Bryson DeChambeau Rising. Patrick Cantlay Drags Him Back to Earth.


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Bryson DeChambeau stood by his golf bag on the first tee, contemplating which club to hit the opening hole of the third round of Saturday’s BMW Championship. A groan came from the fans, who crammed into a tee-facing bleacher as his mighty driver picked up an iron instead.

DeChambeau turned, shrugged, and said, “Sorry, next hole.”

“We want the driver on every hole,” a voice shouted.

“I know,” DeChambeau muttered. “I know.”

It’s been difficult for DeChambeau to make anyone happy over the past two months, another fluke in the whimsical world he’s been living in since the start of 2020. The club outside of Baltimore has swapped for DeChambeau in the last two days.

On Saturday, a day after the 60 (-12) gave him the tournament lead, DeChambeau had eagles, five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on consecutive holes. Starting the day behind with a single shot, Patrick Cantlay shot a 66 to tie DeChambeau under 21 for the overall tournament lead.

But about that later.

First, to recap the jarring summer of 2021 for the breakaway American golfer.

In June, reigning champion DeChambeau, who led the final stages of the United States Open, collapsed with a score of 44 on his last nine holes. He relied on bad luck.

Within two weeks, DeChambeau left with longtime staff Tim Tucker, who carried DeChambeau’s golf bag for each of his eight PGA Tour victories. Days before his next big championship, the British Open, DeChambeau had to defiantly contest accusations that he didn’t yell “Front” and endanger the audience in the way of his long and sometimes steep shots. Then, after a middling opening lap at the event, he resolutely blamed his driver for his troubles, and this quickly drew his share from a representative of equipment sponsor Cobra, who compared DeChambeau to an 8-year-old. DeChambeau apologized.

Later that month, despite being one of four American golfers to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, DeChambeau was forced to withdraw after a positive Covid test. said he had not vaccinated because he was young and healthy and didn’t want to take the dose from someone who needed it more. His statements were ridiculed.

All this is an ongoing social media brawl with his tour pro friend Brooks Koepka, who was further angered by loud, giggling fans who mocked DeChambeau as “Come on, Brooks-y” at tour galleries.

Consider, for example, this exchange of audiences with the third green Saturday.

Listening to the applause after DeChambeau dug the hole, a young boy asked his father, “Is Bryson everyone’s favourite?” asked.

“Yes, everybody loves Bryson,” the man replied.

“Brooks don’t,” said a fan standing nearby.

in a few weeks, DeChambeau and Koepka Even when everyone is in good shape, he will represent one-sixth of the 12-man American team in the Ryder Cup, where tensions between his teammates are rising.

What does DeChambeau think of what has happened since June?

It’s hard to tell as DeChambeau has refused to speak to reporters covering the PGA Tour in the weeks since he admitted he hadn’t received the Covid vaccine, aside from the tour’s broadcast partners and a golf news organization that pays him. contributor.

On Saturday, DeChambeau started his tour with a routine bird on the third hole of par-3, but then sank a 25-foot eagle kick on the fourth hole of par-4 and a 53-foot eagle kick on the fifth par-4. DeChambeau made the turn at 30 and continued to accelerate as he landed his second shot within a foot of the hole for another bird and a four-shot lead over Cantlay on the par-4 11th hole. But as he approached 12, DeChambeau sliced ​​a long iron into a border pond. (The broadcast mics picked up DeChambeau blaming the mud blob on the ball for the mishandling, but television camera work seemed to show DeChambeau’s stick face exposed, which would have resulted in a slice.)

The mistake led to DeChambeau’s first bogey on 30 holes, and this setback was followed by another submerged cannon that guarded the front of the par-3 13th hole. The mistake caused a double hum. The large, noisy crowd that followed DeChambeau seemed to have been struck by lightning.

But DeChambeau took action, unloading 10-yard bird hits on the 14th and 16th holes. He also needed four shots to get to the 489-yard par-4 15th hole and bogey. 67 in the end was a fantastic score considering DeChambeau had hit only nine of 14 fairways. However, he was second on the field in driving distance.

A measured, methodical player, Cantlay made his offense more consistent with an eagle, a bird and a seven par in the front nine. Playing with DeChambeau and reigning US Open champion Jon Rahm, Cantlay rose as others in his group struggled and made birdies on three consecutive holes, starting on the 11th. It looked like Cantlay would lead alone on the third round until his tee hit on the 18th hole found hardness and acted as the catalyst for the closing bogey.

Still, as he was trailing four hits with seven holes left in the third round, Cantlay was later asked if he was energized when DeChambeau threw two balls into the water.

“No, I felt pretty much the same, just working on my job,” said Cantlay, who rarely showed emotion on the golf course. “I’m just trying to stay in my own little bubble there. I feel like it’s the best way to do my job and it gives me the best chance to succeed.”


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