DeChambeau’s journey to winning a major was a golfing evolution

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE) – On Sunday at Winged Foot in New York, Bryson DeChambeau had a simple thought after winning the 120th U.S. Open Championship.

“I did it,” he said afterwards.

The journey from Clovis kid to U.S. Open champion has been an interesting one for DeChambeau. It was a journey made possible by the support of Bryson’s parents, Jon and Jan. They had to make some sacrifices to make sure Bryson could develop into a standout junior golfer.

“My parents have given so much up for me,” said DeChambeau. “I mean, there were times when I went to school without any lunch money.”

Then there was the drastic change with his equipment, and with his swing that Bryson underwent while in high school. With the help of local golf instructor Mike Schy, the cerebral DeChambeau decided to blaze his own trail in the game and switch to single-length irons and a one-plane swing.

Not everyone was excited about his unusual changes.

Despite being one of the most talented high school golfers in the country, some big-time college programs did not offer scholarships to Bryson because of his unorthodox approach.

“Many nights and many days of back and forth, what are we gonna do with him?” said Bryson’s mother, Jan, from her home in Clovis on Sunday, where she and her husband, Jon, watched their son win his first major on television. “He’s got all these single-length clubs. He’s never gonna get into a college. (But) all these things, they worked themselves out.”

You could say that.

SMU wasn’t scared away by the unique swing. And, as a Mustang, Bryson DeChambeau became one of the top college golfers in the country. He won the NCAA individual championship as a junior. Later that summer, he added a U.S. Amateur title to his resume.

The following spring, Bryson turned pro after first playing in The Masters as an amateur. He was very successful in his first few years on the PGA Tour, especially in 2018, when he won three times.

But, ‘Bryson being Bryson,’ another drastic change was on the way starting in the fall of 2019.

“There are a lot of people in Fresno, and they recognize my wife and I,” said Jon DeChambeau. “So, we get a lot of questions, people asking us questions. ‘Oh, why did he do this?’ Or, ‘how come he’s doing that?'”

This change involved his body. Bryson DeChambeau turned heads in the golf world by putting on 30-40 pounds of muscle, and becoming one of the longest hitters in the game. And he used that newfound length off the tee in a hyper-aggressive style, where he hit drivers on holes that had traditionally called for more conservative shots.

“It’s not wrong,” says two-time major champion Zach Johnson of Bryson DeChambeau’s style, after Johnson finished tied for eighth at the U.S. Open. “It’s just very different. But also very, very effective.”

DeChambeau’s body change produced immediate results. He was the hottest golfer on the PGA Tour for the first month after its restart in June, posting four consecutive top-ten finishes and a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

Still, though, there was some doubt as to whether or not Bryson DeChambeau’s new aggressive approach to the game would translate to success in major championships.

It wasn’t until his T-4th at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in August when DeChambeau really proved the doubters wrong. And that continued into his performance at Winged Foot this past weekend, where he won by six shots and was the only player to finish under par for the tournament.

And that is despite only hitting 23 of 56 total fairways (41.07%).

“To all of those people, just shhhhh,” smiled Jon DeChambeau, while putting his finger to his mouth. “You gotta learn to believe in him, because the kid doesn’t fail.”

And believe it or not, Bryson DeChambeau says he is not done evolving as a player.

“Next week, I’m trying a 48-inch driver,” said DeChambeau on Sunday, immediately after winning his first major. A 48-inch driver is several inches longer than a customary driver used by most golfers on the PGA Tour.

“We’re gonna be messing with some head designs, and doing some amazing things with Cobra,” he added. “To make it feasible to, hopefully, hit these drives 360-370 (yards), maybe even farther. We don’t know.”

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