Here's what Bryson DeChambeau's second win says about his future in 2018 and beyond
The Scientist (or is it The Artist?) took a monster event at Muirfield Village over the weekend
Bryson DeChambeau content is always good content. Whether he's opining about slope angles or bloviating about "dynamic load," the man who worships at the altar of the Golfing Machine has himself become a content machine in his two years on the PGA Tour.
If you are not here for his antics and victories, then I apologize. But if you are willing to go down that road, let's proceed.
DeChambeau won his second event in his 60th career start on Sunday in a mammoth field at the 2018 Memorial Tournament. He did so in a playoff over Ben An and Kyle Stanley, and that not only has implications for the rest of 2018 (we'll get to that in a minute) but it suddenly raises the ceiling (and possibly the floor) for what DeChambeau can become.
"To be able to win on Jack's course is pretty special," he said on Sunday. "I know coming here a couple years ago I wanted to do it then -- my game wasn't near good enough to win -- so it's taken a couple years for me to get to that caliber, and I was fortunate enough to be able to come out victorious here at Jack's course. This is probably the most important win I think of my entire career."
Two wins in 60 starts might not sound like a lot, but it's a feat that tracks historically with those of Jordan Spieth (one), Justin Thomas (one) and Dustin Johnson (two). DeChambeau is also ahead of the early career pace set by Rickie Fowler and Jason Day. That's not all, either. His top-five percentage thus far is stout. In 60 events, DeChambeau has finished in the top five a total of seven times (11.7 percent of the time). That's the same as Thomas over 60 events and ahead of both Johnson and Day.
There are a lot of different factors to take into account here, specifically the fact that DeChambeau is older than most of those guys were in their first 60 events. But I use all of those statistics to say this: DeChambeau might actually turn out to be better than we thought. And we thought he was going to be great! He's a former NCAA and U.S. Amateur champion who contended at the 2016 Masters for a few days.
But then the PGA Tour reality hit, and he had to earn his card the (somewhat) difficult way: through the Web.com Tour finals. That's probably not something he ever thought he'd have to go through, but his game has clearly been steeled for the ups and downs of Tour life. The last piece of his still-blossoming resume is contention at a major championship.
DeChambeau has played in just five majors as a pro, and his best finish was in in 2016 when he went T15 at Oakmont as Johnson secured his first big one. He has three more this summer at which he can make some noise; if he does, he's probably going to be on the U.S. Ryder Cup team this fall.
"I've been on three United States teams: the World Amateur, Palmer Cup and the Walker Cup," said DeChambeau on Sunday. "And every single time it was the coolest experience to be able to go represent your country and be at the forefront of that. So to make the Ryder Cup is obviously No. 1 on my priority [even] if I don't do anything else this year."
That brings us to my last point here. You might not like DeChambeau and his TI-83-loving ways, but he's great for golf in the same way Patrick Reed is great for golf. And Bryson, rocking that newsboy cap in Paris, would be immense for the Ryder Cup. The thought of a microphone picking up a conversation between him and Phil Mickelson about using the scientific method to determine whether certain deep space theories are true makes my knees wobble.
More than the content it would produce, though, is the golf it could engender. DeChambeau's one-length ways and straight-arm putting look and seem crazy -- and they just might be -- but boy, have they produced a high level of ball-striking and scoring so far this season. He's 15th on Tour from tee to green. He's fourth in the FedEx Cup. He's No. 22 in the world. He's expected to rise into the top eight in the Ryder Cup standings. He's made over $4 million in 16 starts so far this year.
Big boy stuff!
"Whenever you look at somebody and say, 'Oh man, that dude's weird. Why is he doing that?' He's got these dumb one-length clubs that don't work," said DeChambeau. "Yeah, they do. Could it be better? Absolutely. And we're always going to get it better. This is just a process that comes about with living life; you're always trying to get better every single day.
"So, I think that's a testament to itself of saying, 'Look, don't judge anybody by what it looks like on the cover.' Be able to look at them and say, 'All right, what is he actually doing? Why is he doing this? Could this actually be beneficial to me?' And just take positives from the uniqueness of my game."
In other words, the science-spouting star might actually be a superstar. And I'm sure he can tell you about the difference in mass between the former and the latter.
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