The Match, the history books of the big event

After roughly 10 million memes, countless sound bites and the Ryder Cup hug seen ‘round the world, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will bring their rivalry to the fifth edition of “The Match,” scheduled for Friday in Las Vegas.

While the feud has generated plenty of additional interest in both players, there would be little reason to invest in their back-and-forth if both Koepka and DeChambeau weren’t exceptionally talented. DeChambeau’s unprecedented distance and approach to dismantling golf courses can shake up a field before the opening tee shot is struck. Koepka, meanwhile, has assembled an historic record in the majors, consistently stalking the game’s biggest leaderboards.

The Pga Tour web site examines the resumes and respective games of both stars in advance of Friday’s mano-a-mano affair.

The Match, stats

5
The number of players to win both the U.S. Amateur and NCAA Division I individual title in the same year, which DeChambeau did in 2015. The others? Jack Nicklaus (1961), Phil Mickelson (1990), Tiger Woods (1996) and Ryan Moore (2004).

6
DeChambeau’s 6-shot win in the 2020 U.S. Open was the largest margin of victory since Martin Kaymer’s 8-shot romp in 2014, and marked the first time that the winner of the championship was the only player in the field under par since Woods in 2002.

7.9
The number of strokes DeChambeau gained on the field with his final-round 67 at Winged Foot. The scoring average that Sunday was 74.9. It was the most strokes gained in the final round by a U.S. Open champion since Johnny Miller’s historic 63 in 1973.

7
Koepka is one of seven players since World War II to win four majors before his 30th birthday.

1
The number of players to hold two back-to-back major championship titles simultaneously. Koepka became the only player to do that after winning the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Opens and 2018 and 2019 PGA Championships. When Koepka finished second to Gary Woodland in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, he joined Bobby Jones as the only players in the last 100 years to finish first or second in the U.S. Open three consecutive years.

-25
Koepka’s three-year cumulative score to par at the U.S. Open from 2017-19 was a preposterous 25 under. Not only is that the best three-year score of all-time, it’s 13 shots better than anyone else. Nicklaus was -12 from 1980-82, while Woods tied that from 2000-2002. 

4
Koepka won his four majors in an eight-start span, something only Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods have done.

-92
Since the beginning of 2016, Koepka is a combined 92 under par in major championships, 64 shots better than any other player. Dustin Johnson is second in that span at 28 under.

STATISTICAL STRENGTHS

2
Number of times DeChambeau has set the TOUR’s single-season driving distance record. His average measured tee shot in 2020 was 322.1, the highest in any single season in TOUR history. He broke his own record the following season, posting a clip of 323.7. Last season, he led the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, average distance of all drives and percentage of drives hit more than 320 yards (56.3%).

350.6 yards
DeChambeau’s driving-distance average at the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic, the highest ever for a player in the week of his victory.

42 feet, 6 inches
DeChambeau’s average proximity on approach shots from outside 200 yards, the best on TOUR last season by nearly 10 feet. DeChambeau’s average score in relation to par in those situations was a stellar -0.29 – fourth-best on TOUR.

22.5
DeChambeau’s average ranking in Strokes Gained: Putting in the past four seasons, proving that he’s both driving and putting for dough. He is one of just four players to be ranked in the top 35 on TOUR in that stat each of the last four years, joining Webb Simpson, Denny McCarthy and Kevin Kisner.

8th
Koepka’s rank in Strokes Gained: Total last season, the best of his career. He was one of just eight players to rank in the top 25 in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green last season. The average TOUR player gains two or more strokes on the field tee-to-green about 19% of the time. Koepka did that nearly twice as often in 2020-2021.

1st
As proof that Koepka thrives in tough conditions, he leads all players in both total driving and greens in regulation in the U.S. Open over the last 20 years (minimum 20 rounds played in that span).

4.22
Koepka has averaged 4.22 birdies-or-better per round in the majors since 2016. The only other player to average 4 or more in that stretch is Collin Morikawa (4.03).

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