Bryson DeChambeau, on the topic of his newly divorced sponsor, says he was not surprised. He wasn’t upset. In fact, he says he feels quite the opposite.
“I love them,” DeChambeau said.
But a six-year relationship is over. Earlier this week, Bridgestone announced it was severing ties with the former U.S. Open winner after he made the decision to jump from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf last month, though DeChambeau is still playing their ball at this week’s Open Championship.
In a statement to GOLF.com, Bridgestone cited its relationship with the Tour — which is going head to head with LIV — as the reason for the separation. And DeChambeau, after Thursday’s first round at St. Andrews, said he understood.
“No, I respect it and understand everybody’s position and the ties that everybody has,” he said. “I respect it.”
In fact, DeChambeau said he hopes he and the manufacturer are still on talking terms. DeChambeau has been one of the faces of Bridgestone Golf since he turned pro in 2016; he signed a long-term extension with the company back in 2020 that included an even larger role in the development of future Bridgestone Tour B golf balls.
“I love what they do,” he said. “I still will hopefully continue to have conversations with the R&D team all the time. I’ve given them five or six different little things that have helped improve the golf ball. And hopefully will continue to do so.”
DeChambeau speaking kindly in public then shouldn’t be all too surprising. Of course, his comments on Thursday were just shy of the one-year anniversary of him critiquing his Cobra driver after a shaky Open first round at Royal St. George’s, where he commented: “If I can hit it down the middle of the fairway, that’s great, but with the driver right now, the driver sucks.”
On the subject of the controversial, Saudi-backed LIV, whom DeChambeau began play with late last month, DeChambeau was similarly unaffected. He was also asked by a reporter how “easy” it was for him “to focus and prepare this week with all the distraction and talk about LIV.”
“This is a major championship,” he said. “I’m going into it with a mindset that I’m focused on trying to win this golf tournament. So it hasn’t been on the top of my mind. I’ve been focused on competing [and] doing my best out here.”
DeChambeau was also asked whether he was concerned “what people have said about LIV and the thing about Tiger the other day.” To the latter, Tiger Woods was critical of LIV Golf during his pre-tournament press conference, saying, among other opinions on the subject, that “as far as … the players who have chosen to go to LIV and to play there, I disagree with it,” Woods said. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”
DeChambeau said he respected that thought, too.
“I respect everybody’s opinions,” he said. “I have no position on it. Again, for me it was the best decision for me at that point in time and still is.”