth, which came after he sent his tee shot onto the green.

He also produced an outstanding up and down at the 17th to save par, a magnificent chip from well off the green helping him find the hole in three strokes despite a significantly wayward tee shot.

Jon Rahm is a shot adrift on the back of a third-round 69, while Lucas Herbert is firmly in contention having surged up the leaderboard with a 64.

The Australian carded six birdies and an eagle on the 16th to move to 12 under through 54 holes.

Wade Ormsby and Lee Min Woo are in the final two Open qualification spots having ended the third day in a three-way tie for fifth on 11 under.

John Deere Classic leader Luke List was delighted to be back out on the course and enjoying his golf after a tough time of things in his personal life.

List's newborn son Harrison was in intensive care after contracting a respiratory virus but is thankfully now home and recovering.

However, it was a difficult few weeks for List, who shot a 63 on Friday tomove a shot clear of joint overnight leader Sebastian Munoz.

"It was tough, but it's been amazing to come back," he said.

"Everyone has been asking and praying and thinking about us, so it's kind of cool.

"It's a big family out here, and it's nice to know that you've got everyone's support when it's not going great."

List's card showed eight birdies as he moved to 13 under for the tournament, one clear of Munoz after the Colombian's 67.

A group of seven players sit on 11 under in a tightly congested leaderboard. 

Jon Rahm claimed a share of the lead at the Scottish Open and Rory McIlroy missed the cut as the two European Ryder Cup stars found themselves at the centre of a bizarre incident at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick.

Rahm and McIlroy were playing with Justin Thomas when, on the 10th hole, a spectator walked on to the tee and removed the cover from the Northern Irishman's driver before taking a couple of practice swings with an iron.

"I was surprised. Everyone saw what happened on TV," McIlroy said, as quoted by BBC Sport. "It was handled efficiently and everything was okay. I had no idea who it was."

Rahm claimed the man, who Police Scotland said was taken to hospital after being ejected from the course, smelt of alcohol and added: "I don't think any of us understood what was going on.

"It didn't put anyone off. If anything it put a smile on our faces. It will be a pretty good story to tell in the future."

Rahm's sparkling recent form, which secured the U.S. Open title last month and sees him riding high as world number one, is also shaping up into a pretty good story to tell.

The Spaniard carded eight birdies in a 65 to follow his Thursday 66 for 11 under overall. Belgium's Thomas Detry matched Rahm's scores and England's first-round leader Jack Senior made it a three-way tie at the top.

Lee Westwood stormed into the clubhouse, going eagle, birdie, birdie over the final three holes and is a shot behind the leaders alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and George Coetzee, while Thomas and Ian Poulter are in a group of four players on eight under.

Inebriated interlopers were not the end of McIlroy's concerns, however, as he could only card a level par 71 on Friday, leaving him one under for the tournament and a shot below the cut line.

Colombian Sebastian Munoz and American Chesson Hadley are joint leaders after the opening day of the John Deere Classic in Illinois on Thursday.

Munoz, ranked 75th in the world, hit 17 of 18 greens in his eight-under round which included nine birdies, including five in a row to finish the day.

Hadley, who blew a four-shot lead heading into the final round at the Palmetto Championship three weeks ago, carded an eight-under-63 with eight birdies at the TPC Deere Run.

Hank Lebioda bogeyed on the final hole of the day to let slip a share of the opening day lead.

Lebioda is tied with Chez Reavie and Camilo Villegas at seven under after, marginally ahead of Ryan Moore who carded a six-under-65.

Last week's Rocket Mortgage Classic winner Cameron Davis is four strokes behind the leaders and in contention, landing an eagle on the second hole.

Kevin Na is also four under, with reigning champion Dylan Fritelli carding a three-under 68.

World number 16 Daniel Berger made a 45 foot putt on the ninth hole but finished two under.

World number one Jon Rahm is just two shots off the lead at the Scottish Open after a five-under 66 in the first round. 

Six players, including Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter, matched the recently crowned U.S. Open champion's score during Thursday’s play at The Renaissance Club.

Lee Westwood and Rahm's playing partner Justin Thomas went one better, though, to leave them just behind surprise leader Jack Senior, who carded a seven-under 64.

Rory McIlroy was also in action in the same group as Rahm and Thomas, the Northern Irishman finishing on one under, and Rahm revealed he was in awe of the duo, who have both previously sat on top of the world rankings.

"Playing with Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy with their CVs puts you in your place," he said. "I'm still really far from what they have accomplished. It's certainly motivational, you know?

"I was able to accomplish a dream, something that some people have taken longer to do and to do it at 26, playing some good golf, it's good stuff.

"It's all a motivation to keep playing better and win the tournament.

"I'm not going to lie, I think I might have missed that first tee shot because I'm there sitting with Rory, great player, Justin, great player, and I get announced as world number one, Race to Dubai leader and U.S. Open champion.

"I was just a little surprised by it. I didn't expect it. My ego might have got a little too big, tried to hit a little too hard on one."

World number five Xander Schauffele and Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington were in a group of 14 players sat on four under par.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.