Is Bryson DeChambeau good for Golf?
Another week has passed by on the PGA Tour, which means more tears from Bryson DeChambeau. An elite player in his own right, DeChambeau has been in the media for far more reasons than his play. This week it happened on Sunday, where his antics lead to a blow up 41 on the back 9 to blow his chance at winning a WGC (World Golf Championship) event. Lets take a deeper look into Bryson to find out why he is so polarizing, something that the game of golf needs
In the Beginning
Bryson DeChambeau started his professional golf career in April 2016. Nicknamed The Scientist, Bryson was known for approaching the game through a different lens. Bryson implemented some strange tactics, like spinning new balls in a tub of water and Epsom salt to determine balance. He also was one of the first players to use same length irons, with every iron in his bag being exactly 37.5 inches. In a traditional bag, the 4 iron is a half inch longer than the 5, which is a half inch longer than the 6 and so on. He was refreshing, a change of pace to a monotonous game.
Bryson did not catch too much heat when he arrived on tour, and what heat he did catch was somewhat undeserved. The big critique early on was that he was getting too much attention for someone who was not producing wins. Most other players who were getting the ads and marketing deals that Bryson did were proven winners. Although he joined the tour in 2016, he only racked up one win in his first two years. I never understood the hate from that standpoint. I am firm believer in if there is a bag to be gotten, go get that fucking bag. My only critique is that he has the initials B.A.D on his yardage book. Hey nerd, your initials are BJAD, you cant just decide to leave out a letter so it looks cool.
Rising to Stardom
2018 was a good year for Bryson. He won his first big tournament, The Memorial, in June. He tacked on one more win at The Shriners Open and two more wins in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. DeChambeau Finished the year 3rd in the FedEx cup, and he finally looked as if he was hitting his potential.
Bulking Up and Beefing
Towards the end of 2019, Bryson decided that he was going to become the Hulk and hit the ball further than anyone else on tour. Bryson ate copious amounts of protein shakes and attempted to lift weights to gain distance. He also took a shot at Brooks Koepka, a major champion and a fan favorite. DeChambeau basically called Brooks fat, stating that he doesn’t have a 6-pack. Brooks fired back a picture of his 4 major championship trophies saying that he is only two short. Although the bulking up paid some dividends, winning the 2020 US Open, it also may have lead to a change in public perception.
Complaints, Complaints and More Complaints
MR. B.A.D. had built up the record as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, complainers on the PGA Tour. One of the first instances we see of this was the 2020 Memorial tournament. On the 15th hole on Friday, Bryson hit his seconds shot under a fence and out of bounds. Bryson called over a rules official, claiming the ball was half in bounds so he should get to play it. The rules official disagreed. Unsatisfied, the crybaby extraordinaire called over another rules official to try and get a more favorable ruling. The second official agreed with the ruling, leading a pouty faced DeChambeau to a 10 on the hole.
A Few weeks later, Bryson DeChambeau called over a rules official, claiming a free drop due to fire ants near his ball. He tried for 3 minutes to convince an official that he should get the free drop due to dangerous animals in the area, but to no avail. Brooks Koepka later pretended to call an official over for the same reason, getting a laugh once he said it was a joke.
Throughout the pandemic, the dislike has turned to passionate hate between Bryson and Brooks. Both men have taken shots at the other, to the point where fans are clamoring for some physical altercations. The difference between the guys is how they approach it. Bryson has claimed that he enjoys the rivalry and that it doesn’t bother him, where as Brooks has been pretty straightforward with his hatred for Bryson. If you have followed along throughout the Saga, it is very clear that this gets in Brysons head. Brooks fans have started to call Bryson “Brooksie”, and it annoys Bryson to the point where he has had people thrown out of events for saying it. Because of this, we have a golf rivalry brewing that is going to last for a long time.
Is He “Good for Golf”?
Bryson DeChambeau absolutely is good for the game. Everything that he does brings eyes and attention to the game, which it drastically needs. If someone who is not a typical golf fan tunes into an event because of him, that is fantastic regardless of their opinion of him. For too long, golf has been a game where fans just cheer and root for most everyone to succeed. Golf needs rivalries and golf needs villains. The fact that Bryson can supply that to the game while also being a top 10 player in the world is huge. When it comes down to it, the most important thing for the game right now is growth, and Bryson is literally and figuratively growing the game.
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(Featured Image Credit: AP Photo/ Julio Cortez)
-Nick B (@Nick_Beezel on Twitter)