Bryson DeChambeau is no joke.
There are jokes to be made at his expense, and nicknames such as the Mad Scientist and L’Artiste have always come with a wink and a nod, but let’s call him what he really is.
DeChambeau is a star. There’s no denying it after his most recent win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, his fourth of the calendar year and fifth all-time in just 71 PGA Tour starts.
“I was just coming out here to try and kick rust off and was able to play some good golf,” DeChambeau said of his season debut. “Didn’t putt my best, but was still able to get it done.”
Defending champ Patrick Cantlay finished solo second at 20 under, and Sam Ryder was third at 19 under.
DeChambeau shot 21-under 263 for the week at TPC Summerlin, which included the signature moment of his career to date in the final round.
DeChambeau trailed Cantlay by a shot when he drained a 57-foot eagle putt from the fringe at the par-5 16th to retake the lead. He roared and threw a Tiger-esque uppercut in one of those perfect highlights the Tour can use over and over again in promotional segments.
It included reminders of his trademark quirkiness. The Hogan cap on his head. The lengthy putter with which he has tried a few unorthodox methods. Even the fact that the flagstick was still in just days after DeChambeau made headlines by saying he intended to putt with the pin in as soon as new rules of golf go into effect in 2019.
Small background details compared to the raw emotion and achievement on display.
DeChambeau does and says things that seem ridiculous in a sport known for bland uniformity. He passes as a controversial figure in golf but doesn’t say anything that’s actually offensive or harmful. Like a college roommate going on and on about a simulated reality hypothesis while everyone else is just trying to watch the game.
He stuck out like a sore thumb before he’d won anything, but now he’s won three of his last five starts including two straight in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Love him or hate him, DeChambeau is a raging competitor. He talks a lot and he backs it up. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s in on the joke or not, but the actual accomplishments are serious. Worthy of significant hype entering the majors next year.
The 25-year-old has more career wins than Rickie Fowler and the same number as Player of the Year Brooks Koepka in fewer starts. Koepka is obviously in a different league because three of his five wins came at majors, where DeChambeau will face a different type of pressure as a result of recent success.
Five wins commands respect. Deflects from the off-course demeanor. For DeChambeau, it means a brighter spotlight and also a bigger platform for him to spout theories on brain frequencies and Newtonian physics.
You won’t have to enjoy the message, but you’ll have to respect the messenger. Gwk