Jeered and maligned, Bryson DeChambeau facing another 'growing moment'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

SANDWICH, England – Bright sun from an English summer did little to lighten Bryson DeChambeau’s mood, which was only slightly improved by a second-round 70 that left him just inside the cut line and a dozen strokes adrift of The Open lead. He’s good at math and knows that there’s no equation that works for him in this scenario.

He also knows he’s just given himself two more days to endure the slings and arrows of a relentless world, following a meltdown on Day 1 that can be easily summed up: “The driver sucks.” That was DeChambeau’s less-than-ideal take on his performance on Thursday at Royal St. George’s, where he managed to hit just four fairways.

The blowback was swift and sharp. A rep with his equipment company, Cobra, defended the driver and compared DeChambeau to an “8-year-old,” before a hastily compiled statement issued by Bryson via social media did little to lower the temperature.

“I made a mistake and as time goes on, I’ll look back at this as a growing moment for me and hopefully I can make the right things go on from here on out,” DeChambeau said Friday. “I was in a heated situation and feel really bad about it.”

149th Open Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage

Whether it was a misbehaving driver or his misplaced comments, DeChambeau spent most of his second round slump-shouldered, distracted and alone with his thoughts. There was no escaping the obvious, that the mistakes – some self-inflicted while others heaped on him – are starting to mount.

At the PGA Championship earlier this season, DeChambeau talked of limiting distractions in his life, but they’ve only since multiplied.

There’s the ongoing beef with Brooks Koepka that has escalated dramatically. Koepka predictably joined the fray post-round on Friday when he beamed, unprovoked, to the media, “I love my driver.” Subtle and maybe a little mean, but then DeChambeau has certainly earned the abuse.

Then there was the split with his caddie, Tim Tucker, at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and a curious decision to not talk to the media at an event where he’s a brand ambassador.

Now it’s driver-gate.

After 65, Brooks Koepka jabs Bryson DeChambeau: 'Love my driver'

After being pummeled by the United Kingdom press for his driver comments, he was met with a chorus of boos on the first tee on Day 2. Even the English fans have taken to taunting DeChambeau with cheers of, “Come on, Brooksie,” which feels like rock bottom on the etiquette front.

He’d like to be above it all and believe that the slights and slurs have no impact on him – he’s not. He’d like to think this is just a passing storm that will fade into the next news cycle – it won’t.

“I’ve messed up a couple of times in my career and every time I mess up, I learn from it and this is another learning moment,” he offered.

There was some irony that he opted for a more small-ball approach on Day 2 at Royal St. George’s, hitting driver just six times.

“That’s what I was doing today,” he said. “There are holes where you still need to hit driver and I’m OK with that. I understand the risks associated with that and I’m willing to take that risk on.”

'Poor planning' at root of Bryson's driver drama

He also explained that it wasn’t just his driver on Day 1 that was the problem and that he needs to improve his wedge play, as well. “That’s not my strong suit,” he said. “I’m trying to drive some greens and the misses can get wild sometimes.”

But mostly he tried to come to grips with another mistake and more noise, all of it self-inflicted and easily avoidable.

“I would love that to be the case,” he said when asked if he’d prefer a stress-free life. “There are three or four things going on right now that everybody latches onto and says out there on the golf course. I’m 27, I’m human, I make mistakes.”

The mistakes are mounting for DeChambeau and it’s starting to become difficult to distinguish between the player and the faux pas.

Comparing DeChambeau to an 8-year-old was not the best PR, but the comment did come with a dollop of truth, and Friday’s round at The Open was nothing less than an oversized mirror and a reflection that Bryson desperately needs to change.