Bryson DeChambeau outdid himself by moving to LIV Golf

Bryson DeChambeau, the US Open champion two years ago, finished no higher than 10th in five of the 48-man LIV events.

Do you remember Bryson DeChambeau? Many serious golf fans would rather not, a wish the Brawny Brainiac effectively granted by sacrificing his PGA Tour membership for the greener pastures of LIV Golf. The only real connection DeChambeau has with the public these days comes from the silly quotes he provides to the Fourth Estate, an institution his relationship with could be described as need and hate.

These comments are receiving considerable attention not only because they come from deep left field, but from the source itself. Not so long ago, DeChambeau was the most important golfer on Earth – a human lightning rod who thought differently, acted differently and played differently than any other professional on the tour. He opened his eyes and turned heads with his blithe rejection of conventional wisdom. He defied the swing gurus with his eccentric technique and contrarian theories, as if everyone was wrong about this game.

Oh, and he won. Eight times in 140 career starts over his five-and-a-half seasons in the big leagues, including the 2020 US Open by six strokes. DeChambeau won at Memorial and won at Bay Hill, two of the most prestigious non-majors on the schedule. He was a force at the 2021 Ryder Cup, where he went undefeated in three matches and lit up the crowds at Whistling Straits with his huge drives and equally long displays of punchy frivolity.

Many iconoclasts die trying. He could be annoying, childish, unreasonable, arrogant, and disrespectful, but above all those handsome traits, Bryson James Aldrich DeChambeau was good. Very well. A largely independent thinker with the power, literally and figuratively, to change the game or at least alter the norm. A guy who drove you crazy but you had to watch. Not so much a player who was just getting started, but a polarizing, ultra-dynamic figure who rode 90 miles per hour towards the gated community of Full Bloom.

Now he’s gone. On vacation, a competitive sabbatical, or whatever you want to call the LIV junket. A significant number of big names who jumped ship from the Tour were past their prime, accepting the giant win as de facto recognition that their legacy was essentially set in stone. No DeChambeau. Although he hasn’t returned to form since his wrist surgery in April, that’s no reason to think his best golf is behind him at 29.

Five starts in his LIV pilgrimage, however, Brainiac’s best finish is a few tenths. Despite the 48 players and an obvious shortage of players with his credentials, DeChambeau has yet to make it to the final round, leaving curious minds wondering if this $125 million signing bonus has more to it. see with his lackluster game only a faulty wrist or quarrelsome back.

It’s not that simple, although money like that is certainly capable of compromising a player’s competitive engine. Could DeChambeau struggle to perform in relative obscurity after thriving in golf’s brightest spotlight for so long? With LIV’s streams well below 100,000 viewers per turn and little to no public interest in the actual product, did the bodacious bomber find invisibility more painful than criticism?

It doesn’t really matter what he shoots anymore. A guy who once played for real is now rich beyond belief, all thanks to what he did before joining LIV Golf. When a man is paid so generously for his past accomplishments, the future becomes a much trickier proposition, especially when it involves such a drastically different platform. Advance payment. Eighteen holes less. No cut. It’s an environment that can only hurt those who have succeeded through acute competitive advantage.

It is said that Bruce Springsteen wrote his best songs when he was sleeping on someone else’s couch. As true as it is, the idea that fame changes people certainly works both ways. Beyond the simple need for attention, DeChambeau seemed to discover a fortified purpose in the negative reactions to his unusual behavior. It rubbed so many people the wrong way, and, yes, it showed them well, but now that motivational device is gone.

People don’t watch because people don’t watch him play anymore. People aren’t responding because his new affiliation has turned him into a moot point.

None of this brought DeChambeau any closer to the mute button. “I have to look back and thank Tiger [Woods] for this opportunity because he was the one who ultimately created this,” he recently said while expressing “no buyer’s remorse” for the jump to LIV Golf. It was a goofy thing to say, more innocuous than tasteless, let alone an implication that Woods’ greatness is responsible for the fractured state of professional golf.

“I personally think the team events are only hurting each other by not allowing us to play, by not allowing us to qualify through some ability,” Brainiac said ahead of September’s Presidents Cup. . How would this qualifying process work, big boy? Are you going to arm wrestle Kevin Kisner for this last place in the American team?

“What LIV Golf has provided is something new and unique, something different,” said the man who gave the PGA Tour exactly the same when he turned pro in 2016. “There’s going to be disruption, and people aren’t going to like it.. And I respect anyone who thinks it’s not good for the game of golf.

Eh? Given that the back half of it has a certain dishonest ring, it’s not unusual for DeChambeau to change direction mid-quote without notice. And for that change of direction to include something he thinks audiences want to hear. Which, in fact, makes him dishonest.

“They’re delaying the inevitable,” he said last week of the Official World Golf Ranking’s reluctance to accredit LIV Golf as a legitimate operation. “We have achieved all the scores for their criteria. Not scoring points is a bit crazy, because I think we have the best players in the world.

You have to like a man who says what he thinks, even if, in fact, it obviously stinks. With all due respect to the horses that live there, these greener pastures don’t always smell as good as they could.

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