Sports

Bryson DeChambeau needs behavior change before it’s too late

Bryson DeChambeau is a mess.

The 27-year-old wasn’t in a good place entering this week’s British Open, his life so cluttered with outside distractions it was going to be almost impossible for him to realistically compete for the Claret Jug.

But, after what took place following Thursday’s opening round at Royal St. George’s, DeChambeau, who’s turned himself into such a lightning rod it’s becoming a detriment to his career success, needs to take a serious step back and reassess his behavior.

He needs to make himself accountable instead of blaming every other person or element around him for any lack of success he may have.

To review:

DeChambeau, frustrated by his 1-over-par 71 in the first round Thursday, shot a passive-aggressive-laced arrow directly at Cobra, his club manufacturer, claiming his driver “sucks’’ and adding that he’s been working with them for years to find the right driver for him with no good results.

“If I can hit it down the middle of the fairway, that’s great, but with the driver right now … 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.’’

Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau
AP

The only face that’s not good here is DeChambeau’s and the only mis-hit is coming directly from him.

“I’m living on the razor’s edge, like I’ve told people [read: Cobra] for a long time,’’ DeChambeau said. “When I did get it outside of the fairway, like in the first cut and whatnot, I catch jumpers out of there and I couldn’t control my wedges.’’

Here’s a concept Bryson may try: Hit better shots. There’s an adage in golf that’s been around forever and applies to amateurs coming to grips with their own flaws: “It’s the Indian, not the arrow.’’

DeChambeau went on to say that this issue has been taking place “forever,’’ adding, “It’s not the right design, unfortunately, and Cobra has been working their butt off to fix it, we just haven’t had any results yet.’’

When these comments got back to Cobra tour operations manager Ben Schomin, he understandably went ballistic in an interview with Golfweek, saying, “Everybody is bending over backwards’’ for DeChambeau, and adding that DeChambeau “has never really been happy, ever.’’

“It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid,’’ Schomin went on.

Schomin, you may recall, is the man DeChambeau asked with no notice to caddie for him at the Rocket Mortgage Classic three weeks ago in Detroit after his regular caddie, Tim Tucker, walked out on him on the eve of the opening round.

Schomin was reportedly having dinner with his family some two hours away and dropped everything to come help DeChambeau, who went on to miss the cut and refuse to do any interviews despite being the defending champion and an ambassador for the tournament’s title sponsor.

Bad behavior. Bad look.

Hours after Schomin and Cobra bit back at DeChambeau, the golfer posted a contrite apology to both on his Instagram account, but the damage was done.

DeChambeau, like all of the top-level players, is paid a lot of money to promote the equipment he uses. His comments after the round Thursday were unprecedented. Players don’t bite the hand that lines their pockets with millions of dollars.

But this is a classic example of one of DeChambeau’s biggest flaw — his complete lack of self-awareness.

I’ve always believed DeChambeau is someone who means well and wants to be liked by everyone, but can’t get out of his own way when it comes to expressing himself, because he’s so self-centered. I’ve written before how charitable he is behind closed doors, giving his time to visit children in hospitals.

But, like many elite athletes, DeChambeau believes the world revolves around him, and whenever he encounters any lack of success, it’s never his fault.

Last month at the U.S. Open, remember, it was “bad luck’’ at Torrey Pines with some bad bounces that caused him to disappear from contention on the back nine on Sunday when it was actually him who became unglued and lost his composure as he struggled with his game.

On Thursday at Royal St. George’s, missing 4 of 14 fairways wasn’t a product of the way he was swinging the club but a product of the product itself.

Bad behavior. Bad look.

Suddenly, the ongoing beef between Bryson and Brooks Koepka doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.

DeChambeau has bigger problems than Koepka provoking and trolling him. And he’d better come to grips with those issues before they derail what has potential to be a fantastic career.


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