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OWINGS MILLS, Md. – There were many roars for Bryson DeChambeau on Saturday at the BMW Championship, as DeChambeau put on yet another show of brute strength and calculation for the thousands of fans that packed into Caves Valley. Most of the audible approval was for great shots, such as the back-to-back eagles DeChambeau carded on the front nine, which he started 5 under through five holes for the second straight round.
“The fans are amped up,” said Patrick Cantlay, who played alongside DeChambeau on Saturday and enters Sunday tied with him for the lead at 21 under. “Balls are going everywhere, and they're yelling, and there's a lot of long walks with fans right on you in between holes, and they're just amped up and having a good time.”
But not all of them seemed as if they were there to enjoy the moment along with DeChambeau.
When DeChambeau’s tee shot splashed short of the green at the par-3 13th hole, there was a notable presence of cheers amidst the collective groan. And throughout the day, chirps of “Brooksy” and other taunts were launched by hecklers hiding amongst the sea of people.
DeChambeau finds the water again on 13.
A double bogey puts him one back. pic.twitter.com/FQ3HMUnMs4
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 28, 2021
“It can be a distraction if you let it,” added Cantlay, as DeChambeau has not addressed the negative crowds since beginning his strike of the print media in Memphis, “and so I just try and get in my own world and do my own thing.”
The jeering has been a common occurrence in DeChambeau’s galleries for the past couple of seasons, and his feud with Brooks Koepks and Koepka’s fuel to the fire, offering to buy beers for fans who were kicked out for heckling DeChambeau at Memorial, only exacerbated the issue. A few weeks ago in Memphis, as DeChambeau coughed up a late chance at winning, the hecklers were as emboldened as ever.
“It kind of sucks,” said Harris English, who played alongside DeChambeau that Sunday, “and obviously he hears it, and it affects him a little bit and he doesn’t like it, and I think that causes them to do it more. It just sucks that that’s out here right now, that they’re trying to irk people like that. It’s just unfortunate.”
DeChambeau’s former college teammate at SMU, Harry Higgs, agrees.
While he contends that DeChambeau has brought some of the criticism upon himself, Higgs, a fan favorite who has already achieved cult-hero status in the game, believes things are getting out of hand once DeChambeau steps inside the ropes.
“I think it’s wildly inappropriate what goes on,” Higgs told GolfChannel.com on Saturday. “The he and Brooks thing, I don’t really understand it … and neither one of them has acted as they should at times, but you know, no one’s perfect, either. I watched Memphis and it affected Harris, it affected Bryson, and I don’t understand why someone who buys a ticket to an event thinks that they get to have a hand in how it plays out, and there’s starting to be a few too many people who are doing that, and then a lot of those people are following Bryson.
“It’s not in the spirit of the game, it’s not how any of us grew up, it’s not how any of us were ever told to act while at a golf course or competing.”
DeChambeau tees off at 1:55 p.m. ET Sunday as he attempts to win for the third time this season. Should he win, he’ll likely have hundreds applauding and cheering him on along the way. But he’ll also probably have to hear from – or deal with – a handful of people who don’t want him to win.
Higgs is rooting for his fellow Mustang to silence the negativity.
“I think we’ve seen him probably struggle a little bit to close out tournaments the last few weeks, and it’s gotta be difficult because it takes, I’m sure, a lot of energy out of him,” Higgs said. “I’ll root for him unless I can shoot like 47. … I’d love to see him put a stamp on it this week, and really run away with it, and close one out with all this extra stuff that the poor guy has to deal with.”