Man of science, man of substance
Bryson DeChambeau's career in professional golf begins at the RBC Heritage
April 12, 2016
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Bryson DeChambeau has finished T21 and T27 in his two PGA TOUR starts season. (Harry How/Getty Images)
HILTON HEAD, South Carolina -- His 20-foot birdie putt found the bottom of the cup on the final hole of the Masters on Sunday. The irony there? That's the same hole Bryson DeChambeau triple-bogeyed on Friday when he was one shot off the lead.
"That golf hole seemed like it owed me," he said with a smile on Tuesday.
DeChambeau then signed for a 72 which put him at 5 over for the week and in a more-than-respectable tie for 21st. He headed over to the Butler Cabin where he received the silver cup that's given to the low amateur and watched Jordan Spieth help Danny Willett into the iconic Green Jacket.
Not a bad way for DeChambeau to finish off his amateur career. Having his father, Jon DeChambeau, there to see the conclusion of that chapter of his life was extremely special, too.
Jon suffers from diabetes, diagnosed three years before his son was born. He had double bypass surgery in 2014, the same year his kidneys shut down, and he has had several toes amputated, as well.
Jon, who missed the first and third rounds of the Masters as he was undergoing dialysis at an Augusta clinic, needs a kidney transplant. Mike Watney, who is the uncle of PGA TOUR veteran Nick Watney and a casual friend of the elder DeChambeau back in Fresno, California, has stepped up to be a donor if the tests prove the two compatible.
So seeing his father, who rode a rented scooter on the hills of Augusta National, on Sunday at a course many call the cathedral of golf was unforgettable.
"I know he had some moments where he teared up, and I was tearing up," DeChambeau said. "I didn't show it at all because I was playing a golf tournament. But there were some poignant moments."
There will likely be many more for the DeChambeau family, too.
The 22-year-old turns pro this week at the RBC Heritage, the culmination of what he calls an eight-month "internship" after leaving Southern Methodist to compete as an amateur in pro events around the world.
Earlier this year, DeChambeau played three events during the European Tour's swing through the Middle East with a tie for 18th in Dubai his best finish. In addition to the Masters, he tied for 27th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
DeChambeau also played in six pro events on three tours last year with a tie for second at the UNIQLO Masters on the PGA Tour of Australasia in November for his best performance.
Bryson DeChambeau talks about turning professional before RBC Heritage
"This is still my rookie year, but in a sense, all the process of being ready for a PGA TOUR event has kind of gone out the door," DeChambeau said. "I don't need to focus on it anymore. I'm used to it, comfortable. Guys are super nice out there to me, and they have been super supportive."
As he tries to earn his PGA TOUR caard without going to qualifying school, DeChambeau can accept seven sponsor's exemptions like the one he was given into the RBC Heritage field. If he finishes in the top 10, he gets to play in the next week's event and that does not count against the sponsor's invites.
DeChambeau also gets to play in the Quicken Loans and the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide because he won the 2016 U.S. Amateur title. Again, both are in addition to the seven sponsor's exemptions.
Should he qualify for the U.S. Open, Open Championship or PGA Championship, those would not count against his seven sponsor exemptions, either.
So beyond this week, the early part of DeChambeau's schedule includes the Valero Texas Open, Wells Fargo Championship, AT&T Byron Nelson, DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, the Memorial Tournament and Quicken Loans National.
His first stepping stone is to earn enough FedExCup points to have finished 150th or better on the list a year ago. That would give him Special Temporary Membership and allow DeChambeau to accept unlimited sponsor's invitations for the rest of the year.
If he earns enough FedExCup points or official money to have finished 125th on either list at the end of last year, DeChambeau will have his card for the 2016-17 season. Those thresholds are 458 in FedExCup points and $747,899 in earnings.
Not that DeChambeau, starts his pro career in the Cobra-Puma stable along with Rickie Fowler, is focused on the numbers. He doesn't even think about the $120,666 and change he could have won last week at the Masters had he not been an amateur.
"For me, it's going out there and winning championships, and I believe I can do it," DeChambeau said. "It's just a matter of executing shots and playing four great rounds of golf. And it I can do that, that's all that matters. Money is not anything to me."
Beyond the powerful game he brings to the table, DeChambeau is an interesting young man. He named his clubs last week at the Masters and wears a Hogan cap during competition that he calls his "cape." His irons are all the same length, too.
And DeChambeau says if he weren't playing golf, he'd probably be doing research in the golf industry on biomechanics and efficiency of motion. A self-described pseudo physics nut, he's an artist with the brain of a scientist.
"I love creating things, and that's ultimately why I've become so scientific," DeChambeau said. "Scientists out there are artists ... absolutely one hundred percent that is the truth.
"They go out there and are imagining things people aren't thinking of. Coming up with equations, that's an art. Some people may not be able to do that but there are others that can create beautiful lines, beautiful drawings that scientists really can't create but it's still an art, both sides are still an art."
And DeChambeau would like nothing better than to create something special this week at Harbour Town.
Bryson DeChambeau news conference before RBC Heritage