- Senior golf writer for ESPN.com
- Covered golf for more than 20 years
- Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana University
SANDWICH, England — Bryson DeChambeau’s golf game is built around his well-chronicled weight and fitness gains coupled with incessant tweaking of his equipment.
Apparently, the eight-time PGA Tour winner is not happy with how it is going with the driver.
After hitting just four of 14 fairways Thursday during the first round of The Open at Royal St. George’s, DeChambeau was innocently asked if he actually felt good about his 1-over-par 71 in that with some improvement off the tee, his scores would get better.
“That’s what I said a couple of days ago; if I can hit it down the middle of the fairway, that’s great, but with the driver right now, the driver sucks,” he said.
“It’s not a good face for me, and we’re still trying to figure out how to make it good on the mishits. I’m living on the razor’s edge, like I’ve told people for a long time. When I did get it outside of the fairway, like in the first cut and whatnot, I catch jumpers out of there and I couldn’t control my wedges.”
Ben Schomin, a tour operations manager for Cobra who caddied for DeChambeau at the Rocket Mortgage Classic two weeks ago, took offense with the golfer’s comments.
“It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid,” Schomin told Golfweek. “He has never really been happy, ever. Like, it’s very rare when he’s happy.”
Added Schomin: “I know that if I got him cornered right now and said, ‘What the hell did you say that for?’ he would say that he was mad. He really didn’t mean to say it that harshly. He knows how much everyone bends over backwards for him, but it’s still not cool.”
DeChambeau suggested this has been occurring for years and that it’s not just a problem with the Cobra driver he is now using — for which he appears in one of the company’s ad campaigns.
“This has happened since 2016-17 when players stopped drawing it [hitting drives that curve to the left for a right-handed player]. There’s not very many golfers that draw it anymore. It’s not because of spin rate. Everybody thinks it’s — we’re at 2,000 [rpm], 1,800 spin or whatever. It’s not.
“It’s literally the physics and the way that they build heads now. It’s not the right design, unfortunately, and we’ve been trying to fix it [without the] results yet.”
“Everybody is looking for a magic bullet,” Schomin told Golfweek. “Well, the magic bullet becomes harder to find the faster you swing and the lower your loft gets.”
DeChambeau seemed to be in waist-high rough all day but still managed to hit 11 greens in regulation. On the back nine, he birdied three straight holes to get under par, then bogeyed two of the next three, undoubtedly leading to frustration — and his post-round comments.
The 2020 U.S. Open winner lamented his inability to get the ball in the short grass, which would allow him to more easily hit precise shots to the green — a predicament all the players face.
“It’s quite finicky for me because it’s a golf course that’s pretty short [7,189 yards], and so when I hit driver and it doesn’t go in the fairway, it’s first cut [of rough] or whatever, or it’s in the hay, it’s tough for me to get it out onto the green and control that,” he said. “Like, once in the middle of the fairway like I had it on 18, I was able to hit a nice shot to 11 feet and almost made birdie. It’s kind of living on the razor’s edge.”
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