Bryson DeChambeau admitted he came close to quitting the game during his media silence this year as scrutiny mounted on the American.
Never shy of being different, DeChambeau, dubbed golf’s scientist, came in for particular criticism for his vaccine stance. Having tested positive for Covid and withdrawn from the Olympics, DeChambeau felt he shouldn’t take a vaccine that others needed more than him, despite no reported shortages in the States.
“I’m young enough, I’d rather give it to people who need it,” he said. “I don’t need it. I’m a healthy, young individual that will continue to work on my health.”
In a tumultuous year for the controversial character, DeChambeau’s “rivalry” with Brooks Koepka seemed to take more out of Bryson than it did Brooks, not least with fans heckling DeChambeau with cries of ‘Brooksie’ for much of the season. While another now infamous DeChambeau outburst was levelled at club manufacturers Cobra who bemoaned their client’s childish response to his misbehaving driver.
“The driver sucks,” DeChambeau lamented, to which Cobra replied, “Everybody is bending over backwards. We’ve got multiple guys in R&D who are CAD’ing (computer-aided design) 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.”
And so it should come as no surprise to learn that a clearly stressful year took its toll on the now world number 8 who told the New York Post, “There was a point in time, I’m not kidding, where I just felt like I wanted to leave the game.”
“I got hit pretty hard,” he said. “That’s why I kind of walked away, because people were damaging character. It was all the stuff that was going on in social media,” he told the Post. “I was like, ‘I really don’t need this. I can walk away and be totally fine the rest of my life, be happy and go and hit the long ball and call it a day.’ ”
Although much of said damage to brand Bryson was self-inflicted, DeChambeau eventually decided he had too many people counting on him to pull the plug on his young career.
“I couldn’t let down the people that were around me, the people that truly believed in me,” he said. “So, I said, ‘No Bryson, you can do this for a long time.’ I had great people around me, and things changed for me. I got back to a place where I felt like I could continue.”
And if you’re a DeChambeau fan and want to know who to thank for his continued participation in golf… well, not all heroes wear capes, not even Marvel movie star Chris Pratt who came to Bryson’s rescue.
“Chris Pratt told me, ‘Look, when I’m doing a movie and people are saying the movie’s terrible and I’m not a good actor, that doesn’t define me,’ ” DeChambeau said of his Guardian in this Galaxy.
“I respect him, respect his opinion. He’s got a lot of great life advice from things he’s been through — some troubling times.
“He told me when I’m out on the golf course, people are going to define you and relate you to the golf. What really defines you is the person you are outside the game of golf. You’ve got to look at it as an opportunity to show people who you truly are.”