Bryson DeChambeau hit only four of 14 fairways in first-round action at the British Open en route to posting a one-over 71. The golfer, who is attempting to merge brain and brawn in a way no one has ever seen in the sport, was reliably discontent after the round.
“If I can hit it down the middle of the fairway, that’s great, but with the driver right now, the driver sucks," DeChambeau lamented. "It’s not a good face for me, and we’re still trying to figure out how to make it good on the mis-hits. I’m living on the razor’s edge, like I’ve told people for a long time.”
There's an old saying about a craftsperson who blames their tools but golf is a notoriously delicate exercise where implements are of utmost importance. That a noted perfectionist like DeChambeau would demand perfection from the mechanical part of his science isn't entirely surprising and a rather unremarkable event in the Bryson Being Bryson experience.
So the story could have ended there. Instead, David Dusek at Golf Week hopped on the blower and got in touch with Ben Schomin, Cobra's tour operations head and fill-in caddie for DeChambeau in Detroit a few weeks ago.
And Schomin had thoughts. Big thoughts.
“Everybody is bending over backwards. We’ve got multiple guys in R&D who are CAD’ing (compute-aided design) this and CAD-ing that, trying to get this and that into the pipeline faster. (Bryson) knows it,” Schomin said. “It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid.”
DeChambeau is currently using a Cobra Radspeed driver that is 46 inches long and has 5 degrees of loft. You won’t find a club like that in your local pro shop. They are all made specifically for DeChambeau.
“He has never really been happy, ever. Like, it’s very rare where he’s happy,” Schomin said. “Now he’s in a place where he’s swinging a 5-degree driver with 200 rpm of ball speed. Everybody is looking for a magic bullet. Well, the magic bullet becomes harder and harder to find the faster you swing and the lower your loft gets.”
Adding to Cobra's frustrations, per Schomin, is the impossibility of keeping up with DeChambeau's changes. And inability to please, citing the seven driver heads the company has made for the golfer in 2021 alone.
There's candidness and then there's a barrage someone or some entity has been desperate to get off their chest. This feels a lot like the latter.
DeChambeau's unique demeanor is uniquely his. The problem, or so it would seem, is it does not feel like an advantageous place to be when the broader team around a golfer begins to stage what feels like some sort of quest for freedom or a public relations coup.
Or perhaps this is just par for the course. Here's Schomin in closing to Golf Week:
“It’s like an 8-year-old that gets mad at you,” he said. “They might fly off the handle and say, ‘I hate you.’ But then you go. ‘Whoa, no you don’t.’
“We know as adults that they really don’t mean that and I know that if I got him cornered right now and said, ‘What the hell did you say that for,’ he would say that he was mad. He didn’t really mean to say it that harshly. He knows how much everyone bends over backwards for him, but it’s still not cool.”