Presidents Cup 2019: Bryson DeChambeau has grown in many ways since last Australia visit

December 11, 2019
Bryson DeChambeau greets fans on Wednesday at the 2019 Presidents Cup

MELBOURNE, Australia — Bryson DeChambeau has had plenty of feedback since stacking on 25 pounds of muscle in the past few months. Compliments like “you’re huge” have come thick and fast as results show from Muscle Activation Technique training he’s undertaken with California State University physiologist Greg Roskopf.

But one endorsement has stood out to DeChambeau, which came last week at the Hero World Challenge.

“I had Tiger walk into the gym in Albany and he was like, ‘Dude, that’s what I like to see!’ He was pretty positive about it,” DeChambeau tells GOLF.com.

Whether DeChambeau’s physique had any influence on Woods’ choices for the opening session of a highly-anticipated Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne is unclear. But U.S. playing captain Woods named Cup debutant DeChambeau as Tony Finau’s partner to take on the high-caliber International team pairing of Adam Scott and Byeong Hun An.

DeChambeau’s body has transformed so significantly that the Presidents Cup team uniform he was fitted for in May — during the Memorial Tournament — no longer fits. His chest size has increased from 52 to 54 inches, his neck from 17.5 to 18.5 inches, his waist from 34 to 37 inches.

It is more likely that Woods has put faith in DeChambeau’s experience on Melbourne’s famed Sandbelt courses. DeChambeau traveled Down Under twice in 2015 in the same year he won the NCAA title and U.S. Amateur. The first trip was to play the Master of The Amateurs tournament, where he tied for third at Royal Melbourne. He returned later that year to play two pro events: the Australian Open in Sydney and the now-defunct Australian Masters in Melbourne. The Aussie Masters was held at Huntingdale GC — a Sandbelt course only eight miles from Royal Melbourne — where DeChambeau finished joint runner-up, two shots behind winner Peter Senior.

Although he turned heads four years ago with his Hogan cap and science talk, DeChambeau laughs when asked if anyone remembered his last two visits to Australia. “No, I was nobody back then … nobody,” the World No.13 says. “I’m a different human being, now, for sure.”

If Aussie fans recognize him, it is because of what he has achieved in the four years since. He was low amateur at the Masters in 2016 before turning pro and winning five PGA Tour events in the span of 16 months. The hot stretch rocketed him to a career-high ranking of World No. 5.

DeChambeau’s renown has also been fueled by the public-relations headaches that have followed his fascinating pro career. There was the 2018 European Open in Germany, when DeChambeau was lambasted on social media for a very brief handshake with final group playing partner, and eventual winner, Richard McEvoy. DeChambeau later apologized to McEvoy “and the fans for my brevity on 18.” This year, he was caught on camera slamming a club into the face of a bunker at Riviera Country Club during February’s Genesis Open. A week later, he was seen damaging a green in frustration at the WGC-Mexico Championship. Again, he issued an apology. At the Northern Trust event at Liberty National in August, DeChambeau was at the center of online backlash related to slow play.

But as GOLF.com chatted with a candid DeChambeau at Royal Melbourne on Wednesday, the Californian said bodybuilding wasn’t the only growing he has done since his last Australia visit.

“I’ve changed a lot,” the 26-year-old said. “I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But certainly, those mistakes are what make me the person I am today — in a positive way. No matter what happens, I really appreciate all those mistakes that have occurred. It makes me human.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is DeChambeau’s belief that a scientific approach is needed at Alister MacKenzie’s masterpiece.

“There’s still roll out,” he says. “There’s still firmness values. There’s still friction values. Air density. Wind. There a couple more factors when there’s bounce and roll.

“Placing it off the tee is essential; it’s the only way to have a shot into the green. Even from the fairway. … It’s a course that is so dependent on the wind. If you’re playing the wind, it’s a totally different game. It’s a links-style golf course.”

Teeing off alongside Finau in their fourball match against Australian Scott and Korean debutant An, DeChambeau has one goal: to get his first point for an American national team. DeChambeau did not win a point in three matches as a Ryder Cup rookie in Paris last year.

“Which sucks, but it’s okay,” he says. “It’s not a big deal. You’re going to win some and lose some. Hopefully, I do better this week.”

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