Well, it finally happened. Bryson DeChambeau bullied his way to a victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic this weekend. However, in typical Bryson fashion, the win came with plenty of unnecessary (yet entertaining) drama. Let’s discuss.

The elephant in the room

Starting the day three shots off the lead, Bryson DeChambeau quickly passed 54-hole leader Matthew Wolff and cruised to his fifth career PGA Tour victory at Detroit Golf Club. He hit a slight bump with a bogey on the par-5 14th but finished with three straight birdies. Rocket Mortgage Classic Results

Aside from the positive Covid-19 tests, Bryson has been the biggest news on the PGA Tour for the past three weeks. His drastic physical change has yielded four top-10 finishes in four weeks, and he now has seven straight top 10s going back to February’s Genesis Invitational. He led the field in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and driving distance, and even caused problems for Shot Link: some of his drives registered as approach shots.

It’s actually surprising that Bryson won by only three shots, considering he also led the field in SG: Putting. His irons and wedges ranked near the bottom, but he was so close to the greens and putted so well that his lackluster performance with the one-length set didn’t matter. He’s making 7,300-yard golf courses look silly and proving that distance is the key to competing—and winning—on the 21st-century PGA Tour.

*Subhead redacted because of privacy concerns*

While he won the event, Bryson’s week may be better remembered for his run-in with a cameraman on Saturday. After a poor bunker shot during his third round, he slammed his club in frustration. A CBS camera operator captured the outburst and followed Bryson as he walked toward the green—as any competent cameraman would do. After putting out, DeChambeau confronted the guy and had a “testy discussion.” Later, he told Golf Channel’s Will Gray that he thought the footage would be damaging to his “brand”:

I mean, I understand it’s his job to video me, but at the same point, I think we need to start protecting our players out here compared to showing a potential vulnerability and hurting someone’s image. I just don’t think that’s necessarily the right thing to do…. For that to damage our brand like that, that’s not cool in the way we act because if you actually meet me in person, I’m not too bad of a dude, I don’t think.

(To quote Eamon Lynch, “If a man has to tell you he’s a good dude, there’s a fair chance he is actually an insufferable gobshite.”)

The PGA Tour is player-run, and members tend to get what they want. Bryson’s comments simply take that principle to its logical extreme. He seems to believe that those who televise his play are obligated to protect his image—in other words, that they work for him. Unfortunately, Golf Channel, home of Will Gray’s excellent reporting on this very story, may be heading that direction.

Clearly, Bryson doesn’t want PR fallout when he acts like a bonehead. The simple solution, of course, would be not to act like a bonehead.

Coming through

The Rocket Mortgage Classic received some guests on Sunday when a Black Lives Matter protest marched to the gates of Detroit Golf Club. Organized by a group called Detroit Will Breathe, the protest could be heard on the CBS broadcast. The group was taking issue with Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans (the parent company of Rocket Mortgage), and how he has used his money in the Detroit community. After getting word that the live broadcast had picked up their chants, the protesters dispersed peacefully, having accomplished their goal.

The protest offered both players and viewers an opportunity to reflect, learn more about Gilbert’s reputation in Detroit, and perhaps remember that many things in the world are more important than a golf tournament.

Will power

Like Bryson, Will Zalatoris is on some kind of heater. The 23-year-old shot 67-67-70-69 to win his first Korn Ferry Tour event at the TPC Colorado Championship this week. The win is Zalatoris’s fourth straight top 10, and he now tops the Korn Ferry Tour points list. TPC Colorado Championship Results

We’re not in Sungjae-in-2018 territory yet, but Zalatoris has emerged as the cream of the KFT crop. So has his roommate Davis Riley, who is third on the points list. But because of changes to eligibility criteria prompted by the Covid-19 shutdown, both will need to scratch and claw for PGA Tour spots next year. So let’s hope Zalatoris and Riley somehow get the three wins necessary for a battlefield promotion. They belong on the big tour.

Quick Hooks

Despite recording 30 birdies and an eagle at Detroit Golf Club, 20-year-old Matt Wolff came up short this week. Still, the budding superstar has to be encouraged by his solo runner-up finish, his first top 10 since last July.

Tyrrell Hatton is playing really good golf. The Englishman has a win and four other top-six finishes in his past six events on the PGA Tour.

Georgia Tech’s Tyler Strafaci closed out Sam Houston State’s William Holcomb V to win the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst. Results

Playing in the final group on the Korean PGA Tour, our friend Hosung Choi caught a bit too much air on one tee shot. He finished six shots back.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Shotgun Start: A beefy tipping point, Cameraman does job, and Rickie left his heart in Detroit

It’s a Bryson-heavy Monday episode, as Brendan and Andy first thank all their sponsors for the opportunity to podcast. Bryson’s win in Detroit is reviewed and some larger questions are asked about what this approach might yield at the majors and if this is another flashing light for the USGA to do something. But much appreciation is rained on the Thicc Boi for completely overhauling his body and a few theories are offered for the spark moments that maybe provoked that overhaul. It wasn’t all good for Bryson on the weekend, and there is a critical panning of his comments on “privacy” and protecting the players while they’re filmed on the course. Less time is spent on the comments, which are obviously bad, and more is spent on fears that coverage, given the current power structure with the Tour’s media partners, may continue to be whitewashed to the overall detriment of the product. Matthew Wolff’s Rickie-inspired outfit and Rickie-esque start to Sunday (and strong finish) are discussed. There’s also a follow-up on Bubba’s charity match from Wednesday and his personal evolution and a follow-up on Rackham, thanks to a reader note about animals at the zoo, which the course borders, impacting play. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

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