Admire the golfer, if not the person
Count Bryson DeChambeau in a large club of golfers who have to be admired for their work ethic and dedication even if you wouldn’t perhaps want to dine with such players.
As the late Bob Torrance once said:
“You don’t have to like the man to admire the golfer.”
I can’t remember who Torrance was talking about when he told me this, but he’s right. Golf is full of players like DeChambeau, players who demand respect for putting in the hours to get the most out of their games, but who perhaps don't worry too much about who they upset in their quest to reach the top.
The beefed-up American showed both sides of himself in winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He bombed his way to a three-shot victory, and is taking many accolades for the work he’s put in to muscle up and hit the ball further. At the same time his berating of a TV cameraman for just doing his job has drawn much criticism.
Former Golfweek colleague Eamon Lynch wasted no time launching into DeChambeau. Lynch wrote:
“It’s one of life’s more reliable axioms that if a man has to tell you he’s a good dude, there’s a fair chance he is actually an insufferable gobshite.”
Most times it’s not the man who tells you he’s a good dude. That’s often left to the player's management group, toadies who blow smoke up their player's rear end to the extent that criticism, even mild criticism, comes as a complete shock. No wonder some players live in a parallel universe.
Nick Faldo wasn’t actually Mr Personality when he was dominating golf in the late 1980s, early 1990s. When I worked at Today’s Golfer, we ran a feature on Faldo entitled “Master or Monster?” (The headline wasn't my responsibility. Honestly!) Needless to say, Faldo wasn’t too happy. Looking back, I can’t blame him since the ‘Monster’ bit was over the top.
Faldo might try to cast himself as the happy go lucky jokester in his TV commentary, but few who covered the European Tour in those days remember that side of his personality. Just the opposite. Nevertheless, you had to admire Faldo for going to the extremes to get the absolute maximum out of his game.
Tiger Woods polarises golf perhaps more than no other player. Fans either love him or hate him, but no one can deny the incredible work he’s put in to become arguably the greatest player of all time.
What was it Ben Hogan once said?
“If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.”
As Lee Westwood tweeted:
“Everyone has the option to work hard. Very few take it.”
Hogan may have dug his game out of the dirt, but he was never the life and soul of any party. Does that matter? No.
If you there 156 players in any field any week you’re going to get 156 different personalities. Some you’ll like, others you wouldn't want to get stuck in an elevator with. Andrew “Beef” Johnson got it spot on when he tweeted:
"I see that @b_dechambeau won last night. In my opinion people shouldn’t moan or complain. What this guy has done is absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. So we should be (congratulating) him and enjoy watching someone who’s worked his socks off in doing it."