[Image: Simon Bruty]
This time a year ago, Bryson DeChambeau was a card-carrying member of the PGA Tour preparing to play for Team USA in the Ryder Cup. Ahead of the match against Europe at Whistling Straits, the most controversial question he had to answer was how he might fit in with teammate – and social-media protagonist – Brooks Koepka.
How quickly things change.
DeChambeau’s jump to LIV Golf in June means he is on the outside looking in regarding participation in pro golf’s team events, including next week’s Presidents Cup, an event he competed in 2019. Yet DeChambeau insists he’ll be tuning in to see what happens between the American team and the International squad at Quail Hollow.
“Absolutely. It’s golf entertainment,” DeChambeau said when asked if he’ll watch the competition while speaking to the press ahead of this week’s LIV Golf Invitational event at Rich Harvest Farms outside of Chicago. “I’m a golf fan, first and foremost. I’m going to watch golf wherever it’s played with some of the best players in the world, whoever it is.”
Mind you, DeChambeau, who celebrates his 29th birthday on Friday, would like to be doing more than watching the event on TV. He’d prefer to be playing in it, disappointed with the stance the PGA Tour has taken in suspending players who left for LIV Golf and prohibiting them from competing in the team competition.
“I personally think that the team events are only hurting themselves by not allowing us to play, not allowing us to qualify through some capacity, in some facet,” DeChambeau said.
Whether DeChambeau would have earned a spot on the team if he had remained with the PGA Tour isn’t entirely clear. An injury to his wrist led to several poor starts early in 2022 and ultimately required him to have surgery that sidelined him for a time shortly after the Masters in mid-April until early June.
Since returning to action he had a MC at the Memorial, a T-56 at the US Open and a T-8 at the Open Championship. Plus in his three LIV starts he’s finished 10th in Portland, T-31 at Bedminster and T-18 in Boston.
“Yeah, I haven’t done well, but it’s mainly because of a hand injury, and I think that over the course of time, I’m going to get back to that winning form,” DeChambeau said. “It’s taken a little bit longer than I thought. I never thought it would take this long to get back.”
DeChambeau will be competing in this week’s LIV event and the three remaining tournaments on the LIV schedule. In addition, he intends to make another start at the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championship, which returns to Mesquite, Nevada, September 27 to October 1. Just days after going 2-0-1 at the Ryder Cup a year ago, DeChambeau went to Nevada and reached the final eight.
“I’m focused on the golf this week, first and foremost. Next week is when I’ll start preparing really hard [for the Long Drive], and I’ve only got a week.
DeChambeau is optimistic that he can perform well again in the Long Drive after finishing seventh a year ago with a top drive of 406 yards.
“I mean, my speeds are not slow. I can get it over 200 miles an hour out here, so I feel like I can get to 218 to 220 out there, which would be good enough to compete and get to the top eight.”