When it comes to Bryson DeChambeau, we’ve been focused on the big numbers. Driving distance. Ball speed. Protein shake consumption. Now there’s another big number to focus on: 10. As in, the number of strokes he needed to play the par-5 15th hole at the Memorial on Friday afternoon, torpedoing his tournament in the process.
As golf fans, there’s a good chance you’re fascinated by the idea of a finely trained professional requiring double-digit shots to finish off a hole. But when it’s DeChambeau, who has recently been hailed as the game’s reinventor, it’s doubly must-see TV.
“Well, I didn’t think it was …” he said.
So let’s break down how it all went down.
Shot 1: DeChambeau hits his tee shot down the left side, finding the penalty area.
Shot 2: Penalty stroke. DeChambeau still has 288 yards left to the hole after taking his drop and decides to pull out a fairway wood from the rough.
Shot 3: DeChambeau launches said fairway wood down the right side. “That’s O.B.,” he exclaims. The ball finds a nearby yard, to the delight of some spectators enjoying a Friday afternoon cocktail. Still, it takes a late ricochet off a tree and ends up directly underneath the boundary fence.
Shot 4: DeChambeau drops.
Shot 5: Tries to hit the same shot he was just attempting — presumably a high draw. Unfortunately he hits nearly the exact same shot he had just hit. This one lands a couple yards farther out of bounds. A souvenir for the neighbors?
“He’s still in the process of learning what he’s doing right now,” Nicklaus said. “He’s gotta go through it.”
Shot 6: DeChambeau wanders up to ask if both his balls are, indeed, out of bounds. He takes another drop.
Shot 7: DeChambeau pummels another shot down the right side, but this one hits a tree and then a cart path, bounds toward another penalty area but settles safely in the rough.
This was where things got truly interesting. His Bridgestone had settled almost directly beneath the boundary fence, but no part of the golf ball was quite inside the line, so it was deemed out of bounds. DeChambeau didn’t think much of the first official’s ruling, referring to it as “garbage” at one point.
“I don’t believe that. Can I get a second ruling, please? Thank you,” he said. When that second official arrived, DeChambeau brought up Phil Mickelson, who hit one shot last year from behind a mesh fence at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Based on that shot, DeChambeau wanted to hop the fence and play his next shot from the yard beyond.
The rules official said he understood DeChambeau’s confusion but held firm. “When you have a fence, it’s post to post and you define [O.B.] at the front part of it,” the official said. “Unfortunately that ball is just outside of that.”
DeChambeau, clearly displeased, picked up his ball from beneath the fence and headed over to his second provisional.
“I don’t blame Bryson for asking for a ruling – he’s entitled to it,” Nicklaus said on the broadcast.
Shot 8: DeChambeau wedges it onto the green, some 30 feet past the hole.
Shot 9: He shorts his first putt, leaving a 4-footer.
Shot 10: DeChambeau rolls that one in for an unfortunate score of double-par, quintuple-bogey 10.
Strange times. The 10 took DeChambeau from 1-over to 6-over. He went from safely inside the cut line to well outside it. A strange byproduct of that shift was that Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka, each at 3-over, instantly became more likely to make the weekend.
Next, DeChambeau’s caddie, Tim Tucker, did his best to shield his player from any curious cameras as they played No. 16. That’s not something you see very often and took on extra meaning following DeChambeau’s conversation with a cameraman last week.
Finally, DeChambeau finished par-par-birdie, wrapping up a second-round 76. Not a bad score when a 10 is involved, but it does mean the world No. 7’s first missed cut since the Greenbrier last fall as well as the end to a streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes.
Never a dull moment.