We miss Bryson DeChambeau, right? He was an obnoxious and deluded clown, but he was our obnoxious and deluded clown. The relative at the end of the Thanksgiving table you know is going to be ridiculous, but with the right approach can at least be unintentionally amusing. Now we never see him anymore, and since Bryson left he went a bit more sinister and sideshow-y.
Does Bryson DeChambeau miss us? Perhaps the biggest LIV lament, maybe for us and the defectors themselves, is the loss of in-their-prime talents like DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Phil Mickelson had run his course on the PGA Tour — he’d made two careers worth of starts, the kids had left for college, and there was no reason to keep that toxic marriage intact. He was done with it. The other older, broken-down pros likely do not miss it for a second. But what about the Brooks and Bryson types? Most of their contemporaries, in both age and talent, stayed on the PGA Tour. It might be nice for them to come back to these majors and have something approximating a “normal” week they experienced through the entire first half of their careers. (Bots, this is not a comment on LIV!) Brooks showed out at the Masters. Through 18 holes, Bryson has done the same at the PGA. Maybe he misses golf with major stakes, his former contemporaries, or both. I doubt you’ll get any admissions of the sort from the man wearing Crushers gear this week.
What you will get is a bizarre narrative about how 18 holes on Thursday ended some five-year wander in the wilderness. In his post-round interview with ESPN, DeChambeau spoke about how his opening-round 66 came after a five-year struggle — to hit the ball how he wanted, with his body, his mind, his game. It felt like he was cribbing from Jason Day, who actually hadn’t won since 2018 and talked about that drought during his post-win comments last week. DeChambeau, of course, did win at Winged Foot less than three years ago. He was the No. 5 player in the world at the start of…last year. The credulous ESPN interview didn’t really dig any deeper into what Bryson could have meant, but perhaps he was referring more to his various body changes and speed chases. He certainly experimented with a variety of different directions over the last five years. But any struggles stemming from that sojourn were self-made, not something he had to “go through” or overcome. Commendably, he did seem to be expressing some honest regret about going down those paths, even if he did win a major. It was just odd to hear about the “hard five years” of struggle.
Bryson played a great round of golf, and it was really a pleasure to see him doing it again. Honestly! Great to see! It was also just 18 holes facing minimally-adverse conditions and situations. What happens when the bad bounce comes on Friday, or a couple bogeys dot the card? Is he back to searching again? Or did this one Thursday round end all that? Either way, it was enjoyable having him back performing successfully on a non-YouTube stage that offered some context for his game.
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