Will Bryson DeChambeau’s marginal gains reap dividends at the US Open and Masters?

 

If you’ve not watched professional golf for a couple of years, you’ll probably need to do a double take when you see Bryson DeChambeau now. The once slim, peaked-cap wearing player has become something of a body builder – golf’s own answer to the heavyweight titans of boxing or wrestling.

Such a lifestyle change was a conscious decision from DeChambeau, a player who has always sought to tinker with his game in order to make marginal improvements that might give him an extra edge against his opponents. The goal this time was to increase his power and driving distance, the method simple: to eat whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

“It’s a two-to-one carb-to-protein ratio, and I literally just have at it,” DeChambeau said. “I eat whatever I want whenever. Obviously, I’m trying to control the intake of sugars, but carbs are fine because I’m obviously sweating like crazy out here. So I just eat as much as I want right now. It’s nice. And I don’t gain weight.”

The result is a regular golfing behemoth, and DeChambeau has once again lived up to his nickname ‘The Mad Scientist.’ The question is whether or not such a change in his physique will help him become a consistent challenger for golf’s majors. His new look has already helped him win a title since golf’s return from lockdown, with victory in the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July. He also secured a top four finish at the recent PGA Championship, and will be hoping to push on and make himself a contender in the golf betting odds for the US Open and Masters titles later this year.

It’s in the majors that DeChambeau has struggled to assert himself in the past, perhaps falling victim to the power of nerves and pressure to overcome basic technique and the science of winning. He has won a number of smaller titles in his professional career, proving that he has the game to compete with the top players. The next challenge is discovering how he can do that on a consistent basis in golf’s biggest tournaments.

Indeed, the sport’s suspension during the coronavirus pandemic has perhaps suited DeChambeau’s penchant to tinker with his style and seek marginal gains. Such a break from golf will have helped him re-evaluate his game and highlight areas where improvements can be made. The weight gain and muscle building is his latest plan to get ahead in golf, and the results have been clear for all to see, with even fellow pro Rory McIlroy remarking on his progress.

“What Bryson is doing is very impressive,” the Northern Irishman said. “He always had speed. I remember playing with him back in 2016 in Abu Dhabi when he had just turned pro and he had speed back then. When he wanted to, he could hit it long. So he has always had the speed, though maybe the mass that he has put on has helped him get a little bit more. But he is making golf interesting, is getting people to talk about him and he has already won.”

Not everyone on the tour subscribes to DeChambeau’s eccentric way of thinking about golf and approaching the game, but the beauty of the sport is in its individuality, and the 26-year-old is nothing if not unique. The challenge now is to turn this mini spell of success post-lockdown into sustained excellence at the top of the sport, and make himself a favourite with every golf tipster. With a field of challengers just as hungry for success as DeChambeau is, golf’s ‘Mad Scientist’ will be hoping that his experimentation holds the key to defeating them.

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