SAN DIEGO – It’s been a wild week and a half for Bryson DeChambeau. In a span of 48 hours earlier this week, he traveled from the West Coast to East Coast (Orlando, PGA Show) and back to the West Coast to play in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
He basically was playing on little sleep, with a new putter (the U.S. Golf Association took away the one he wanted to use), and oh, almost forgot: a totally new golf swing, too. DeChambeau is a tinkerer, and thought he’d found a new path to “decrease the closure rate” on his clubface.
Basically, he had far too much going on, and the fact he missed the cut at Farmers (78-74) wasn’t much of a surprise, even to him. He was quick to say he probably never should have played this week. Chalk it up to a rookie’s mistake.
By the time he arrived to San Diego, it was midnight Tuesday, and less than 12 hours later he was on the course, competing in the Farmers pro-am. He wasn’t able to putt after the round (“the greens were toast”), and it was nearly dark, so he couldn’t hit balls. That is, until he convinced some Torrey Pines officials to turn on the lights in the practice area.
“Kind of like a Motel 6,” he joked.
The swing change he tried to implement did not work as well as he liked, and as a result, DeChambeau missed the cut for the ninth time in his last 16 PGA Tour starts.
“I tried to change the the motion, not the best of decisions,” he said. “All these things lined up for a pretty bad storm. But I’m trying to handle it the best I can.”
The day before his scheduled start at CareerBuilder last week in Palm Springs, a PGA Tour official informed DeChambeau that the center-shafted putter with which he’d been using to putt sidesaddle had been deemed non-conforming by the USGA. (The story was first reported by former Golfweek staffer Adam Schupak in “The Morning Read.”)
As a result, DeChambeau switched to a model where the shaft of the putter still is centered, but it is situated behind the putter head. It changes the putter’s characteristics greatly, DeChambeau said. At Farmers, he needed 63 putts over two rounds. His strokes gained: putting numbers (-4.074) on the greens ranked him 149th in the field of 155. (Note: ShotLink data at Farmers is recorded only on the South Course.)
“The MOI (moment of inertia) is not as stable,” DeChambeau said of his new putter. “It’s in the back of the head and I can’t get it to start on my line as well just because the face moves when I try and apply force forward.
“It’s a bit frustrating, and then knowing you don’t have any loft on the putter, as well … it’s an old rendition. Literally, it’s just like hitting it into the ground, and it pops up and has no chance of going in, almost every single time. It would be better to chip for me, honestly.”
DeChambeau, California-born, will now take a week off to rest up, work on his game, and then return to the AT&T at Pebble Beach.
“This week I failed at doing something, but from my failures I learn the most, I always say. I love failing,” he said. “It’s the part of me that understands that when you do fail, you’re only going to get better from there, and you’re going to learn a lot more from your mistakes. That’s how I look at it.
“I’ll write that down in my journal and go forward, and figure out a better route.”