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Chris Como first emerged as one of the top up-and-coming golf instructors in the game when some guy named Tiger Woods announced he was working with him in 2014.
While that partnership failed to net a major for Woods – he won the 2019 Masters after they parted ways – Como has been part of Team Bryson and helped DeChambeau change his swing as he added bulk to his frame and distance to his drives. It all culminated in a victory at the 2020 U.S. Open and with Como being one of the first people that DeChambeau thanked.
We spoke with Como from a Golf Galaxy store, one of his partners, in Dallas.
Q: How did you first connect with Bryson?
Chris Como: We’ve been friends for quite a while. We had talked golf swing years before we started working together so we were on each other’s radar long before we teamed up. We both live in Dallas and the relationship just evolved from chatting about the golf swing to let’s work on some stuff here and there to let’s really go all in on working on things.
Q: How would you describe the transition from Bryson’s longtime teacher Mike Schy to working primarily with you on his golf swing.
CC: So much of what he’s doing is still the years of working with Mike and he still plays a role in things. There wasn’t really a clear transition. It was just one of those things where Bryson and myself speak a similar language and we started going down some rabbit holes and he started playing well. Again, we’re all part of this bigger team where we’re coming from a place of what’s in the best interest of Bryson and that’s to all work together in some capacity.
Q: How does Bryson remind you of Tiger?
CC: They both are on that never-ending quest to get better. That’s a weird thing in that sometimes people when they are trying to get better get worse. Some would argue that Tiger shouldn’t have changed his swing in 2000. I don’t know. I agree that his swing in 2000 is probably the best anyone has ever swung a golf club but it is a 20/20 hindsight argument because at the end of the day him trying to keep getting better was the same process he had had his whole life and I think Bryson really adopts that whole process of every day regardless of where’s he’s at with his game – even if he just won the U.S. Open or Bay Hill – he’s trying to get better.
For example, he just wins Bay Hill, I see him at Players and there wasn’t that much of a celebration. It was right on to these are the shots we missed at Bay Hill and let’s try to fix these. Regardless of his success he’s always looking forward to what’s the next step to getting better at this game.
What’s the biggest misconception about Bryson?
CC: I think it’s that he’s this uber-technical golfer with no feel. He’s so gifted from a feel perspective, from a creativity perspective and has an artistic side to him and how he plays the game. So, he’s not a robot just crunching numbers. He’s trying to use both aspects of him – the analytical and the creative – and from my perspective as a coach I’m very aware of what his feels are, trying to interpret them as best as possible and we’re trying to bridge these two worlds together so he can perform at the highest level for himself.
Q: What’s the best example of his artistry?
CC: Just the way he can do all sorts of weird stuff like sign his name backwards with his lefthand. He can draw really well. But on the golf course, if you watch him, he’s hitting really crazy shots oftentimes. We had a range session at the Players where he was hitting all these goofy swings that looked wild but that’s him trying to get connected with his body and play with different feels.
There’s no measurement device that can explain what he’s doing but it is just this intuitive process he was doing to re-set his body and get connected to his feels again. That’s how he plays the game. He’s a much more feel player than people give him credit for being.
Q: What did you make of him trying to drive par-5 sixth green at Bay Hill during the Arnold Palmer Invitational?
CC: That was fun. He thought it was strategically the right play even though it had a certain amount of risk, but that risk was part of the overall distribution and the upside for him was high enough that he was willing to take on the risk and he felt like the likelihood of him being successful warranted the whole thing to be the right decision regardless of the outcome. To be able to pull it off made for some great entertainment.
Q: Did you try to talk him out of doing it?
CC: No, why would I? (Laughs) That was such a net positive, right? From one perspective it was strategically the right thing and from another perspective just the drama of it, right? These guys are in the entertainment business. If you can hit a shot like that and pull it off and get the reaction he did it’s such a huge win from so many different perspectives.
Q: Can Augusta National really be overpowered?
CC: Probably not. The club is so smart about being ahead of the players that I’d be surprised if it really is overpowered again like Tiger did in 1997. When I hear of it being overpowered I’m thinking of a person playing it differently than the rest of the field and because of it creating a big gap in the scoring and I don’t you’ll ever see that happen again.
Q: Does Bryson rely on the green-reading books too much?
CC: He’s one of the best putters on Tour so I don’t know what you mean by too much. He relies on it in the fashion that he thinks is appropriate. Statistically, he’s as good as it gets on Tour. I think he was tops inside 10 feet on Tour last year, so, it’s hard for me to be critical of whether it’s too much or not when the results are at as high of level as they currently are.
He just has a great group of people around him. Bryson is very demanding in a great way. He’s always trying to get better and he wants the people around him to get better with what they’re doing and help him in the process. Everyone has stepped up in the process. I think everyone has stepped up to the challenge. We’re all trying to do our jobs at the level that he’s doing his job.
Q: With Bryson’s unique diet did you pick up any habits from him? Did you gain any weight as a result of being around him while he was beefing up?
CC: Did I? No. I’ve got my own weird diet. I don’t mimic him.