DeChambeau putting team first & forgetting about perceptions

Adam McKendry
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Bryson DeChambeau (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

He may be one of the most polarising characters in golf currently, but don’t think Bryson DeChambeau is going to change who he is to try and win fans over. In fact, the man himself insists, if anything, he’s going to do the opposite.

The World No.7 ended his print media boycott ahead of this week’s Ryder Cup – although it sounds like he’ll be resuming it once he returns to the PGA Tour – and used that time to argue that all he is here to do is win the trophy back for the United States rather than improve his standing with the fans.

With his stats-driven, wild-swinging style and a brash, seemingly cold approach, DeChambeau has both his supporters and detractors on Tour, with few falling in between. Unsurprisingly, it has led to questions over how beneficial his presence will be at Whistling Straits this week.

There are doubts over whether he can play in the foursomes given how differently he approaches the game to his team-mates, while his confrontational moments – most notably that feud with Brooks Koepka – have raised concerns over how good a team player he will be in the US locker room.

But the man dubbed ‘The Scientist’ at least attempted to dissuade some of those arguments and claimed that once the tournament gets underway on Friday, he’ll put all that behind him for the good of the team as the US aims to reclaim the Ryder Cup.

“I’m going to try to get as many points as I can, and I think that could potentially change (the perception) for sure,” said DeChambeau, who is playing in his second Ryder Cup.

“There’s always going to be people saying things no matter what it is. Even if I made a hole-in-one on every single hole out here, there’s always going to be people saying something. I’m not worried about it. I still love and respect them. I understand they have their opinions and whatnot and I respect those opinions, I see their points of view.

“But this isn’t about me. This is about the team going and winning the Ryder Cup. At the end of the day it’s not about changing anybody’s perception. I think it’s about getting the crowd behind us and allowing us to, I guess you could say, rile us up to win the Cup.”

That being said, the amount of comments being hurled at the Californian forced PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to threaten changes to the fan conduct policy which could see spectators ejected from tournaments for what he described as “harassment” of players.

DeChambeau has been subjected to cries of “Brooksy!” due to his ongoing feud with Koepka, while a particularly unsavoury incident with a spectator after his BMW Championship play-off defeat to Patrick Cantlay last month cast further shadows over his character.

“Sure, there are times where it’s not comfortable, but there’s also times where it fuels me,” responded DeChambeau. “I think this week is going to be an amazing example of it, and it’s going to be fun to be able to have the crowd behind us and pump them up and show them what I can hopefully do and what we can do as a team more importantly.

“I’m not going to make this about me again. This is about a team event. I’ve got a brass chest. I’ve taken a lot of heat, but I’m okay with it, and I understand I’m in the place where I’m at, and it’s going to be that way moving forward. I recognise it and all I’m going to do is my absolute best to show people who I truly am, and whatever people think about me is not important.”

DeChambeau also revealed that he and Koepka had patched things up in recent weeks after their long-running dispute, which stretches back to Liberty National in August 2019, and that there “may be something fun coming up here” between the two.

“We had some great conversations during Tour Championship week when we had dinner, and then this week as well. I sat down and had dinner with him last night, and it was fine,” he added.

As well as that, DeChambeau also cleared up some misconceptions over comments he gave to Golf.com where he claimed he had hurt his hands while preparing to take part in the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championship next week, with some believing it suggested he was not fully committed to the Ryder Cup.

His decision to become the first PGA Tour professional to compete in the event certainly did raise some eyebrows, particularly given its timing, but the former US Open champion explained the timing of the comments was a little off.

“When I had some blisters on my hands and wrecked my hands, that was before the FedEx Cup Play-Offs,” he said. “The Friday before is when it happened, the story came out later because I was talking about it and how badly my hands hurt after that because of how much effort I was putting into it.

“I played pretty well during the FedEx Cup Play-Offs. I just wish my putting and wedging was a little bit better.

“Leading up into this event, I’ve put full force focus into this event, and I think part of hitting it far is some of why I am so successful and how I could utilise my length on this golf course to potential advantage.”

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