Part Happy Gilmore, part Shooter McGavin, part giant dork.
To follow Bryson DeChambeau’s career is to be subjected to golf in all of its extremes.
AdvertisementAdvertisementDeChambeau made birdie from there, then did the same thing the next day in winning the tournament by a shot. When it was all over, Golf Channel’s Steve Sands asked DeChambeau about the final round.”First off, I gotta thank my sponsors: Bridgestone, Tour B X, Cobra RadSpeed, uh, HC Golf, and, uh, a bunch of other sponsors as well,” he said. “Rolex, OneStream Software. They’ve all been instrumental in helping me be here. But I will say it’s been quite a battle this whole entire time. I don’t even know what to say to win at Mr. Palmer’s event. It’s gonna make me cry.” If he did shed tears, it didn’t happen on camera.
AdvertisementTo follow DeChambeau’s career is to be subjected to golf in all of its extremes. You will witness a level of athletic dominance greater than any golfer not named Tiger Woods has recently produced, though even that caveat might not be necessary because Bryson smashes the ball further than Tiger did at his peak. He is a jolt to a sedate sport, a player who fires up the crowd more than anyone, again save Tiger. He also pushes every boundary that should be pushed, and some that nobody before him had even recognized as pushable. Watching and listening to him also means subjecting yourself to a level of self-involvement, corporate robo-speak, and rapaciousness that’s absurd even by the lofty standards of a sport that has never pretended to be for everyone. The simplest way to sum up the DeChambeau experience: When he swings a club, he propels golf forward. When he does anything else, he’s a reminder of all the ways golf has refused to move forward at all.
AdvertisementAdvertisementDeChambeau morphed into his present form just in the past two years. He spent much of the 2019 season packing on muscle, then packed on more when the tour paused at the beginning of the pandemic. “I said, ‘You know what, I want to try and get stronger, because I know there’s an advantage to be gained,’” headtopics.com
he told reporters. “If I could be like Happy Gilmore or [World Long Drive champ] Kyle Berkshire, hitting over 400 yards and hitting it straight? That is a massive, massive advantage.”The advantage is quantifiable via the “strokes gained” statistic, which measures how a player compares with the competition in each attribute of the game. Off the tee this season, DeChambeau
gains1.14 strokes per round on the rest of the field. The difference between him and No. 2 Sergio Garcia (a third of a stroke per round) is roughly equal to the difference between Garcia and No. 20 Jason Day. From tee to green, DeChambeau gains 2.1 strokes per round, nearly half a stroke better than No. 2 Jon Rahm. DeChambeau has a solid short game, but his driving distance—320.8 yards on average, tops on tour—and skill are why he leads the tour in scoring average and contends in seemingly every tournament. If you prefer art to math, just watch these moon balls:Read more: Slate »
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