Bryson DeChambeau remains the talk of the PGA Tour. Playing partners rave about his length, admire his work ethic, even marvel at the dedication to his craft. He finished tied for sixth Sunday at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., his third straight top-10 in the restart since the pandemic.
Mr. Mass Destruction is turning golf into his personal experiment. He’s trying to get it down to a science. His fanatical exercise and protein-building regimen transformed his body in such a short time it is difficult to take your eyes off him.
He’s driving the ball obscene lengths — he almost drove TPC River Highlands’s 389-yard ninth hole — taking sight lines over doglegs unthinkable to other players on Tour, and has the best scoring average in the PGA Tour’s restart. For as long as he hits it, he is straight. Just about the only thing he hasn’t done is win.
And that raises the most provocative question: Will DeChambeau revolutionize the game?
Tiger Woods changed golf when he won the Masters in 1997. He was hitting driver-wedge into par-5s. Golf had never seen anything like him. It could be the same with this version of Professor DeChambeau, when he starts winning.
DeChambeau was a world-class player long before he turned into the Incredible Bulk. He won the US Amateur in 2015 and has five wins on Tour and six worldwide (none since November 2018). He’s only 26.
If he figures out the wedges, he will win, and he’ll win big (of course).
Will his unique formula for success be a blueprint to replicate?
“I’m trying to be the house,” DeChambeau said after his round on Saturday, referring to himself as a casino. “I’m definitely trying to be the house.”
The house wins, right?
Other takeaways from the Travelers Championship:
▪ Dustin Johnson won the Travelers and made it interesting, although you’d never know it by his gait. He walked off the 12th hole Sunday with a three-shot lead, then put his tee ball on No. 13 out of bounds and instead of a runaway, it was game on. Fortune was looking on Johnson on the drivable par-4 15th. Johnson hit a hybrid that appeared destined for the pond, but it hit, and sat, on the bank. Johnson didn’t get his flop shot on the green, but hit a classy lob to a few feet to save par.
▪ Have to feel for third-round leader Brendon Todd. He missed just one fairway through three rounds, then fell apart Sunday, a triple-bogey 7 on No. 12 effectively dooming his chances. Todd once struggled with the driver yips, going winless on Tour from 2015 to 2019. Not many players come back from the yips. But Todd did, and already has two wins on Tour this season and credits his coach, Bradley Hughes, for turning his career around.
▪ CBS commentator Nick Faldo returned serve Thursday at Brooks Koepka, who last week said players don’t need to be miked up if the commentators would just shut up. That didn’t sit well with Faldo. “I was looking forward to hear some more fascinating stuff from him today, but unfortunately he wasn’t around this week,‘‘ Faldo said of Koepka, who opted out, to protect the field, because his caddie tested positive for the coronavirus. “I know he’s watching at home, guys, because he loves listening to our scintillating insights. He’s probably poolside in his thong, enjoying himself.”
▪ If you wonder why you can’t put good rounds together, consider Mackenzie Hughes. He opened the Travelers with a 10-under-par 60 and the first-round lead. In his previous round, the last round of the RBC Heritage, he shot 78.
▪ TPC River Highlands is fun. The drivable par-4 15th is an exciting risk/reward hole, and the tournament has had some of the most exciting finishes on Tour. Jordan Spieth holing out from a bunker on 18 — and his leaping chest-bump with caddie Michael Greller — in a playoff against Daniel Berger in 2017 was a classic. The course is the second shortest on Tour, behind Pebble Beach.
▪ Denny McCarthy was the third player to test positive for coronavirus since the PGA Tour’s return June 11 (Nick Watney and Cameron Champ are the others). Players, caddies, and essential personnel, a total of 428 people, were tested at the Travelers before the tournament started, and it yielded three positive results: Champ and Ken Comboy and Ricky Elliott, who caddie for Graeme McDowell and Koepka, respectively.
▪ The Tour moves to Detroit this week, the fourth straight without fans in attendance.
Jim Hoban can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org