Is this version of Bryson DeChambeau here to stay? Our writers weigh in

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau is riding high after signing for a first-round 66 at Oak Hill.

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Check in each day of this week’s PGA Championship for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topic in the tournament, and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com.

Surprise, surprise: Bryson DeChambeau is the clubhouse leader at the PGA Championship (with Eric Cole one stroke ahead with four holes remaining). DeChambeau, who not long ago was making weekly headlines in the golf world, has struggled with injuries, his form and went from bulking up to recently slimming down, but he was excellent on Thursday, signing for a four-under 66. Is he … back? And how convinced are you he’ll be in contention come Sunday?

Sean Zak, senior writer (Sean_Zak): Not back. But I think he will be soon! It takes most of these pros months and months to really bounce back to their best stuff. And Bryson has spent about a full year now playing extremely average golf. He seems on the swing out of that, but doing it for 72 holes is immense. It just is. I think he’ll hang around into the weekend but I don’t expect him to be contending Sunday afternoon. And that can still be considered a success!

Jack Hirsh, assistant editor (@JR_HIRSHey): I’m still not sold. Not that one bad swing can make or break a player, but DeChambeau drilled another pro about to hit a drive on the 18th tee, some 33 yards right of the 17th green he was aiming for. I think that still shows he has the wildness that was on display at times during the “beefy Bryson” era. He hit nine fairways Thursday, which is great for someone with his distance, but I’m not convinced he can keep it going. I’ll side with Sean in that even if he fades, it’s still an important week for him.

bryson dechambeau at the PGA Championship
There’s a strange new Bryson DeChambeau at the PGA Championship
By: James Colgan

Dylan Dethier, senior writer (@dylan_dethier): He was basically giddy when he got to his press conference, and who could blame him? Imagine if you played your best round of golf in years and then went straight to reporters afterwards! You might get a little carried away, too. So, yeah. Not every round will be this good. Not every course will suit him this well. But if he can keep driver in the short grass on narrow fairways, he’ll be in the mix just about every time.

Jessica Marksbury, senior editor (@Jess_Marksbury): Having Bryson back is an exciting prospect. He always makes things more interesting! But as we know, one good round does not a major champion make. There’s a long way to go. I think the true test will be getting through Friday’s second round to a late-afternoon pairing on Saturday. Playing under that kind of pressure — and media scrutiny — will be an excellent litmus test of where his game really stands. I’m not convinced he’s there yet. But I hope I’m wrong!

Ryan Barath, senior editor, equipment (@RDSBarath): Ask and you shall receive — and for the first round of the PGA Championship the content gods have delivered Bryson atop the leaderboard. Do I think he’s back? No, but what I think we have here at Oak Hill is a golf course that suits a player that can hit it a long way (even if it’s not long-drive long anymore) and can save pars when driving it into the rough. In a way, Oak Hill is playing like Winged Foot Lite and Bryson’s game matches up very well to this style of golf. We’ve seen him win before on tough courses, while also struggling when you have to go way under par to win, and when you mix in a confident player with a course that matches their game it’s a recipe for good play. How long will this last? Your guess is as good as mine, but having Bryson in the mix is going to make this very interesting.

Josh Sens, senior writer (@JoshSens): I don’t know if he’s back so much as he’s back at a venue and a setup that weeds out a lot of the field and allows him to play to his strengths: Bomb and gouge, a la Winged Foot. We might be seeing a reprise of that Massacre at Mamaroneck.

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