Having alienated people with slow play, argued with Brooks Koepka and split with his caddie, Bryson DeChambeau found someone new to annoy at the Open – his club manufacturer.
Cobra Golf did not take too well to Bryson’s exclamation that “the driver sucks” after his one-over 71 at Sandwich, according to Golfweek magazine’s David Dusek.
DeChambeau’s frustration with his inability to find the fairway boiled over when he came off Royal St George’s at lunchtime, having played on what was clearly the better half of the draw. Playing partner Jordan Spieth was one off the lead with a 65.
The clear inference was that he was frustrated with the club’s not preventing his wild mis-hits.
‘The driver sucks’
“If I can hit it down the middle of the fairway, that’s great, but with the driver right now, the driver sucks,” he said in a rambling answer to a question suggesting +1 was actually okay for having been all over the property.
“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. I’m living on the razor’s edge, like I’ve told people for a long time.
“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.
“It’s quite finicky for me because it’s a golf course that’s pretty short. So when I hit driver and it doesn’t go in the fairway, it’s first cut or whatever, or it’s in the hay, it’s tough for me to get it out on to the green and control that.
“Like once in the middle of the fairway like I had it on 18, I was able to hit a nice shot to 11 feet and almost made birdie. It’s forever.”
‘It’s literally the physics’
Didn’t he deal with this issue in practise, someone reasonably asked?
“I’ve realised this for years now,” he continued. “This has happened since 2016-17 when players stopped drawing it. There’s not very many golfers that draw it anymore.
“It’s literally the physics and the way that they build heads now. It’s not the right design, unfortunately, and we’ve been trying to fix it with no results yet.”
Cobra’s Ben Schomin, who caddied for DeChambeau two weeks ago when long-time looper Tim Tucker stood down, is also one of those who designed the Cobra Radspeed driver used by DeChambeau and modified to his Bryson’s specific requirements.
“Everybody is bending over backwards,” he told Dusek. “We’ve got multiple guys in research and development who are CAD’ing (computer-aided design) this and CAD-ing that, trying to get this and that into the pipeline faster.
“He knows it,” continued Schomin. “It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid.”
‘It’s very rare when he’s happy’
Schomin added that DeChambeau “has never really been happy, ever.”
“Like, it’s very rare where he’s happy,” he continued. “Now he’s in a place where he’s swinging a 5-degree driver with 200 mph of ball speed.
“Everybody is looking for a magic bullet. Well, the magic bullet becomes harder and harder to find the faster you swing and the lower your loft gets.”
Schomin continued that he wasn’t too offended.
‘It’s like an 8-year-old who gets mad at you’
Oh man, it's even better on video. The driver doesn't just suck. It SUCKS!pic.twitter.com/6Wzrhk0ovF
— Daniel Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) July 15, 2021
“It’s like an 8-year-old that gets mad at you,” he said. “They might fly off the handle and say, ‘I hate you.’ But then you go. ‘Whoa, no you don’t.’
“We know as adults that they really don’t mean that and I know that if I got him cornered right now and said, ‘What the hell did you say that for,’ he would say that he was mad.
“He didn’t really mean to say it that harshly. He knows how much everyone bends over backwards for him, but it’s still not cool.”
Perhaps Bryson needs to listen to the simple wisdom of the championship leader, Louis Oosthuizen, seven shots ahead of him after just 18 holes.
“I think number one, on this golf course, it’s hit the fairway,” he said. “You’re not going to be able to do much from the rough here or the fairway bunkers.
“Coming into this week driving the ball good is key. If you aren’t comfortable with a driver around this golf course, then don’t be scared laying further back. Just as long as you can get in the fairway.”
If the driver “sucks”, then maybe don’t hit it as often.