It was far from a dream start for Bryson DeChambeau at the Open Championship on Thursday. The 2020 U.S. Open champ signed for an opening round of one-over 71, seven shots behind leader Louis Oosthuizen. DeChambeau made four birdies, but also had five bogeys, and hit only four of 14 fairways. After his round, DeChambeau delivered an unexpected assessment of his day.
“If I can hit it down the middle of the fairway, that’s great, but with the driver right now, the driver sucks,” DeChambeau said, before launching into a lengthy explanation of what he perceived to be the club’s design flaws.
While it’s common for players to criticize their own shot strategy or mishits post-round, it’s almost unheard of for them to call out their equipment specifically, mostly because top players like DeChambeau are paid millions to endorse the products in their bags.
Reaction from Cobra, the manufacturer of DeChambeau’s Radspeed driver, was swift. Golfweek’s David Dusek spoke with Ben Schomin, Cobra’s tour operations manager, and stand-in caddie at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, who compared DeChambeau’s antics to those of a child.
“Everybody is bending over backwards,” Schomin told Dusek. “We’ve got multiple guys in R&D who are CAD’ing (computer-aided design) this and CAD-ing that, trying to get this and that into the pipeline faster. (Bryson) knows it…It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid.”
A few hours after his round, a chastened DeChambeau issued an apology on social media:
“The comment I made today in my post round interview was very unprofessional,” DeChambeau wrote. “My frustrations and emotions over the way I drove the ball today boiled over. I sucked today, not my equipment. Cobra and I have worked together for over five years and they are some of the hardest working people in golf industry and make an incredible product. Their team is like family to me, especially Ben Schomin who has been there for me every step of the way since I started my career. I deeply regret the words I used earlier. I am relentless in pursuit of improvement and perfection. Part of that causes me to become outwardly frustrated at times. With the new speeds I am obtaining, my game is a constant work in progress and so is controlling my emotions.”
DeChambeau will have at least one more round at Royal St. George’s to sort out the driver. He tees off on Friday at 9:26 a.m. ET alongside Jordan Spieth and Branden Grace.