2019 Northern Trust: Bryson DeChambeau swings, misses in firing back at slow-play critics

My head is spinning. Maybe Bryson DeChambeau can calculate the torque. DeChambeau was (rightly) ripped on Friday for taking 140 seconds to read a fairly short putt in the second round of the 2019 Northern Trust (that's 17.5 seconds of read per foot of the putt). He was (is) an easy target, and tension is high as we near the end of a long season.

Most players got on Twitter to light into him or use his tediousness as leverage for fixing slow play in general. DeChambeau said he was aware of it all before teeing it up for Round 3.

"I took it straight to the course," he said. "I was trying to play my best today despite that and there are certain times where you think about it and you just throw it out of the way and you can't do much about it."

"They are sitting on the couches tweeting," he added later when referencing a pair of European golfers.

His excuses and explanations for taking such a long time on both the 8-foot putt that ignited this whole debate, and more generally, his lengthy play times, spanned the spectrum. I'm not sure they all meshed together all that well. He blamed other caddies, said he walks fast and averages 30 seconds on average. 

He also said he breaks the 40-second rule 5 percent of the time and that it's not fair that he's being painted in this light.

"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," said DeChambeau. "They don't talk about this matter, and for me personally, it is an attack and it is something that is not me whatsoever. People don't realize the harm that they are doing to the individuals."

Every single question and answer in DeChambeau's media scrum on Saturday was about slow play. All 24 of them. To his credit, he addressed everything head on, but he did so in an often-rambling, wandering way, eventually noting that he takes 30 seconds to hit a shot.

"For example, we have 2-and-a-half minutes, 2 minutes, to walk to the next shot for most Tour players," said DeChambeau. "That's how long it takes. Go look it up. And so, we are looking at it in that light, we have 40 seconds to hit a shot. Some players take 25 seconds, 20 seconds. Cool. I take 30 seconds on average. You can look that up."

Oh ... I did. As for that 2-minute, 20-second putt on Friday?

"It was a very difficult read. It was on a bit of a crown, trying to read it, best of my ability," he said. "Couldn't figure out a way to play it 4 inches out because that's what the book said. That's what it looked, or that's what it said in the book. Didn't look like that to my eyes. We walked around, took a little bit of time. 

"I was ready to hit. My caddie pulled me off because he saw something different. That's just what's going to happen every once in a while. You have guys that sometimes that does happen. Is that every time? No. That's one -- probably 1 percent of the time that I take over 2 minutes."

More broadly, DeChambeau often references his ability to walk quickly and that timing should be measured for the entirety of the hole and not just specific shots. This sounds great in theory, but then he went off about how when he's longer than guys off the tee, it prohibits him from getting to his ball quickly, and everything he says starts to sound like a red herring. 

"This is a conversation about playing golf in a certain time," said DeChambeau. "If we really want to talk about this, if we really want to do something about this, let's look at the other people that are associated to it. It's the total time it takes to play the hole. It's not just about the time it takes to hit a shot.

"Take the total amount of time to play a hole and see how long it takes for players to walk between their shots. Now guys will say we don't like that because we have our certain rhythm that they have to go the full distance. That's where the problem comes about.

"So which way are you going fix it? Are you going to fix it by timing players as well for how long it takes to get from one shot to the next? Or just over the shot in general? You know, there's a lot of stuff you have to factor in. Today there was a lot of weird things happening."

In the end, I heard a lot of excuses from DeChambeau and not much ownership for a ridiculous display on Friday at Liberty National Golf Club. A little humility here would likely go a long way for DeChambeau, but he seems content to try and explain why, despite evidence to the contrary, he doesn't play as slow as you think.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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