Bryson DeChambeau comfortable in spotlight at Tour Championship

Chris Condon/PGA Tour

Bryson DeChambeau comfortable in spotlight at Tour Championship

PGA Tour

Bryson DeChambeau comfortable in spotlight at Tour Championship

ATLANTA – If you thought the idea of being ranked No. 1 on the FedEx Cup point list and playing in his first Tour Championship would make Bryson DeChambeau nervous or edgy, think again. Sure, he took a massive swig from his Red Bull water bottle before fielding questions from the media on Wednesday, but after that, the 25-year-old who won two of the three FedEx Cup playoff events leading up to his week’s season-ending event at East Lake Golf Club looked relaxed and at ease.

Part of DeChambeau’s comfort level comes from knowing his game is firing on all cylinders right now. He enters this week ranked fourth in strokes gained total (1.664), 13th in scoring average (69.62) and after having played a few practice rounds under bright Georgia sunshine, he said East Lake suits his style.

“You really have to be precise with your ballstriking, be on with your game,” DeChambeau said. “Honestly, this is what I work so hard for all year long, to have a golf course like this. To be this difficult and demand that you hit the ball in the fairway, demand that you hit the ball in the green and demand that you make putts and a good lag putter, as well.”

DeChambeau is also getting used to the demands that are being placed on him and the commitments that come with success.

“I’ve had to prioritize now more than I’ve ever had to in my life, so Brett (Falkoff, DeChambeau’s agent) has been very instrumental in that, my caddie (Tim Tucker) has been helpful with that,” he said. “I’ve just had to plan things out more and really be on point. When I wake up in the morning, I can’t be messing around. I’ve got to get up and get ready to go to work. It’s more of like a 9-to-5 job in a sense.”

This week’s job is straightforward. DeChambeau will not only win the FedEx Cup if he wins the Tour Championship, but according to the PGA Tour, he has a “reasonable” chance of winning if he finishes in the top six.

He likes the current point system more than the shot-based reward system that goes into effect at next season’s Tour Championship because he feels that the FedEx Cup point lead coming into the last event should be worth more than just two bogeys.

“I think the FedEx Cup points should be relative to the amount of strokes you have on the field. I don’t know what it would equate out to, but a certain amount of FedEx Cup points would give you a shot, and so you play it out that way,” he said. “If you played really well throughout the season, won six, seven times, you kind of deserve to have that lead going in because you played that well, you deserve that. But at the same point in time, I understand the drama piece as well.”

Next week’s job is getting a lot of attention as well because DeChambeau is not only going to be playing in his first Ryder Cup, it appears that he is going to be paired with Tiger Woods. Tony Finau joined the two in a practice round on Tuesday, but DeChambeau and Woods have also played numerous times throughout the season.

“I’ve gotten to know Bryson very well, and what an amazing talent, and an unbelievably hard worker he is,” Woods said on Wednesday during his press conference.

The 14-time major winner then added, “If you look at all the great players of all time, they’ve figured out their own way and kind of understood how they need to become better. He’s doing that, and he’s proving that this year, and winning those two playoff events back-to-back, it showed that he’s on the right track.”

After the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup conclude, DeChambeau will be going home to a new house in the Dallas area, complete with an indoor golf simulator and a corner devoted to his trophies. He had added two to his collection in the last month, but there is room for more. That’s good, because the way Bryson DeChambeau is morphing into a star before our eyes, two more could be won on Sunday.

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