The Curious Case of Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChabeau
Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton

Golfing savant Bryson DeChambeau is getting lambasted in the media due to his well-documented slow play at the Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club near New York City.

How do they have room for a golf course in NYC, you ask? They don’t. It’s actually in Jersey City and built on top of a landfill. Yet it’s still one of the most expensive golf clubs ever built at 250 million dollars. You think some of those cost overruns may have been mafia payoffs? It’s in Jersey City on a landfill- that’s their sweet spot! At least 50 million of that total went to Adidas tracksuits.

Anyway, Bryson’s slow play is big news as golf is considered a gentleman’s game where you handle misgivings privately and honorably. Not in this case though. Former major champions Rich Beem and Paul Lawrie have severely criticized Bryson on Twitter along with notable current players Justin Thomas (seemingly a good guy) , Eddie Pepperell (anti-Trump weirdo), Luke Donald (former world #1 now struggling to stay relevant) among others.

Thomas was paired with Bryson so his criticism may have been warranted but Pepperell was ridiculously harsh calling DeChambeau an “unaffected single minded twit.” Those are fighting words and golf is way overdue for a fight. Has there ever been a fight in golf? I know Greg Norman challenged a fan to a fight at the 1986 US Open but there’s never been any PGA tour fisticuffs as far as I know. My money would be on the 6’1” 210 lb slow-playing Texan Bryson DeChambeau if that fight were to occur. Seriously though, if Bryson wanted to rehabilitate his reputation he would corner the limey Pepperell (Oxford, England) and wrestle him down like a steer, then make him sing God Bless America. Pepperell may indeed have a point but occasionally we have to put England back in their place.

This incident has brought up a number of questions that need answers:

What happened? Bryson took over 3 minutes to hit a 70-yard shot on the 16th hole and 2:20 to hit an 8-foot putt on the 8th hole (he missed badly). Players are advised to execute their shots within 40 seconds of the previous shot. On Saturday, the day after the 2 slow-play incidents a fan heckled him (from a luxury box) on the 18th hole.

New York golf fans are trash by the way.  There’s always some loud mouth New Yorker popping off thinking he’s either smart or funny. Just look at the repeated incidents at the PGA Championship on Long island this year when Brooks Koepka was trying to win a major. Granted it’s only 1% of the people who are rude and obnoxious, but that still means 99% of the other fans don’t do anything about it. Cowards! You let a society slip out of control when good men do nothing about bad behavior. I would do something but I don’t want to lose my precious, precious media credentials. Part of the reason for these jackasses is social media and people wanting to be on Instagram and Twitter with their “funny” insults toward athletes. Drunkenness is also obviously a cause. So what’s to be done? I would recommend a 3-fold solution:

  1. Not allowing phones on the course (except for media members i.e., me)
  2. Cutting off alcohol sales at 5 pm (except for media members)
  3. Roving bands of PGA enforcers ready to manhandle any drunk idiot who thinks they’re the next Andrew Dice Clay.

The easiest solution would be if people were shamed either verbally or physically by other fans in attendance. This doesn’t happen because people don’t want to bother or they’re scared of confrontation. The Ryder Cup in 2024 at Bethpage on Long Island will be a nightmare unless some of the above ideas are implemented.

What was the reaction to this egregious slow play? Playing partners Tommy Fleetwood and especially Justin Thomas looked very annoyed walking off the 8th green. Most, if not all of blue-check golf writers were more than eager to kick Bryson when he was down. Big surprise. I am reflexively anti-pile on so especially when the “enemy of the people” as a great man calls them (any media outside of Breitbart) are all thinking the same thing. In this case though, they may be right. He does take too long.

Why does he take so long? Bryson is a Physics major from SMU who methodically studies every shot taking into consideration wind velocity, humidity, dew factor etc. He’s a scientist who golfs or a golfing scientist. All of his irons and wedges are cut to the exact same length which was an unheard of concept in golf before he came along. This enables him to keep the same plane angle with every shot as he does not turn his wrists with his swing. He’s won 5 PGA tournaments in less than 3 years so he’s doing something right. He plays up the golfing scientist bit and it’s working well for him as he is now featured on Bridgestone golf ball commercials with Tiger Woods. It will be interesting to see how this slow-play incident affects his popularity.

What does Bryson have to say about all this? He’s been admiringly defiant. He stated in his press conference on Saturday, “I play a different way out there. I take my 40 seconds that’s been allotted, sometimes over, absolutely…It’s maybe 5 percent of the time. But I’ll tell you that it’s really kind of unfortunate the way it’s perceived because there’s a lot of other guys that take a lot of time. They don’t talk about this matter, and for me personally, it is an attack. … People don’t realize the harm they are doing to the individuals.”

Bryson, good for you not caving in to the mob. That shows real courage. But make a conscious effort to play faster so we can start rooting for you. Either that or find Eddie Pepperell in the locker room.

Dan Redmond can be found on twitter @danfromdc

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