At the Masters, Bryson DeChambeau found something he wasn’t expecting

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau acknowledges the patrons Sunday at Augusta National.

Darren Riehl /

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Every Masters Sunday, right outside the scoring area, we are offered a catalog of emotions. A week of playing golf on a knife’s edge is finally over and players tend to bear it all. Joy, tears, relief, kisses, pride, hugs and handshakes. We are left with those visuals as they jet off to another tournament in another place.

The final visual of Bryson DeChambeau at the 2024 Masters is a series of morose hugs. One with his caddie, one with his agent and one with his manager. Sighs instead of smiles.

In that moment, it doesn’t make sense. How could this week of mostly high highs and a handful of lows lead to Bryson being blue? To use his terms, he got the tingles. The sensation of something special coming together, only for it to fall apart.

“It’s a weird thing to say,” DeChambeau admitted Sunday night. “It’s almost like goosebumps. It was early in the week too. I was like, whoa, ‘I’ve got to calm that down. It was too quick, too early.’”

That opening 65 is a distant memory now but it should have some lasting life for DeChambeau, maybe the golfer in the field who needed it most. He squeezed every drop of brilliance from those 18 holes — guessing the wind, begging to hit greens, praying his ball through tiny windows in the trees. He putted his ass off. He got the first press conference in the Masters media amphitheater, an honor bestowed upon one or two players a day. Was Bryson back? He was giddy, if nothing else. About his YouTube channel, his faith, his barely legal equipment.

The next day, he did it again. Not the 65, but a working man’s 73 in the toughest test in recent Masters history. He earned another of those rare press conferences, in the room that feels like a library with dark wood, hushed acoustics and sconces that splash soft lighting. In that room, it’s all about you. And if you are all about you, it has to feel good. DeChambeau definitely enjoys it.

Except the next time he spoke to the press he had an audience of one: the editor of That’s what happens when you shoot a Saturday 75. An hour later he was in the parking lot poking fun about his putting performance with some fans. That felt like a different man. Maybe just one on his best behavior at the Masters, a tournament he could soon be begging for invites to in 2026.

If you gave up hope then, that’s fair. He was four shots back of the best player in the world and the gap wasn’t getting any smaller. To try and compete with Scottie Scheffler over 72 holes is a fool’s errand. No one does it. But the pursuit can leave you forgetful of where DeChambeau was 12 months ago: 148th in the world, according to DataGolf.

“It’s been a journey, to say the least,” DeChambeau said early in the week. “One that I have thoroughly enjoyed, but also it’s taken a big toll on me in numerous situations.”

He refused to expand on what that meant, but there’s a story there. Maybe he’ll share it next time. It fits some sort of theme that Team DeChambeau has agreed upon. Their man is more settled than ever. Is that as settled as the most settled person in your life? No. But it’s clearly better than where DeChambeau was a year ago, when his golf was bad and he was suing the PGA Tour. Or 2.5 years ago, when he was on a media refusal tour. His caddie, Greg Bodine, who joined DeChambeau 11 months ago, says his player is no longer trying to force the world into accepting him, and has found comfort by just trying to be himself.

“That’s what you see on YouTube,” Bodine said Sunday night. “That helps you in a tournament like this one where everyone’s name is on the board and there’s just one number next to it.”

Bodine is a no-nonsense caddie who joined DeChambeau on a no-nonsense clause. Bodine owns his own company in Seattle and was plenty content riding things out there. He’d join the team only if DeChambeau promised to bring his best attitude to work. Four majors in, they’ve got four made cuts, two top 10s and a new batch of tingles. When DataGolf publishes its newest ranking Monday morning, DeChambeau will have climbed into the top 20. In that sense, he is absolutely back. (The golf has been good for about eight months now.)

Years from now, when we look back on the 2024 Masters, we will all remember Scottie Scheffler’s dominance. Maybe it’ll be Max Homa’s inspirational quotes. It’ll probably signal the start of the Ludvig Åberg Era for all future golf debates. But a good piece of the pie must go to DeChambeau. The 18-hole solo lead. The 36-hole co-lead. The Saturday night hole-out. Him yanking a Masters sign out of the ground and hoisting it over his shoulder like a championship belt. Heck, even the ace he made during the par-3 contest, high-fiving everyone on the tee box before turning back to address the broadcast camera. When the red light is on, he is on.

Shortly after that dreary lineup of hugs, DeChambeau stood in front of the clubhouse for about 10 minutes, powwowing with his team one final time. They loaded into a golf cart and headed toward the parking lot.

It all had to sink in at some point that night — either leaving Augusta National or getting on the private plane or landing back home in Dallas — that DeChambeau’s Masters week was one big tease. It was a reminder of what can happen when one of the game’s best entertainers plays well in front of the game’s biggest TV audience, on one of the game’s greatest courses. It was a reminder of one piece the PGA Tour is missing and a reminder of exactly what LIV Golf paid for. And it didn’t even end in victory. That should tell us something. The next month should, too, as we wait for the next major championship on the docket. When one ends, it’s almost impossible to think about anything else. (Apologies, RBC Heritage.)

DeChambeau himself is already looking forward to returning next April. In the meantime, he’s got a date in Australia. In seven days, he’ll shove off for LIV Golf Adelaide. By the time he arrives, it’ll already be Tuesday and his 54-hole event will begin that Friday. He might get a press conference in between, but it’ll feel nothing like how this week’s made him feel. The topic he’ll be asked about most is already locked in. The Masters. That Masters. The one where he reentered the conversation. 

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