When donning the Hogan cap on-course, one would think he might need a cane. And when he takes it off, he becomes this vibrant little fellow who looks like he just got his senior driver’s license. Well, after round 2 of the Masters, Bryson DeChambeau looked like that elated kid who just passed his driving test. In his first Masters, as an amateur no less, he wasn’t just having fun- he was flat out balling at Augusta National. On Thursday and Friday when conditions were extremely windy and names like Zach Johnson, 2-time Masters Champs Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson were more than seven over par and missed the cut, DeChambeau was sitting at even par, just four shots behind leader Jordan Speith and 3 behind chaser Rory McIlroy.
Bryson DeChambeau isn’t your typical amateur overwhelmed and caught up in the moment at Augusta National Golf Club. Only 22 years old, he’s managed to do what only four other players in history have done. In his senior season at SMU, DeChambeau won both the NCAA individual title and the U.S. Amateur title. The only other golfers to do that? Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore. Not so bad company, right? Nicklaus, Woods and Mickelson are all multiple-time Masters winners. Bryson could have a career full of Green jackets and major titles if he can replicate his success on the PGA tour from the collegiate and amateur level.
One of those golf legends, Phil Mickelson, played a practice round with DeChambeau on Tuesday and had only high praise to offer.
“I really enjoy spending time with Bryson because he comes at the game from such a different point of view and has such well thought-out opinions as to why and how it should be played a certain way, a different way, the way he plays it. He’s a terrific player,” said Lefty.
The different point of view that Mickelson mentioned is what makes Bryson DeChambeau such a unique personality and one of the up-and-coming golfers to watch in upcoming years. Aside from wearing the Hogan cap, the Californian plays with irons that are all the same length! Each one is 37 ½ inches, the length of a standard 6-iron. Typically irons are different lengths with the higher-numbered irons being shorter and the lower-numbered irons being longer.
DeChambeau has the key elements when it comes to being successful on the PGA Tour; belief and confidence.
“I believe I’ve gotten here for a reason, and that reason is because I believe in what I do. Had I not done it, I might not have believed as much in what I did, compared to what I do now. And that’s partly the reason why I’m here.”
Bryson’s character doesn’t stop there. He’s named each one of his clubs, notably “King”, for Arnold Palmer’s 1960 Masters win, on his 60-degree wedge, as well as Jackie (Robinson) for his 9-iron since it’s the 42-degree club.
It’s no surprise that numbers govern his approach to the game. A physics major at SMU, Bryson engineered his custom swing after reading the book The Golfing Machine. After switching to a same-sized set of irons in his senior year of high school, the bright light that shined on Bryson’s potential seemed to fade away. Stanford and Cal, both very interested at one point, pulled out. Luckily, he had enough success with the clubs that SMU offered him a spot on the golf team and since then he’s shown the poise, skill and charisma to become a top-tier player in his career.
There is no shortage of praise being thrown from today’s top players as well, such as Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
“He’s not scared of the moment,” Spieth said.
McIlroy added, “I’m sort of looking forward to see how he does, too, because he’s a great talent and obviously has his own unique way of playing.”
After Friday’s round when asked about the fighting conditions, DeChambeau offered that “I kept trying to be as patient as possible until the birdies came.”
Well, it’s pretty clear to the golf world that if DeChambeau is patient for those birdies to come in the future, we’ll be seeing another young star, one referred to as the “Mad Scientist.”