All the ups and downs of Bryson DeChambeau’s crazy year

It would be hard to get past the kind of drama that Bryson De Chambeau ended up in 2021. He’s only won once on the PGA Tour, but the man who transformed his body in less than two years to become the longest driver on the circuit has certainly been a subject of major discussion throughout a hectic golf season – even when not wrestling.

Winner of the 2020 US Open, DeChambeau added the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March for his eighth PGA Tour victory.

And yet, despite playing at times solid, he did not win again, posting a total of six Top 10 rankings in 20 world events. He is now ranked seventh in the world.

DeChambeau has not played an official event since the Tour Championship in early September. He then played the Ryder Cup followed by the Professional Long Drivers Association event.

As far as we know he has more power and muscle after a year that has seen him become the subject of controversy and a month quarrel with Brooks koepka leading up to the Friday festivities in Las Vegas.

Now he’s set to join nemesis Koepka in a 12-hole-made grudge encounter made for television called “The Match”. This is the fifth version of the series that started with Tiger woods and Phil mickelson in 2018. This will be DeChambeau’s second appearance.

It’s fair to wonder if the two have really settled their differences to the point that now the arch enemies are in fact good enough with each other to get along for a few hours on national television for a paycheck.

Does that make their months-long “feud” more artificial now that they’ve apparently had a truce at the Ryder Cup and are taking part in that Thanksgiving weekend outing? Or does the bad blood stay?

We’ll get some of those answers over the course of the competition, but for now it seems safe to look back on the good and bad of an incredibly busy year for DeChambeau.

Good Bryson

1. The hill by the bay

DeChambeau’s mission is to strike a tee shot across a lake on the sixth hole par 5 at Bay Hill Club, site of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

On Saturday, the circumstances arose and DeChambeau hit a 370-yard tee shot on the 555-yard hole that ended 50 yards from the green. He stalled, doubled for a birdie and was the talking point of the tournament.

“I felt like a kid again. It was exciting,” he said.

DeChambeau played the final round with the 54-hole point guard Lee westwood and did the same on Sunday. He ended up winning in a close duel with the Englishman for his eighth victory on the PGA Tour. His exploits dominated the discussion, but his victory was also impressive on a demanding course with Westwood alongside DeChambeau to the last hole.

Perhaps most surprisingly, this was DeChambeau’s only victory in 2021, despite many chances.

2. Ryder Cup

DeChambeau didn’t disappoint at the Ryder Cup, where he drove the first green in his Sunday singles game, a 417-yard bomb that set up an eagle-long putt – in which he rolled. It was great theater and set the tone for a triumphant day as the United States won an easy victory over Europe.

It was also part of a feel-good story for DeChambeau, who never let Koepka’s chatter become an issue and went 2-0-1 in the competition after poor performances at the 2018 Ryder Cup and at the Presidents Cup 2019.

3. Long distance competition

Few thought it was a good idea for DeChambeau to compete in the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championships. The event was scheduled to begin the Tuesday following the Ryder Cup. Training for long trips is a different animal than preparing for tournament golf, especially Ryder Cup golf.

But DeChambeau was not deterred and walked away with great respect. Less than two years after embarking on an in-depth weight gain and muscle building program, DeChambeau was more than competitive at the event. With 80 players in competition, DeChambeau advanced to the last day, where he finished seventh.

“I’m so proud of Bryson,” said Kyle Berkshire, who won the event. He came here and put himself in a position that few thought he would do right. He held his own against the absolute best and reached the last eight on his first try after coming back from the Ryder Cup. It’s phenomenal and I’m not just saying in the context of golf – it’s one of the greatest athletic achievements I’ve seen. ”

DeChambeau’s longest drive on the final day was 408 yards.

4. Koepka’s quarrel

It has taken all kinds of forms over the past six months, some going beyond dumb. But unless you take issue with DeChambeau reporting spectators who harassed him during the competition, he handled this situation pretty well.

