DeChambeau-Greatness is in the Details

Bryson DeChambeau  Attention to Detail Proving Itself

Bryson DeChambeau hasn’t been a pro all that long, but he’s won six times, and just tallied his first win in 2020 last week. He has beefed up to become one of the tour’s big hitters, and it must be deflating to rivals to see him outdrive them by forty or fifty yards. For some stretches in the Rocket Mortgage, he made birdie the new par, and with the 350 yard drives, turned an older, unadjusted course into a birdie oriented pitch-and-putt.

DeChambeau was introduced to us as a somewhat quirky newcomer, analytical and exacting in every phase of the game. He’s one of the big guys on tour, with a little dash of Captain America with a sprinkle of Sheldon Cooper. He equalized club length, studied driving like a physicist or an MIT engineer, turning himself into a big driver. Now it’s all paying off, but don’t get tangled up in the myth that big guys don’t have touch. DeChambeau has plenty of it. That’s where historical comparisons are interesting.He brought a whole lot of good putting to the consistent four-day birdie binge.

We have seen the quirky before. Those of us who are older remember Gary Player’s obsession with nutrition and body tone. Player and DeChambeau are nothing alike physically, with Player being the much smaller man, but the result was the same.  Player was nearly always in contention, and if he wasn’t in the top ten, I figured he must not be playing that week, and didn’t bother to look at the rest of the leaderboard. DeChambeau has been in the top ten every week for the last two months worth of tournaments. He’s always there.

Player wore colors that he believed helped his game, and practiced like a demon. It was an age of “whatever’s wrong, a couple of beers and a burger will fix it,” but Player stuck to his guns, foreshadowing a view that is now accepted.  Some laughed at first, but he just kept winning and winning some more. This is the possibility I see in Bryson DeChambeau. The point is, the great golfers take attention to detail a step or two farther than others. We laugh, and then they convince us with their winning record.

It is difficult to know who the next generation of legends will include, but I’m considering DeChambeau as a strong possibility. If we look at the great golfers of the past, I can’t think of one who was lazy, left things up to chance, or showed up for work with a “whatever” attitude. Nicklaus was a thinking man’s golfer to along with all the once-in-a-two-or-three-generation gift. Palmer must have enjoyed his image with the public, but he didn’t take his foot off the pedal when there was a competition to be had – Golden Bear, Golden Boy. In terms of Woods and his intensity of preparation, where would we start? Nearly a supernatural gift in a golfer with a mania to perfect his game. The story goes that his father tried to distract him on the range by banging pots and pans. That’s pretty quirky, but now we have the results. What a DeChambeauish thing to do.

There’s no dearth of talent on today’s tour, and the top ten or fifteen in the field might make it difficult for a legend to break through. Special talents are all over the place, and they come from everywhere. How does one separate one’s self from all that inherent talent? De Chambeau is doing it by knocking the cover off the ball without losing accuracy, keeping his short game in mint condition, and delving deep into every detail of the game like the professor from Back to the Future. Finally, he is not a golfer who will never look at an eagle putt of twenty feet and think “if I can get this close enough, I’ll birdie the hole.” He’ll use the Hubble telescope if can to sink that putt.

So,, let’s hear it for quirkiness and details. Apparently it really works.

 

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