Since Bryson DeChambeau won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March after hitting bomb after bomb on the famous dogleg 6th hole at Bay Hill and followed it by hitting a ground ball off the tee in the final round of The Players Championship a week later, he has seemingly been silent. We have not gotten bogus explanations about what a cold top actually is, nor have we gotten the riptide of DeChambeau sucking in an entire golf world captivated by his exploitation of a golf hole made for the 1990s instead of the 2020s.
DeChambeau is, of course, never completely quiet. It's just that when you're as loud as he is in contention, even noise at a normal decibel can feel like silence. He popped up last week at the Wells Fargo Championship when he accidentally (?) hightailed it back to Dallas after thinking he missed the cut at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. He had to hop a private plane back to Charlotte just after midnight on Saturday to head back for the final two rounds. He ended up sneaking inside the top 10, which is where he's been for most of the 2020-21 season.
In just 11 starts during this 2020-21 PGA Tour season, DeChambeau leads the PGA Tour in wins (2), majors (1), scoring average, strokes gained, driving distance and has six top 10s while playing almost exclusively the best events on Tour. It's been an impressive run for the Big Boy that has maybe flown a bit under the radar, partly because the season has been so elongated and partly because DeChambeau -- even by superstar standards -- does not play all that often.
He will, however, play each of the next two weeks, and he will -- as he almost always is -- be among the favorites this week at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where he will not have to worry about taking a jet back to the tournament if he's sitting on the cut line come Friday evening. Next week, he could be primed for major win No. 2 at the beastly Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, which is going to play close to 8,000 yards (his wheelhouse).
Despite a run-of-the-mill last few months, though, DeChambeau is probably the current front-runner to be the 2020-21 PGA Tour Player of the Year (it would be his first time winning that trophy). Nobody has more wins, nobody has more FedEx Cup points and nobody has more majors. Only Justin Thomas has won more money. If DeChambeau wins the PGA, that's probably a wrap. If he wins anything else, depending on how the majors go, his presumed three wins -- including the U.S. Open -- could do it.
DeChambeau has also quietly become maybe the most well-rounded player on the PGA Tour. From the start of 2020 until September, he was only better than 0.3 strokes gained in two of the four categories. Now? He's above that number in all four while increasing his overall strokes-gained number as well. Come for the show off the tee, but stay to see how adept he is at getting it in the cup.
There will almost certainly be another three or six or 10 very loud DeChambeau moments throughout the course of 2021. He will do and say insane things that will mostly accentuate the ridiculous lore surrounding him. And in those moments, it is chaos. It's difficult to separate the absurd from the truly great. So it's in the quiet moments, like the one in which we are currently, where it's easier to step back and see how truly prolific he has become over the last six months. He might be the best player in the world right now. Normalizing greatness like he has is the mark of a superstar, which is what he has become. Even if you didn't notice it amid all the chaos, maybe you can appreciate it during the silence.