ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
AP photo by Frank Franklin II / Bryson DeChambeau tees off on the fifth hole at TPC River Highlands during the final round of the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship on June 28 in Cromwell, Conn.

It's every middle-aged couch potato's dream come true: Be richly rewarded for gaining 40 pounds while eating anything you want.

Only 26-year-old Bryson DeChambeau is neither middle-aged nor sedentary. After winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic with a final round of 7-under-par 65 on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club, he's literally the PGA Tour's next big thing, 240 pounds of power and purpose and 360-yard drives traveling 196 mph.

In other words, he's John Daly on protein shakes without the pajama pants, cigarettes and internal demons.

And in these perilous and uncertain times, DeChambeau is exactly what every professional sport needs to offset the lack of fans in the stands or on the course: He's must-see television, right down to the minor fit he threw Saturday over what he felt was a CBS cameraman recording too much of his frustration after a bad shot.

"As much as we're out here performing, I think it's necessary that we have our times of privacy as well when things aren't going our way," the Southern Methodist University product said of the incident. "For that to damage our brand like that if you actually meet me in person, I'm not too bad of a dude, I don't think."

He's become one really bad dude, in the best sense of that phrase, with a golf club in his hand since the PGA Tour returned a month ago from its coronavirus pandemic break.

In the four tournaments played since the return, DeChambeau hasn't finished worse than a tie for eighth and has totaled $2,135,939 in winnings. He has become so dominant so fast after putting on roughly 20 pounds of mass since March and 40 total since last fall that Kevin Kisner, who finished third to Bryson Biceps at the Rocket, said of the victor: "He understands what is the key to gaining the biggest advantage, and that's distance and mega distance. He just has too much time on his hands. He needs to start getting married and having kids and feel like the rest of us."

You want mega distance? Try this stat from the past weekend: On the two holes the tour used to officially measure driving distance, DeChambeau averaged 350.6 yards. It's the longest average achieved by a tournament winner since ShotLink began tracking in 2003. The previous record holder was some guy named Tiger Woods, who averaged 341.5 yards at the 2005 British Open at St. Andrews.

some text
AP photo by Carlos Osorio / Bryson DeChambeau watches his drive on the 11th tee during the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic this past Thursday at Detroit Golf Club.

Such power has certainly gotten the attention of the rest of the Tour, including former Baylor School and Vanderbilt sensation Luke List, who caught his first glimpse of the beefed-up DeChambeau at last month's RBC Heritage on South Carolina's Hilton Head Island.

Appearing on "Press Row" on Chattanooga's ESPN 105.1 FM with this newspaper's David Paschall and Jay Greeson a couple of weeks ago, List said he "was eager to see how big Bryson actually was. It's mind-boggling how physically big he really is. He's a monster. It's insane what he's done to his body and how he's able to hit it so far now."

List soon added: "It's pretty impressive, because not many guys could take on that kind of load to the body, but it's probably been fun for him putting on the calories that way, especially if it's going to help the golf game."

So how has he done it? A lot of it has been a training regimen that might make Tiger in his prime blush. Weight training. Stretching. Pull-ups.

And, then, of course, there's been the diet itself.

"It's nice," DeChambeau said a couple of weeks ago. "I get to eat — it's a two-to-one carb-to-protein ratio — and I literally just have at it. I eat whatever I want whenever. Obviously, I'm trying to control the intake of sugars, but carbs are fine because I'm obviously sweating like crazy out here. So I just eat as much as I want right now."

At least one golfer, Rickie Fowler, has gone on record as wondering how much of this newfound weight and power will be good over the long term.

"My only concern would be keeping (his weight) up but also staying healthy because it is a lot of (club) speed," Fowler told Golfweek. "It's a lot of pressure being put on the body in certain areas."

some text
AP photo by Seth Wenig / Bryson DeChambeau tees off on the 14th hole at Bethpage Black during the second round of the PGA Championship on May 17, 2019, in Farmingdale, N.Y. DeChambeau has gained 40 pounds and added power and speed to his golf swing since last year.

Still, DeChambeau has always marched to a different drummer. A physics major at SMU, rules officials once barred him from using a protractor during rounds to assess hole locations. He's been known to soak golf balls in Epsom salts to figure out their center of gravity. According to a recent New York Times article, he has signed autographs backward with his left hand despite being right-handed.

"I'm a total nonconformist; for me, it's about going down rabbit holes," DeChambeau told the Times. "I have to chase down the most scientifically efficient way to get the golf ball in the hole."

Being in the groove for one month does not a Hall of Fame career make. Far tougher golf courses than Detroit await down the stretch of this oddest of PGA seasons.

But just in case you think DeChambeau thinks his science experiment is complete, you might want to chew on his quote from two weeks ago.

"If I could get to 260 pounds and swing it upward of 210 miles an hour and control the ball, that would be amazing," he said.

If that happens, finding a wife and kids for him as soon as possible might be the only way to beat him, which some might say, in a roundabout way, was also what finally neutralized Tiger.

some text
Mark Wiedmer

Contact Mark Wiedmer at mwiedmer@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @TFPWeeds.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT