New week, new Bryson – the defending champ in Dubai has a unique take on the vagaries of links golf and puts his recent spat with Brooks Koepka to bed
Some of us really want to like Bryson DeChambeau – we want something different and that doesn’t just mean a quirky pair of trousers. We like the thought process of the one-length clubs, his one-time side-saddle putting stroke, and the way he soaks his golf balls in Epsom to check their centre of gravity. And we particularly like the way that he, when pushed a little, will back down from any sort of confrontation.
He’s even starting to make some strides in his pace of play. He’s contrary and, in a golfing world of same old, same old, contrary is good.
Take this from his pre-tournament press conference on traffic lights in Dubai where he defends this week.
“They are unique in a way,” he said. “I’m serious. They are unique in that they flash green to let you know the light is going to turn yellow and then red. That’s really helpful when it is green and you don’t know when it’s going to go yellow. It gives you a heads up. That stuff is really kind of cool to me. I think it could be implemented in more places.”
A welcome change from “if I can hole a few then I could have a big week” copy-and-paste player textbook of mediocrity.
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DeChambeau likes logic and, unsurprisingly, he likes more rough the wider you stray off line. An opinion that he might want to change given his desire and new-found bulk to smash it as far as possible.
“The farther you hit it off line, the farther you hit it out there, the more penalising it should be. To me, golf is a game of risk-reward. As you get closer to the green it should become a little more difficult. If you want to lay up and have a shot of, say, 200 yards, you can hit the fairway pretty easily. If you hit closer to the green and into a small area, you should be rewarded. But if you hit off-line, then the next shot should be proportionately non-rewarding.”
Spoken like a true 26-year-old.
To his credit, he’s rarely short of a few words, unless he’s missed a cut, but when he’s allowed to talk for a bit too long things go downhill and often quite quickly. When asked about the challenge of links golf which, for many, is the lighthouse in the gloom when it comes to the repetitive nature of watching golf, Team Bryson loses a few followers.
“It’s obviously the way the sport was played originally. As it’s become not just a game but a professional sport where we are playing for our livelihoods, we should be rewarding people that are striking it and playing well. And not rewarding people that may get a fortunate bounce here or there. That’s my take on that. When a lot of money is involved, a course and the game should be proportionately rewarding.”
DeChambeau’s record in the Open reads MC-T51-MC. Let’s put it down to the ignorance of youth and, let’s hope, that in 10 years when he’s standing there with the Claret Jug he’ll be enchanting us with how he’s learnt to love the purest form of the game.
Speaking of Team Bryson he laughed off his recent friendly spat with Brooks Koepka where the World No. 1 took him to the proverbial cleaners with his “2 short of a 6 pack” riposte tweet to his countryman.
“It’s all good fun. Personally to me, I’m way passed that and not even looking at that. I’ve seen Brooks, actually, where I’m staying over the past few days. Everything is fine. It’s not a big deal. There’s a reason why he’s No. 1. I’ve got nothing but respect for him, and he knows that. I think everybody should know that. I’m just trying to do my best each and every day, as he is.”