ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
| In some ways, Bryson DeChambeau reintroduced himself at the PGA Championship.
He’s the same guy who won the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, but he’s so different.
DeChambeau is smaller, not that weighing 215 pounds is small, but he’s not the beefy, bloated master blaster who tried to conquer golf through pure power a few years ago.
He’s also humbled, not necessarily humble, but DeChambeau doesn’t sound like a man who believes he has all the answers now. He still believes he knows what’s best for him and will travel his own path.
With a new body, a healthy hand and a steady rebuild of the confidence he lost when his body betrayed him, DeChambeau posted a tie for fourth at Oak Hill that was a reminder not just of how good he can be but also of his own unique character.
“I want to be just stable now. I'm tired of changing, trying different things. Yeah, could I hit it a little farther, could I try and get a little stronger? Sure, but I'm not going to go full force.”
Asked whether he is closer to the end or the beginning of his journey, the 29-year-old DeChambeau didn’t hesitate.
“The end of it, for sure,” he said. “I want to be just stable now. I'm tired of changing, trying different things. Yeah, could I hit it a little farther, could I try and get a little stronger? Sure, but I'm not going to go full force.”
With his move to LIV Golf last year, DeChambeau created headlines for his decision rather than his performance. He played six LIV events in 2022, and a T10 was his best finish.
Until he finished seventh individually in LIV’s most recent event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, DeChambeau did not have a top 15 individual finish this year, though his Crushers GC team has one victory.
At Oak Hill, DeChambeau looked more like the guy who manhandled the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, though in a slimmed-down body. He shot 66 to start the tournament, and it was like a welcome-back party.
Gone from the PGA Tour and having managed just one top-10 finish in a major since his U.S. Open victory, DeChambeau missed time because hand and hip issues led him to re-evaluate his approach to the game.
He has given up the protein shakes. Though he still swings for the fences, DeChambeau has undergone a personal and professional evolution that continues, and he wasn’t afraid to go into detail about his dietary changes that led to his new look.
“A lot of diet changes and eating a lot going down to 5,000 calories down to 2,900, whatever it is now,” DeChambeau said. “Eating properly instead of eating stuff that inflames my body. I took a Zoomer peptide test, which essentially tells you what inflames your blood when you eat it. I was allergic to corn, wheat, gluten, dairy. Pretty much everything I liked, I couldn't eat. I took that out.
“Started taking it out in August, and over the course of time I've lost all this inflammation, lost a lot of fat and slimmed down like crazy. I lost 18 pounds in 24 days. It was crazy. It wasn't fat. It was all water weight. You know how I looked before. I was not skinny. So, a lot of changes in that regard.”
DeChambeau is still a polarizing figure in the game. When he was introduced Saturday, playing alongside Brooks Koepka, some fans booed DeChambeau.
He started the final round three strokes behind Koepka but found himself chasing throughout the day, never getting close enough to put serious pressure on the eventual champion.
It is, however, a philosophical DeChambeau who came and went at Oak Hill, understanding where he’s been and where he might go.
“Each day I had always this glimmer of hope that I could get back to it. It was never like, ‘I've got nothing; I'm done,’” DeChambeau said.
“I could have easily been like, ‘You know what? I had a great career. I'm good.’ But I didn't because I knew I had it in me to do it every single day, and I worked as hard as I could every single day. There were times I doubted myself, severe doubts, but never got to a point where I was done.”
Ron Green Jr.