- Alistair Tait
How about Bryson DeCharlatan?
A good worker never blames his tools. I don’t know how many times my father told me this. Clearly, Bryson DeChambeau’s dad didn’t say the same to Bryson when he was a bairn. If he did, then it didn’t make much of an impression.
Maybe that simple statement just got lost amid the mumbo jumbo running through Bryson’s brain. Goodness knows there’s a lot going in DeChambeau’s cranium. Everything except humility, it seems.
DeChambeau’s criticism of equipment company Cobra yesterday for not providing him with a top notch driver after an opening round of 71 in the Open Championship at Royal St George's was laughable, especially considering where golf equipment technology is nowadays.
The top players, professional as well as elite amateurs, can get equipment to match their abilities in the space of one afternoon fitting session. Machines like Trackman launch monitors overload players with data, everything from swing speed, ball speed, spin rate, angle of attach, launch angle, clubhead path, the Footsie 100 share index, the shipping forecast and the whereabouts of Lord Lucan.
Those of us lucky enough to be fitted for clubs know how comprehensive these sessions are. The difference between them and us is that we get fitted for the swing we turn up with that day, unlike the top players whose swings are so grooved it seems impossible they could be fitted for the wrong clubs.
No professional player leaves a fitting session these days without the best equipment available to the fitter and the company. Except, it seems, Bryson. That was obvious from yesterday’s outburst when he blamed his driver for only hitting four fairways.
“The driver sucks,” DeChambeau said. “It’s not a good face for me and we’re still trying to figure out how to make it good on the mis-hits. I’m living on the razor’s edge like I’ve told people for a long time.
“It’s not the right design, unfortunately, and we’ve been trying to fix it.”
I think if I was boss of Cobra I might be reconsidering the screeds of money I was putting into Bryson’s bank account. I think I’d be saying some conversations need to take place behind closed doors, especially for highly-paid brand ambassadors.
So well done Ben Schomin, Cobra’s tour operations manager, for firing back at DeChambeau:
“Everybody is bending over backwards,” Schomin said. “We’ve got multiple guys in R&D who are CAD-ing this and CAD-ing that, trying to get this and that into the pipeline faster. Bryson knows it. It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid.”
“He has never really been happy. Like, it’s very rare where he’s happy.
“Now he’s in a place where he’s swinging a five‑degree driver with 200rpm of ball speed. Everybody is looking for a magic bullet. Well, the magic bullet becomes harder and harder to find the faster you swing and the lower your loft gets.
“It’s like an eight-year-old that gets mad at you. They might fly off the handle and say: ‘I hate you.’ But then you go: ‘Whoa, no you don’t.’ We know as adults that they really don’t mean that and I know that if I got him cornered right now and said, ‘What the hell did you say that for?’ he would say that he was mad. He didn’t really mean to say it that harshly. He knows how much everyone bends over backwards for him. But it’s still not cool.”
Hallelujah! How many equipment reps have felt like saying that to pampered pros they’ve went out of their way to help only to feel the sharp end of their tongues when things don’t go the tour pro's way on the links? Too many.
Just as well Bryson didn’t play 30 years ago when elite tour pros would often spend weeks testing drivers before they’d dare put the right club into their bags. There was perhaps an excuse to blame the sticks in those days. Not now. Not in this high-tech age.
I have to admit to a certain fascination with DeChambeau when he first arrived on the scene. He seemed a breath of fresh air: the scientific approach, the one-plane swing, irons all the same length, etc. However, he’s becoming less cool the more we see of his personality: the glacial slow play, the haranguing of referees for relief from a single ant, face tripping him when he’s not quite on song, and now the latest brattish, eight-year-old outburst.
Is he fast morphing into Bryson De-Charlatan?
#JustSaying: “Honey, why don’t you quit kidding yourself? It just can’t be entirely the clubs. Your trouble is you!” Louise Nelson to husband Byron