Bryson DeChambeau defying gravity with his second straight FedExCup Playoffs win
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Written by Mike McAllister @PGATOUR_MikeMc
Bryson DeChambeau's Round 4 highlights from Dell Technologies
NORTON, Mass. – Bryson DeChambeau wanted to talk about gravity.
Actually, he wasn’t sure just how much he should expound on it, fearing perhaps it would go over our heads. Those concerns probably were well-founded – most of us know gravity only as the thing that holds our well-struck 7-irons on earth instead of seeing the golf balls float away into space.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, DeChambeau of course has a different perspective.
“That gravity actually pushed outward and not inward,” he said.
As he finished his sentence, a large set of puzzled faces stared back at him.
“That’s going to throw you guys for a loop,” he acknowledged.
By the way, this isn’t a new theory. DeChambeau first thought of it for his first science project -- in grade school. Sixth grade, maybe 7th. He wasn’t sure of the year – but he did know it was pretty well-received by his teachers. “I had a couple of interesting theories about it,” he said, “and I described it very, very well.”
What did all this have to do with DeChambeau winning for the second consecutive week in these FedExCup Playoffs and securing the No. 1 seed all the way to the start of the TOUR Championship? Hard to say. After all, giving his form – Monday’s Dell Technologies Championship win being a continuation of last week’s victory at THE NORTHERN TRUST -- this seems more like a momentum thing, not a gravity thing.
Of course, it just goes to the heart that DeChambeau sees things in a different light, that he’s willing to challenge, think outside the box, defy conventional thinking. Of course, we already knew that. Perhaps you’ve heard he uses single-length clubs.
But with each win – he’s had four of them now in his last 31 PGA TOUR starts -- the skeptics become believers. Even his dad Jon has come around on it.
“When I was starting to do my one-length iron stuff, there were a couple of colleges that just stopped talking to me. Even my dad didn’t think it was a great idea,” DeChambeau said. “I love my dad to death, but we butted heads. But obviously it works now.”
Asked if his dad uses single-length clubs now, DeChambeau smiled. “Yep.” Since when? “About a year-and-a-half.”
That might have been about the time that DeChambeau hit a lull, missing 11 cuts in a 15-start stretch in the first half of 2017. But just over a year ago, he won for the first time on TOUR, the John Deere Classic.
Now he can’t stop winning. As a result, his expectations are higher. The frustration he showed during a range session at The Open Championship in July was built on the fact that he now demands more out of his game.
“Look, I was at a different level at that point in time relative to last year at this time,” DeChambeau said. “I was still hitting the ball in the fairways but it wasn’t up to my standard. And so I was trying to figure out why it wasn’t up to my standard.
“I built something really, really consistent in the beginning of the year and I kind of lost it. Kind of got lucky finding it. And now I’m starting to understand why I was so good in the beginning of the year.
“And that’s kind of a scary thought for me, at least, because it shows what I can do, and especially with the last couple of weeks. It’s a good combination.”
A week ago, he had entered the final round at THE NORTHERN TRUST with a four-shot advantage and kept everyone else at arm’s length. On Labor Day, he had to work a bit harder. He teed off one shot behind playing partner Abraham Ancer and the two were tied after seven holes.
But birdies at the eighth and ninth holes gave DeChambeau a two-shot lead. He gradually built it to four. It was at that point that TPC Boston felt a lot like Ridgewood.
While Ancer, seeking his first TOUR title, struggled to keep it, Australian Cameron Smith made a late charge to get within a shot. But DeChambeau’s final birdie, at the par-4 15th, sealed the deal. A 3-wood struck 309 yards, then a wedge to inside 9 feet, then the birdie putt. Lights out.
“That was it,” DeChambeau said. “That’s how I play golf right there. Make that birdie and come off the green confident.”
Right now, no one should have more confidence than DeChambeau. Two straight wins to start the Playoffs – only Vijay Singh (2008) has done that. No. 1 in the FedExCup, No. 7 in the world ranking. And expect him to get a call from U.S. captain Jim Furyk for a spot on the upcoming Ryder Cup team.
Of course, there is only one guarantee that he’ll finish the season as the FedExCup champ – win at East Lake. If he fails to achieve that, the door could be open for somebody else, since points will be reset after the BMW Championship.
But even if he doesn’t end the season winning golf’s biggest prize, he has won over all those skeptics.
Not that they bothered him much anyway.
“I’ve always been a guy that’s been weird and unique relative to everybody else,” he said. “… I’ve always gone about my business trying to do the absolute best I can. Let today’s garbage be better than yesterday’s.
“And so I don’t view people’s criticism as a negative thing. I actually view it as a positive thing because what people can’t understand sometimes is actually a benefit to the person that does understand it.”
Speaking of not understanding something – can we hear more about the gravity theory?