DUBLIN, Ohio — If you listen to Bryson DeChambeau speak for 30 seconds, you realize he’s not your cookie-cutter PGA Tour pro.
DeChambeau — whose irons are all the same length and who’s so uber-technical he seemingly throws a dozen permutations into a mental blender before making every swing, taking more variables into account than the average person knows even exist — is his own person and player.
DeChambeau, who won the Memorial on Sunday in a two-hole playoff over Byeong Hun An and Kyle Stanley (who was eliminated after the first extra hole) at Muirfield, conceded after his win he has been “disappointed” by a lot of the scrutiny to which he’s been subjected because of his unique style.
“Because whenever you look at somebody, don’t judge them by the cover, right?” DeChambeau said. “You’ve got to judge them by the results and the work ethic and the dedication and the perseverance that the person has. So 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.’
“Yeah, they do. I mean, I won last year and they work pretty well for me. I’m confident with it, so I know what’s going on with it.”
This was DeChambeau’s way of saying: “Don’t judge me.”
As DeChambeau spoke in the winner’s press conference, Jack Nicklaus, the founder and host of the Memorial, sat quietly next to him and listened.
Asked what his impression is of DeChambeau’s technical view of the game, Nicklaus said: “Well, you know, we didn’t have that back when we played. Had we had it, maybe we would have used it. I was actually the first guy on Tour to walk off a golf course to get yardages. Prior to coming on Tour, there wasn’t one single player that didn’t play by eye. So that was the start of technology, you might say, so I guess I was the start of that.”
DeChambeau, who was already well aware of that fact, nodded and told Nicklaus: “Thank you.”
“I read a green from not looking at the green, but I read a green from looking more of the surrounds and where water was going to go in a general bit and then where it was going to go off the green and then all that,” Nicklaus said. “The guys today have books for that. I suppose I made my own book in my head. Was I, in my own way, was I technical? Yes. But today, it’s a lot different, things that they can do and get.
“So if that’s what winds your watch and that’s what gets you to think about what you do and gets you to the ability to be able to play your shot, by gosh, use it, if you have it available to you.”
After Sunday’s victory, DeChambeau, at age 24, is a two-time winner and feeling more validated for his unique style than he ever has.
“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?’ and just take positives from the uniqueness of my game,’ ” he said.
“He is very analytical and it’s his own thing,” said Tiger Woods, who’s played several practice rounds with DeChambeau recently. “You get guys that never want to know anything, like Bubba [Watson]. He just plays it straight by feel. He looks at it, hits it and doesn’t know anything else.
“Then you get the other end of the spectrum and you have Bryson. So this game, you can play it however you want to play it, as long as you have your own way and your own method and you’re confident in what it does.”
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