Bryson DeChambeau has a reputation for bearing grudges and sulking on the course… his decision to join the Saudi LIV Series will not surprise those well acquainted with his self-interest
- Bryson DeChambeau has been confirmed as the latest addition to the LIV Series
- The 28-year-old’s decision is unlikely to come as a surprise to those on the circuit
- The 2020 US Open champion has long displayed a self-serving attitude
- It has seen him become one of the most loathed individuals on the PGA Tour
Bryson DeChambeau’s defection to the Saudi-backed LIV Series will have come as a surprise to absolutely no one in the world of golf. The sport’s most polarising figure appears the most natural of bedfellows for the controversial rebel tour.
The American, who ruffles feathers with his attitude on the PGA Tour, has signed a multi-million dollar deal to join the roster of those who have already surrendered moral obligation and decency for the sake of self-interest.
It is perhaps a move that could have been sniffed a mile off, when looking at the 28-year-old’s reputation on the circuit.
Bryson DeChambeau has been confirmed as the latest star to defect to the Saudi LIV Series
From the new tour’s point of view, the move makes sense. DeChambeau is another major-winning string to their bow, an individual who will get feet shuffling through the entrance. For all his quirks, the American can certainly call on a following.
There is no doubting his credentials too. The 2020 US Open champion is a serious contender on any course he steps on.
His decision to focus on considerably improving his upper body strength has seen him become something of a phenomenon at the tee, regularly driving over 400 yards.
It is the kind of party trick that makes him an ideal candidate for any burgeoning competition looking to attract audiences. He undoubtedly possesses blockbuster billing within the sport. The issue is he knows it.
The American is a polarising individual within the sport, with as many fans as he has detractors
The spectators that flock to watch him at the first, or any other tee for that matter, are a constant reminder as to the fascination some have with him. But for all the adulation he receives from those who get a fleeting glimpse, a better indication of the measure of the man comes from those who regularly share the clubhouse with him.
His ability to rub those in golf up the wrong way is such that some choose to take their grievances public. It is no secret he is one of the most loathed individuals on the circuit.
Ian Poulter, hardly a shining example himself given his recent quotes over the past few days when refusing to answer relevant questions on sportswashing having also joined the LIV Series, has made his feelings on DeChambeau clear on previous occasions.
DeChambeau’s career highlight to date was his US Open success at Mamaroneck in 2020
Ian Poulter, another LIV Series competitor, once described DeChambeau as ‘not my cup of tea’
Following the American’s US Open win in 2020, the Brit posted on Twitter: ‘Say what you want about Bryson DeChambeau. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea. His [sic] isn’t my cup of tea but what he is is a Major champion and I have huge respect for winning the US Open.’
Tommy Fleetwood’s caddy delivered similar sentiment, praising his ability, before adding: ‘Am not a fan to be honest.’
Some of the issues individuals have with DeChambeau come down to his gamesmanship. For a long time he was called out constantly for his slow play, once taking nearly two and a half minutes to make a putt in 2019.
It led to criticism from others, some labelled him a ‘twit’, such as Eddie Pepperell on social media. Others called him a cheat. In any case, it led to the PGA Tour reviewing its own policy on slow play.
One of his most striking feuds though is his long-running beef with Brooks Kopeka. It arose first off in 2018, when Koepka challenged DeChambeau on his slow play at the National Trust Open in 2018.
DeChambeau (right) has a long-running feud with fellow American Brooks Kopeka (left)
The pair continued to publicly display their contempt for each other, DeChambeau taking aim at Koepka’s physique after his appearance in ESPN’s The Body Issue before blowing his own trumpet regarding his ownership of a six-pack.
His image is clearly something of great importance. At no point was this made clearer than his row with a cameraman at the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Purely for doing his job, and filming DeChambeau’s attempt to get out of a tight spot, the TV crew member was given an earful.
‘I think we need to start protecting our players out here compared to showing a potential vulnerability and hurting someone’s image. I just don’t think that’s necessarily the right thing to do,’ was DeChambeau’s bizarre reasoning behind his outburst.
In reality, though, no one has done more to damage that image than the man himself. Footage of him damaging a course at the WGC-Mexico Championship in 2019 was not a good look. Nor was his insistence that he did not need to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
He has altered the skillset of the game in some eyes, with his focus on upper-body mass
He has been known to storm off courses without shaking hands after being beaten to top spot. He’s also been called out for not shouting ‘fore’ on wayward shots. These are small things, but the small things add up to create a picture. The truth is, it’s not one many people like.
His flip-flopping on the call of the LIV Series will have endeared him to no one. It was only last week that he declared: ‘I personally don’t think that at this point in time I’m in a place in my career where I can risk things like that.’
In truth, his attitude towards January’s Saudi International should have telegraphed this move to most.
‘So, not a politician, first off,’ was his curt response when asked a similar question that has seen the likes of Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood squirm in their seats at the Centurion Club this week. ‘I’m a golfer, first and foremost, and I want to play where the best golfers in the world are going to play.’
As far as many on the PGA Tour are concerned, the LIV Series are welcome to him.
DeChambeau has often raised concerns about his public image and those that try to taint it
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