KORN FERRY TOUR FINALS
World traveler DeChambeau fixes driver, readies for Finals
September 07, 2016
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- September 07, 2016
- Bryson DeChambeau finished T4 in his pro debut at the RBC Heritage, but struggled to maintain the momentum. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Bryson DeChambeau is no stranger to worldwide travel in his young, dynamic career. If his latest trip couldn’t faze him (Switzerland for last week’s Omega European Masters; home to Dallas for two days; then to this week’s DAP Championship in Cleveland), nothing will.
But what has perturbed the former U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion lately has been his driving accuracy, as he struggled to a 55.83 percentage over the course of PGA TOUR events this season.
DeChambeau has struggled to find fairways all summer, but he’s hoping he has found the fix as he gears up for the four-event Web.com Tour Finals, where he’ll hope to earn a PGA TOUR card for next season by finishing inside the top 25 on the Finals money list.
While practicing at home in Dallas on Tuesday afternoon, DeChambeau was struggling for answers as to why mildly off-center strikes would travel 20 to 30 yards in either direction. Then at 5 p.m., 10 minutes before he planned to wrap up a day-long session, he called Cobra rep Ben Schomin – who told him to try a new driver head.
The results were instant and encouraging.
“I put a new driver head on … I hit the first one a little on the heel, and it went dead straight,” DeChambeau said. “I’m like, ‘alright, that’s different; that would’ve cut 20 yards.’
“I kept going forward with that, and it’s kept going straighter, so that was it. … I know my driving accuracy has been terrible, and this may have been what it is. Hopefully this week I’ll do better. I have some hopes.”
DeChambeau isn’t sure whether the head was cracked or if another minor discrepancy was in play, but in any case, he feels comfortable off the tee as he prepares to tackle Canterbury – and he’ll hope that remains the case as he begins the tournament proper on the old-style track that has hosted 13 men’s professional majors and boasts a stable of winners that includes Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Walter Hagen.
No rest for the weary. Bryson DeChambeau heads to the range after finishing his pro-am. ⛳️ https://t.co/GYgi5MumWB— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) September 7, 2016
The Southern Methodist alum admits that the process of playing his way onto TOUR has “taken a little longer than I would’ve thought possible.”
It seemed he was off to the races after finishing T4 in his professional debut at the RBC Heritage, but he struggled with four consecutive missed cuts from that point forward and ultimately failed to crack the all-important top 125 in FedExCup points or money needed to secure his TOUR card.
Apart from that week at Harbour Town where he took the golf world by storm, the California native has recorded just one top-25 finish in nine TOUR starts as a pro (T15 at the U.S. Open).
So now he’s onto the Finals, where he has another opportunity to play his way to the TOUR just a few months into his professional career. And after a simple equipment switch on Tuesday evening, he feels even better about his chances.
He even has a bit of a safety net, as he said he already has six sponsor exemptions lined up for the 2016-17 TOUR season. Not that he would prefer needing them.
“You’ve got to learn through baby steps, and some of them have taken longer than others,” DeChambeau said. “It’s a four-week deal (in the Finals), and you’ve got four tournaments to do it.
“There’s not as much pressure as the Travelers (Championship), where I had to finish third to get my card. So that’s a little bit of a different situation now.”