Martin Dempster: The major problems with a ‘brand’ called DeChambeau

Confrontation with cameraman was, quite frankly, ludicrous

With Bryson DeChambeau, you always get the good, the bad and, as we saw on Saturday, sometimes the ugly.

His call for players to be shielded from TV cameras during “a potentially vulnerable time” on the course so that it doesn’t “damage our brand” was, quite frankly, ludicrous.

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The American was speaking following his confrontation with a cameraman during the third round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, which he went on to win.

Bryson DeChambeau celebrates with the trophy after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

In DeChambeau’s case, the only long-term threat to his “brand” is himself and the sooner he wakes up to that fact the better.

He took his anger out on that cameraman because he’d filmed him taking a swipe at the sand in a bunker. Really?

DeChambeau has made himself the centre of attention since the PGA Tour’s return last month, having embarked on a sizzling run of form since bulking up by 20 pounds during lockdown.

He’s recorded top-10 finishes in the four events so far, carding a combined 69-under-par in the process. To put that into context, he’s 20 shots better than his nearest challenger.

The Californian’s success on Sunday was his sixth on the PGA Tour in just 104 starts. He’s now recorded victories for a fourth straight season.

He’s bloody good and getting better all the time. Up to seventh in the world, he’ll be challenging for top spot before long if he can keep up this level of performance.

At the same time, though, the 26-year-old needs to start realising that the world isn’t just about him, even though he’s come up with his own unique method of playing the game.

I remember first coming across him at the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham and finding it fascinating as he talked about his clubs all being the same length and also how he soaked his golf balls in Epsom salt to determine the centre of gravity.

He is indeed golf’s “scientist” and now he’s developed a physique that is helping create an impressive all-round package on the golf course.

In the final round alone in Detroit, he averaged 360.5 yards off the tee. His longest drive in the event measured 377 yards while he hit 47 drives of 300 yards or more.

So far in his career, DeChambeau hasn’t come close to producing his top form in the majors. His best finish in 14 starts in those events was a tie for 15th in the 2016 US Open.

It takes a different mentality to get the job done on the biggest stages in the game and, just under two years ago, DeChambeau was having a meltdown on the practice area at Carnoustie during The Open.

He still needs to show that he’s got that major maturity and we’ll find that out in a few weeks’ time in the USPGA Championship in San Francisco.

Is DeChambeau good for golf? There are definitely some 
people, mainly those a bit younger, I suspect, who love him and credit where credit is due. He’s worked really hard over the past few months and is someone who puts 100 per cent into every single aspect of his game.

He’s certainly not the most likeable character in the sport, though, having done little to address his reputation as a slow player and seeming to lack the class of many of his peers.

It’s also worrying for the game that, in overpowering course after course, DeChambeau is going to breed a new generation of ultra-long hitters and that, I’m afraid, is going to prove a turn-off ultimately for many people from a watching perspective.

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