How Bryson DeChambeau became the top villain in golf

by | Sep 19, 2021 | Golf Balls

On Friday, September 24th, the 43rd Ryder Cup – the biennial golf match between teams from the US and Europe – begins in Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. While it’s always a highly competitive event, this year’s edition is even more enticing with the inclusion of the biggest bad guy the sport has ever seen.

Yes, in a game where players are considered “colorful” just because they wear light-colored pants, the behavior of Californian Bryson DeChambeau on and off the course has made him one of the most controversial golf professionals of recent times.

The world’s number 9 player disheveled by publicly refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and skirmishing with fans and green cameramen.

“Neither of us are perfect,” DeChambeau coach Mike Schy told the Post.

In July, it was announced that longtime Bryson caddy Tim Tucker had resigned shortly before DeChambeau was due to defend his title at the Rocket Mortgage Classic – allegedly because of insults from the golfer.

While DeChambeau was having an argument, Tucker told, “We had a very intense relationship where he worked long hours. It was a bit that I wasn’t 100 percent healthy and happy. “

In the final round of the BMW Championship at the end of August, DeChambeau even berated his playing partner – and soon-to-be Ryder Cup teammate – Patrick Cantlay for walking when DeChambeau was playing. The pair went through a marathon playoff for the title before Cantlay finally won, leaving a pouting DeChambeau to ignore the media, jump in a car and get off the track, all before his opponent picked up the trophy .

Fans upset DeChambeau by chanting the name of his rival Brooks Koepka.EPA

Bryson's longtime caddy Tim Tucker (left) quit before a big game - allegedly because of verbal abuse. Bryson’s longtime caddy Tim Tucker (left) quit before a big game – allegedly because of verbal abuse. Getty Images

And then there is DeChambeau’s biggest rival, Ryder Cup teammate Brooks Koepka.
What began as a debate about DeChambeau’s pace of play took on a new level at the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island, SC when DeChambeau paused a Golf Channel interview with Koepka – causing Koepka to post him after his “Bull-t “Called the cameras.

After that, fans started bothering DeChambeau during the game and saying “Brooksie!” (Koepka then offered to send a beer to anyone who was kicked out for it.) It got so bad that Dechambeau yelled at last month’s BMW Championship, “You know what? Get the FK out! “

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has now ordered that anyone caught calling “Brooksie” be expelled from the course.

“Bryson is just different. Here is this kid who strangely wields a club. . . and because of the way his brain works, he also behaves a little differently, ”said Coach Schy.

“And to top it all off, he’s wearing a stupid flat cap. Combine all of these things and you are a big goal. “

Whatever it is, DeChambeau is rubbing other professionals the wrong way.

English Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter tweeted that DeChambeau was “not my thing,” while Poulter’s compatriot Eddie Pepperell was less diplomatic, calling him a “one-sided fool”.

PFA Tour professional Brendon Todd described the 28-year-old DeChambeau as “crazy” in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Former European Ryder Cup player and captain Mark James was more generous, telling The Post: “I think Bryson is a huge talent but too many things he says and does are an attempt to create a public image. “

Schy told the Post in the controversy that it is about both the mannered golf world and DeChambeau’s eccentricity and temperament.

“Golf is a conservative sport and people don’t really embrace change. I literally have parents who come up to me and say, ‘You’re not going to teach my child the way you teach Bryson, are you?’ “Said Schy. “I mean why? The guy’s a big winner.”

DeChambeau was lithe (above) in front of a 40-pound bulk up (below).DeChambeau was lithe (above) in front of a 40-pound bulk up (below).Robert Sabo

His muscle building helps him hit the ball 20 yards further than other players.His muscle building helps him hit the ball 20 yards further than other players.AP

Dubbed “The Scientist,” DeChambeau takes an obsessive, data-driven approach to golf. Not only are his irons the same length (unlike any other player’s), but he also floated his golf balls in Epsom salts to determine their exact center of gravity. When he plays, he likes to know the air pressure in the atmosphere and even the juice content of the turf used on the golf course.

“I have to find the most scientifically efficient way to get the golf ball into the hole,” said DeChambeau, who majored in physics in college.

He grew up in Clovis, a town in California’s Central Valley, as one of two sons to a sales rep and a father who was a PGA player and golf shop manager.

Schy met DeChambeau when the player was just 7 years old and began coaching him five years later. “I hate to say we were perfect for each other,” he said. “My coaching environment is more like a science project that for the most part went really wrong.”

DeChambeau played golf at Southern Methodist University and won the NCAA Individual Championship in 2015. That same year he joined the PGA Tour as an amateur and turned pro in 2016, winning the Shriners Open.

During the 2020 COVID lockdown, DeChambeau reinvented himself and gained 40 pounds – much of it muscle. Now that he looks like a superhero, he slams the ball further than anyone else: averaging about 323 yards for his drives, well ahead of the PGA Tour average of 295 yards.

Bryson is just different. And to top it off, he’s still wearing a stupid flat cap.

DeChambeau trainer Mike Schy

“Like everything he does, he’s a madman. If you watch him training, he’s in beast mode, ”said Schy. “When he told me he was going to start building mass, I was all for it as long as it was structured and monitored.

“But Bryson’s main concern was the cost of his trainer’s visit. He said, ‘The hour is $ 400 and I have to fly.’ [to Colorado] to see him. ‘ Three years later he is now flying there privately. “

However, DeChambeau is also one of the slowest players on the tour, which is the cardinal sin of the game. At the Northern Trust Open 2019, for example, he was widely criticized for taking more than two minutes to hit a putt that was no more than eight feet long.

DeChambeau – who was romantically linked to medical student Sophia Bertolami – doesn’t care. In fact, he lives from it.

“You can all say what you want, but we’re having an amazing time,” he said in a Snapchat rant in August 2019. “So fuck all haters, no big deal. I still love you all, even if you hate me. “

Schy said very few people ever see the real DeChambeau.

“When he’s back home hanging out with the kids at my facility, that’s the real Bryson,” he explains. “You can see that he is drawn to the children who are a bit different, like the super-intelligent ones who just seem to speak his language. So it’s not Bryson, the superstar or grand prize winner. It’s just Bryson, the fool. “

The Ryder Cup fear is high as DeChambeau will work with Cantlay – the man who pissed him off this summer – and be on the team with his main rival Koepka.

U.S. team captain Steve Stricker’s biggest concern is that DeChambeau’s polarizing presence will affect the Americans’s ability to match the European’s team spirit – the latter having resulted in seven wins in the last nine Ryder Cups.

Golf Digest recently reported that Stricker had invited the six players who qualified for the team – including Koepka and DeChambeau – to dinner. It was an attempt to reduce the simmering tension between the two and to foster team spirit. “It was a good dinner.

We enjoyed it and it was fun, ”Koepka said later.

But did he and DeChambeau talk about their spit?

“No,” he replied before repeating something threateningly. “No.”

Perversely, the two Schys are a dream pairing for the two-on-two games. “There aren’t many people more patriotic than Bryson, but it would take some nerves from Steve Stricker to pair Bryson and Brooks Koepka. Personally, I think it’s great, ”said Schy.

Mike Harris, editor of Golf Monthly magazine, argues that all is well for the game.

“DeChambeau has undoubtedly put himself in the line of fire with fans, the media and other players. . . But I do believe that the negative reaction is disproportionate to the “crime” of being different and having an opinion, “Harris said. “Golf urgently needs characters who are innovative and move the needle. Bryson DeChambeau definitely does that. “