A buffed-out Bryson DeChambeau shoved Colonial in a locker on Thursday
It was welcomed as a farce. That was the consensus among golf fans, the media and other players about Bryson DeChambeau's physical transformation last fall. DeChambeau's eccentric nature has always been ridiculous in conservative sports, and his zeal only reinforces the mockery. The amusement grew when DeChambeau did the same until 2020, and when Bryson first appeared on Thursday after the lockdown, he looked very much like a man who had avoided Netflix because of a bowflex into a field day against DeChambeau. (It didn't help that DeChambeau's social account released a 15-minute video with a "Rocky IV" training montage before it broke off.)
It was only at the end of his first round at the Colonial Country Club that these social problems were silenced, instead an unspoken finding: The fear that we would only wake a sleeping giant and fill it with terrible determination.
A savvy DeChambeau is at the top of the Charles Schwab Challenge leaderboard and pushes Colonial into a locker with a five-under-65-year-old.
"Yes, it was great. It's great to be back, ”DeChambeau said Thursday. "I'm very happy to be back and it's nice to shoot five down. It's never bad. I really didn't know what to expect today, to be honest, and was very excited with a five of that To get out of the bar. "
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It was an achievement that was driven by power. Bryson's newly discovered power enabled him to cut through the notoriously narrow neighborhood of Colonial, which acted as a kind of cheat button and a sight that would have sent Ben Hogan to his grave if he hadn't died 23 years earlier.
When he wasn't flying over trees, DeChambeau decided to fly past competitors. His partner Dustin Johnson, who has been no less than sixth on the route since 2008, was on average 302.7 meters from the tee on Thursday ... just 40 meters shorter than DeChambeau (345.4 meters to be exact) ). DeChambeau took two strikes against the field from the tee, preferably under the morning wave.
The fact is that DeChambeau was disappointed that he could not fully utilize his strength against Colonial, one of the shorter routes on tour.
"There are only a few holes I can use, # 11 and # 1 and # 2 really," said DeChambeau reluctantly.
If the show feels like a surprise on Thursday, you will be awarded. It's been a busy few months. In this period of uncertainty, DeChambeau's success is anything but surprising.
What remained largely unspoken this season was that DeChambeau's strategy to win big worked. When golf went into its pandemic sabbatical at the Players Championship, DeChambeau had four top fives in seven starts of the year, taking first place on the tour in the distance and third place in the strokes won. He added over 19 yards (321.3) to his average ride.
"It was pretty cool to see. I played really well before COVID arrived, ”DeChambeau told Golf Digest in May.
FORT WORTH, TX - June 10, 2020 Charles Schwab. Challenge, first round. Photographed at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, TX on June 11, 2020. Photo © 2020 Darren Carroll
Photo by: Darren Carroll for Golf Digest
Darren Carroll for Golf Digest
What inspired DeChambeau's trip to the gym is simple. Although DeChambeau won six times in 18 months and ranked fifth in the OWGR, he felt he was falling behind bombers like Koepka, McIlroy and Thomas. It wasn't just their removal; it was that they seemed to have wedges in their hands every time they approached.
"The Stokes won have proven to be great statistics for me," said DeChambeau. "I think shorter clubs in longer holes will give me a significant advantage."
DeChambeau said he didn't have a target weight and that shows it. Since we last saw him at TPC Sawgrass, the former U.S. amateur and NCAA champion has doubled his metamorphosis and gained an additional 20 pounds in the past three months, focusing on speed training to increase ball speed. The distance, the pounds. are less ambitions than elements of a process.
"I just want to keep improving and be the best that I can be," said DeChambeau. "I'll see what my body can tolerate."
The question is, will golf tolerate him?
Sure, as we've seen at Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, and Tiger Woods, strength training remains a taboo in some areas of the golf world. DeChambeau's unconventionality - the one-length clubs, his pursuit of science and analysis, the dabbing - also paint a goal. In addition, DeChambeau's enthusiasm and seriousness can be mistaken for vanity. (The training assembly did no favor here, too.)
But golf has always complained about the lack of individuality in its sport. Here Bryson comes in a colorful, uneven way, and he's seen as divisive for it. That spirit, that independence ... isn't that what the game wants?
For his part, DeChambeau pays no attention to the criticism. "I really enjoyed the trip up to this point," DeChambeau told Golf Digest. "I will continue to work hard and see where it leads me."
Of course, prosperity can affect dislike, and the box scores don't lie: Bryson's profits aren't limited to the gym. Nine months after the start of the experiment, the "Mad Scientist" doesn't seem to be that crazy.
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