‘I can’t play golf today’: Did Bryson DeChambeau injure himself at Torrey Pines?

Bryson DeChambeau on Thursday on the 13th hole on the South Course at Torrey Pines.

Golf Channel

Bryson DeChambeau, before his third shot on the par-4 15th at Torrey Pines, had directed the gallery to move from his path to the green ahead, but now the marshal, whose job DeChambeau had temporarily taken over, remained in the way. “Sir, you’re right in the way,” DeChambeau shouted. There was a pause. “No, no, you are right in the way,” he shouted. “Come on.” 

To laughter from the gallery, DeChambeau then dropped his head and put his left hand on the bill of his white hat. After a few seconds — and a little more coaching — he finally hit away.

On a day where DeChambeau continually grabbed for his lower back, and continually massaged his left wrist, and yelled an obscenity after a shot, and had Golf Channel analysts questioning the severity of what they were watching, Thursday was not without a lighter moment from golf’s longest hitter. 

In the end, DeChambeau signed for an even-par 72 during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open, which followed a first-round 70, and he missed the cut by a stroke. But it was an eerie moment on his first shot of the back nine, after pulling out of an event two weeks ago due to a minor injury, that put in at least some doubt his immediate future, if not beyond that.

While DeChambeau did not talk to the assembled media afterward, several of his shots raised questions, beginning with his tee shot on the par-4 10th. There, after making birdie on the par-5 9th after a whopping 366-yard drive, DeChambeau hit, his body awkwardly finished left and he shouted, “Oh, ahhhh.” Almost immediately, he reached for his lower back with his left hand. 

“He’s hurt himself,” analyst Nick Faldo said on the broadcast. 

“Didn’t sound good,” analyst Arron Oberholser said. “Didn’t sound good from the tee.” 

“Something is biting him down there,” Faldo said.  

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Since adding nearly 40 pounds, a noticeably quicker swing and subsequent distance about two years ago, DeChambeau had played relatively injury-free before withdrawing from the Sony Open two weeks ago due to a minor left wrist injury. And that too, appeared to be an issue on Thursday. On his second tee shot on the back nine, on the par-3 11th, DeChambeau again leaned awkwardly to his left on his follow-through, then grabbed the wrist and continued to rub both it and his back over the next two hours.  

On 12, after a shot from a bunker, he shouted, “I can’t play golf today.” On 13, while he hit over the green, from 268 yards out, with his second shot, he yelled, “F***” on the follow-through. On 15, after a drive into a patchy ravine left of the fairway and a second shot that darted out, he said to his caddie, Brian Zeigler, sarcastically: “That felt really good on my wrist.”   

“He’s hurting, guys,” Oberholser said on the broadcast. “He is hurting.” 

Perhaps in a good sign for his playing prospects, DeChambeau birdied both 17 and 18, the birdie on 17 coming on a hole-out from a greenside bunker. Next week, he is expected to play in the Saudi International — and take the lengthy flight for it. 

“He’s giving it a go,” Oberholser said on the broadcast midway through the back nine. “Which I don’t know if in the long run that’s smart. Hands and wrists you don’t want to mess around with.” 

“I kind of like the fact that he’s trying to finish,” analyst Frank Nobilo said. “There’s an old saying that nothing happens when you quit.” 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.