Even before Bryson DeChambeau decided to transform himself into one of the pro golf’s longest bombers, he had made a name for himself as the Tour’s “mad scientist,” using his exacting nature to squeeze every possible ounce of advantage out of both his equipment and his swing.
Turns out, his ultra-technical endeavors aren’t anything new. According to Harry Higgs, DeChambeau’s college teammate at Southern Methodist University outside of Dallas, Texas, DeChambeau’s approach to the game was unique even then.
On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Higgs explained what it was like to play alongside DeChambeau in their pre-PGA Tour days.
Higgs played for two years at SMU before DeChambeau joined the squad, and said that DeChambeau drew everyone’s attention beginning with the team’s first tournament.
“He obviously does things in Bryson’s way, which is very different,” Higgs said. “Everybody was kind of like trying to poke holes in the stuff that he was doing, and we were just like, Man, this kid is so good, you keep doing your crazy s—, Bryson, and basically, for me, it was like, You keep doing your weird s— and shooting good scores, and all I’m gonna do is try to beat you, because if I beat you, I’m gonna do well.”
Harmon then asked Higgs if DeChambeau’s quirks had increased since he became a major-winning PGA Tour star.
“I think Bryson has stayed the same level of weird,” Higgs said. “And I say that with all due respect.”
Higgs conceded that every professional golfer is weird — weirder than you’d think.
“But I didn’t understand any of the stuff that he was doing,” Higgs said. “The single-length irons, all this stuff. I was like, argh. But he spent so much time on his equipment and the golf ball.”
Higgs relayed the story of DeChambeau soaking his golf balls in epsom salts to identify the ones that were perfectly balanced — and complaining when many of them weren’t.
“All that, to me, was wild,” Higgs said. “Just grab your 7-iron, man, and hit a golf shot. You don’t need to go through all this. But the results spoke for themselves, dude. And part of the reason why he is who is he and he’s had the success that he’s had, he doesn’t give a s—, and he knows he’s weird, and he’s just gonna make his weird stuff work.”
For more from Higgs, including what he thinks is the most impressive part of Dustin Johnson’s game, and the rationale behind his unique on-course look, check out the full interview below.