Brian Zeigler was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when he stepped in as Bryson DeChambeau’s full-time caddie after DeChambeau’s previous caddie, Tim Tucker, made an abrupt departure ahead of July’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Luckily, Zeigler, a swing instructor who had never caddied on Tour before, was a fast learner, and he and DeChambeau have gelled well, amassing three top 8s in five tournaments together, as well as a successful run at the Ryder Cup, where DeChambeau went 2-0-1.
It was an eventful summer for DeChambeau, who was also engaged in a lengthy feud with Brooks Koepka, which resulted in many instances of fans heckling DeChambeau with chants of “Brooksy” throughout DeChambeau’s tournament rounds. It was a lot for a rookie caddie to step into, and on this week’s episode of Subpar, Zeigler told hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz just how disruptive the galleries were, as well as the impact they had on the tournament as a whole.
“I can sense when things have disturbed him,” Zeigler said of DeChambeau. “So that’s when I’ll turn and look at somebody. But it’s all the time. And it was all the time. So it’s not that it was ever really quiet when he was hitting golf shots. The little bit of noise, it was all right. We were okay with that. We were accepting of it because that’s all I’ve known. And that’s all he’s been experiencing for the last six months or so.
“Where it really started to bother him more, and what people don’t get is like, we were playing with Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay on Saturday [at the BMW Championship] at Caves Valley — there was a six-hole stretch where I don’t think Jon or Patrick hit a shot when people weren’t yelling or moving around,” Zeigler continued. “And nobody wants to win under the situation where the fans are interfering with the golfer. You don’t want to beat somebody because somebody yelled in their backswing and they hit a bad shot, but through the first five or six holes, everybody was yelling, and Patrick and Jon and Bryson were all stepping off shots.”
DeChambeau ultimately lost to Cantlay in a six-hole playoff at the BMW. The PGA Tour later announced that disruptive fans would be removed from tournament grounds going forward, a development that Zeigler said was necessary — especially with the advent of live betting coming to golf.
“What’s it going to be like when there is sports live betting everywhere?” Zeigler asked. “[DeChambeau] had a lot of that running through his mind, and that bothered him more than almost some drunk fan screaming Brooksy.”
For more from Zeigler, including just how heavy DeChambeau’s bag is, and what it was like to become a meme at the Ryder Cup, check out the full interview below.