Bryson DeChambeau overturns a three-stroke deficit to secure first win since remarkable transformation

James Corrigan
The Telegraph
Bryson DeChambeau holds the trophy after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament at Detroit Golf Club. - Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Bryson DeChambeau holds the trophy after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament at Detroit Golf Club. - Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The day after Bryson DeChambeau demanded privacy on the golf course, the American made it impossible to ignore him. No doubt the young American is controversial, but nobody can deny that he has what it takes to fascinate after this bludgeoning victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

“This is the start of the brand new Bryson DeChambeau,” Sir Nick Faldo said on the CBS broadcast. And even in 24 hours, this unique character from California managed to transform himself from the ridiculed to the respected.

On Saturday in Detroit, DeChambeau unleashed a whine for the pampered ages, complaining that a cameraman had dared to keep filming when he was embarking upon a typical strop in a greenside bunker. 

“I understand it’s his job to video me, but at the same point, I think we need to start protecting our players out here compared to showing a potential vulnerability,” DeChambeau later said. “To damage our brand like that, that’s not cool.”

On Sunday night, DeChambeau, 26, made sure his “brand” profited from his sixth PGA Tour victory, thanking them all in Oscar-like style. Whatever the reservations, credit must go to DeChambeau for his first win since his remarkable transformation. 

He has put on 40lbs in the last year to establish himself as the biggest-hitter in the game and 20lbs in the three-month lockdown. DeChambeau has vowed to revolutionise the sport and this was emphatic, eye-straining evidence of a layout being  ridiculously overpowered. The arguments will rage about what should happen next and whether the governing bodies will finally act to arrest the demolition of their fields of play. 

Yet if DeChambeau’s continuing attack on the distance charts results in a turning point for a game desperate to counter this bomb-and-gouge culture then this, too, could be seen as a personal advance through the crossroads. His mission is on track.

This was DeChambeau’s eighth top 10 in succession since he change his name by deed poll from the Mad Scientist into the Incredible Bulk and he moves up to world No 7. His round average in the 16 rounds since returning from the hiatus is just over 66. He is now a combined 67-under par in those four starts since the Tour's restart. At the Detroit Golf Club his driving average was an incredible 350 yards. And it was windy.

Three behind Wolff staring the final round, DeChambeau erased that deficit in just three holes and found himself three ahead after his fifth birdie of the day at the 10th. After seeing his lead cut to one following a trip into the rocks at 13 and a charge from Wolff, DeChambeau birdied the last three.

This true one-off seems destined always to have his critics - what with his slow play, his petulance and now, after Saturday, his entitlement - but this 65 for a 23-under total cannot be debated for its audaciousness and quality as he saw off countryman Matt Wollf by three shots. “No matter how much you wanna say about me, I love everyone,” Dechambeau said.

In third came Kevin Kisner, with two Englishmen in a tie for fourth. Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion, made a pleasing return to form with a 66 for 16-under. Alongside Tyrrell Hatton was his usual laconic self.

Hatton has enjoyed a remarkable spell. In his last six events, the 28-year-old from Buckinghamshire, has now recorded two wins, a third and two top sixes - as well as a wrist operation in this run. 

Hatton was the last Tour winner before the  lockdown and emerged to finish third on his comeback event a fortnight ago. And then he took another week off, before another impressive performance. 

“It's definitely exceeded my expectations,” he said. “With the amount that I practiced leading into for my first tournament in three months at Hilton Head and to have a chance to win was obviously surprising. And then maybe a little bit similar this week where I didn't really have high expectations. 

“My swing didn't feel good in practice and I didn't feel too comfortable, but I’ve grinded it out. The putter has done a great job for me this week. Yeah, you can't really complain with a couple of top 10s.”

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