Bryson DeChambeau’s sideshow is beginning to actually hurt Bryson DeChambeau, the golfer
SANDWICH, England – Bryson DeChambeau stepped onto the first tee on Friday, trying his best to show his self-deprecating side. He pulled out a 4-iron – not the nasty, useless driver who made global headlines the day before – and then played to the crowd when he was booed.
The more the fans bothered him around the first tee, the more he drove them and eventually turned that ridicule into cheers before he was embarrassingly close to exiting the fairway with the 4 iron.
Say this about Bryson: he’s immensely popular with golf galleries.
The spectators love to see how he pulls out the driver and blows him into eternity. He enjoys being a showman. DeChambeau involves them too, and that interaction goes a long way. He often deliberately pulls out an iron just to get the negative reaction before walking up to the driver and hearing applause.
He might be beaten on social media, but DeChambeau is an interesting character too, doing things in unconventional ways that gave golf a boost – through his exercise regimen, food regiment, irons with a single shaft, and even his ongoing feud with Brooks Koepka.
But he can’t avoid himself these days either.
Koepka didn’t help him, he continued to mock and escalate their differences, even on Friday when he tweeted a photo of himself: “Going for the weekend!”
Drive into the weekend! pic.twitter.com/poSQG0mrvC
– Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) July 16, 2021
Bryson seems fine with all of this. But the breakup with his caddy on the eve of the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks ago and then his inexplicable chatter after the first round of the Open about his driver and how it “craps” created unnecessary drama and showed that maybe it is time for a reset.
With all the theatrics, it’s been a pretty mundane 2021 for DeChambeau when it comes to the bottom line – winning. The sideshow overshadowed the main show.
Yes, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which got everyone excited to ride a par 5 at Bay Hill and duel with veteran Lee Westwood. He had a chance to win at the Players a week later, only to top a shot in the water early on the top nine.
He was able to defend his US Open title and led by nine holes in Torrey Pines. Then 44 shot over the last nine and dropped to 26th place. He blamed bad luck for this.
All the banter about his caddy Tim Tucker seemed to get the most out of him at Rocket Mortgage, where he dominated in 2020 but missed the cut this time.
And then, with the caddy problem apparently resolved here, DeChambeau said he was in a good place – only to go to his gear manufacturer Cobra Golf after an initial round of 71.
AP Photo / Peter Morrison
“The driver sucks,” he said, almost unsolicited, in response to a question that almost led him to answer positively; his score of 71 was actually pretty good considering where he met her.
And then the golf world imploded. As incredible as DeChambeau’s frustrating words were, so were those of Ben Schomin, the tour representative for Cobra, who pushed back in an interview with Golfweek and basically said the 27-year-old, eight-time PGA Tour winner had to grow up .
“[On Thursday] I didn’t drive very well and unfortunately it got the best out of me, ”DeChambeau said late Friday after making the 36-hole cut on the number by playing the last five holes in 2 under par. including two good two-putts pars on the last two holes.
DeChambeau declined to speak to the media and various media outlets after his round, according to the R&A – which may have wanted to move on from a man who is miles out of competition. But in his credit, DeChambeau stopped for a group of reporters he knows, apologized, explained his frustration, and said he hoped to get on from all of this.
In this edition of America’s Caddy, Michael Collins travels to the UK to tour the Open Championship host city of Sandwich and speak to three-time Open winner Sir Nick Faldo. Stream on ESPN + now
The big question: can he?
DeChambeau admitted that he was distracted in the second round. His quest to combine his physical strengths with the best of technology is complicated, but it shouldn’t cause so much fear that he overlooks the simple fact that he is swinging a racket on a ball and doing it very well. He’s certainly not alone when it comes to the frustration of where the tees end up.
But, as DeChambeau pointed out, he could have found his way around the Royal St. George’s without meeting so many drivers. He actually did it that Friday, using the club only six times and finding 10 out of 14 fairways – six more than the day before.
The result was just a touch better, but the stress relief could have been worth a lot more.
“I played the game growing up to win tournaments and be one of the best players in the world,” he said. “Of course it would be great not to be famous, but that’s part of it. And there are three or four things going on right now that everyone on the golf course clings to and says.
“It is what is. I’m 27. I’m human. I make mistakes. I keep making them and I have to learn from them.”
Perhaps DeChambeau has learned his lesson. He’ll leave this year without adding a major to his 2020 US Open – and he wasn’t close to any of the four in 2021.
But there are other things to play for, including a World Golf Championship event in a few weeks, the Olympics, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
And of course the Ryder Cup. If DeChambeau doesn’t finish everything by the end of September, it will be a long week in Wisconsin.