Remember, DeChambeau really did nothing to rekindle the tension between the two golfers. He innocently walked along a path from the scoring area to the locker room after the second round of the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, and apparently bemoaned his plight for those around him. It was within earshot of Koepka, who was conducting a taped interview with the Golf Channel. This chatter apparently distracted Koepka, who stopped, rolled his eyes, expressed disbelief – and demanded to resume the interview.

This interview was later leaked and then exploded. And for quite a while, Koepka had no problem letting it fester, taking social media hits, and enjoying the fallout. The “Come on Brooksy” chants that became common in tournaments and were meant to annoy DeChambeau penetrated the golfer’s skin, but were largely lame.

Bad Bryson

1. The driver

After being innocently questioned about his first round 71 at the Open, DeChambeau went wild over his equipment, saying his driver “sucks”.

“That’s not a good face to me and we’re still trying to figure out how to do it right on misfires. I live on a razor’s edge like I’ve been telling people for a long time,” he said. . “When I got it off the fairway, like in the first cut and so on, I grabbed the jumpers away and I couldn’t control my corners.”

It didn’t go very well with its equipment maker and endorser, Cobra. The company’s director of tour operations, Ben Shoman – who had caddied for DeChambeau two weeks earlier at the Rocket Mortgage Classic – publicly pushed back, telling Golfweek: “He’s never really been happy, ever. Like, c ‘is very rare where he’s happy.’ ‘And, “It’s just really, really painful when he says something so stupid.”

To DeChambeau’s credit, a day later he met a group of reporters, apologized and explained his frustrations.

2. The US Open

DeChambeau was in a position to defend his title at the US Open. With nine holes to go, he led to Torrey Pines. And then he collapsed, shooting a 44 back nine that led to a final round of 77. He fell in the standings. Bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes dropped him 3 shots from the head. On the 13th hole, his foot slipped on his tee shot, which led to a double bogey 7 which effectively knocked him out.

He blamed his woes bad luck.

“I must have been a little lucky, and I was for the first three and a half days and just wasn’t lucky the last nine,” he explained. “But that plays a huge role in big golf championships. It’s probably over 50% in most scenarios. There are times when I hit him in the fairways and hit him in a divot. just a part. ”

3. COVID-19

DeChambeau was due to leave for Tokyo and the Olympics when he failed a COVID-19 test under pre-travel protocols. He returned a week after the Olympics to the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where despite losing 10 pounds and feeling fatigued, he told reporters he did not regret his decision not to get the coronavirus vaccine – and added misinformation.

“The vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent it from happening,” DeChambeau said. “I’m quite young, I’d rather give it away [the vaccine] to people who need it. I do not need it. I am a young and healthy person who will continue to work on my health.

“I don’t think taking the vaccine away from someone who needs it is a good thing. My father is a perfect example. He got it. [the vaccine] very early because he has diabetes. People like that need to understand. My mom got it. I don’t want to take that ability away.

“Now that time is passing, if he [the vaccine] is mainstream, really, really mainstream, so yeah. ”

In August, as is the case today, there was no shortage of vaccines in the United States. Additionally, at the time, the CDC reported that more than 95% of hospitalizations and deaths were in unvaccinated people.

The backlash was quite severe, especially on social networks. In the process, DeChambeau decided not to speak to the print media, which he maintained throughout the FedEx Cup qualifiers. It didn’t stop until the Ryder Cup.

4. Rocket mortgage

DeChambeau’s defense of his Rocket Mortgage title did not go well. This happened between the last nine explosion at the US Open, before driver issues at the Open, and meant it was the subject of more criticism.

The fact that he missed the cut was the least of his problems. On the eve of the tournament, DeChambeau and longtime caddy Tim Tucker went their separate ways. It was odd timing, considering the caddy was there, worked the pro-am, but didn’t then work the tournament. DeChambeau suggested it was a mutual separation, but it seemed like Tucker would have just decided he had had enough.

The two hit the high road afterwards, but DeChambeau did not speak to the media after the first or second round – although he was sponsored by Rocket Mortgage – lent himself to criticism.

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