Tag Archives: Bryson DeChambeau

If You Watched The Players Championship. . .

You learned three critical lessons.

First, The Stadium Course is probably more fun to walk and spectate at than play on.  Yes, the layout is beautiful.  Yes, the conditions are immaculate.  Yes, 16 through 18 provide great theater.  But imagine playing on a golf course this tight off the tee with water on 17 of the holes.  As soon as I splashed a ball, it would be in my head for the entire round – no fun!  I recall playing a very tight golf course after playing a wide open links course.  The switch to the tight tee shots was a small shock to my system and I never got comfortable.  Multiply that by 100 as the Stadium Course’s aim points looked like the size of a gnat’s rear end.

Second, play your own game.  Did you notice that defending champion Rory McIlroy shot 10-over and missed the cut?  Only afterwhich, he announced he had attempted to copy Bryson DeChambeau’s swing and it got in his head.  Are you kidding me?  Rory has done some stupid stuff in his career, but this is tops.  And hats off to DeChambeau.  This guy is a showman and is starting to garner a well-deserved big time following.  Could you believe he contended on this straight knocker’s paradise?

Bryson before and after. Photo by thesun.co.uk

Finally, I’m devoting 50% of my future practice time to putting.  I love the way Lee Westwood took a weakness and turned it into a strength.  Lee was one of the best ball strikers in the world but had hands of stone on the greens, which arguably prevented him from ever winning a major.  Yes, he three putted the 71st hole from a very difficult spot, but he was unbelievably clutch nailing tough par putts time and again when his long game left him.

This was a great tournament, augmented by real fans, finally!  Did you enjoy the 2021 Players Championship?  What was your favorite part?

Play well!

Your Best Friend

You are on the golf course hitting great shots and scoring poorly.  How frustrating.  Has this ever happened to you?  How you handle depends on your abilities to observe, adjust, and most importantly, how you treat yourself. 

Last weekend I was playing an afternoon round at my club, Blue Mash, where I have an expectation for a score between a 73 and 78, on a normal day.  I noticed something was off from the first tee box where the markers were pushed back, and the hole was playing into the wind.  My tee shot was well struck and barely cleared a fairway bunker which is normally an easy carry.  I had 5-iron in where I usually take 8 or 9 and made bogey.  It became clear from the setup and conditions that the course would play long and difficult.  I bogeyed the first five holes and could safely say that I hit a great shot on each of those holes.  At this point, I had a decision regarding how I would approach the remainder of the round.

When you are not rewarded for good effort, you get upset.  Dr. Bob Rotella says that when distracted by bad play or bad scores, you need to be your best friend out on the course because nobody else is there to help you.  I agree and have learned that positive self-talk is key and to not get down on myself.  I also understand that you can’t confuse effort with results.  Imagine how the tour pros felt on the final day of the 2020 US Open.  Only one (Bryson DeChambeau) managed to break 70 in the final round.  These guys were clearly scoring 5-10 strokes worse than a normal day and were grinding terribly.  They were frustrated and you could see how their scoring affected their game.  De Chambeau didn’t let it alter his attitude and approach and was victorious.  The guy is comfortable in his own skin and despite being a bit of an odd duck, is clearly his own best friend.

The temptation after a bad start is to press and try to save the round.  Last weekend, I had to resist by using positive self-talk and to try and focus on the next shot.  I was partially successful and finished with an 11-over 82.  Normally, after shooting a poor score, I’ll stew about it for a day or two, but I honestly felt that was the worst I could have scored for the way I played and the conditions that presented themselves.  The previous week, I hit the ball horrendously and carded an 8-over 79 on a different track, which was the absolute best I could have shot considering my ball striking.  Still, I took some positives away from that round and felt that my short game saved me from carding a round in the mid 80s.  The key in both situations is to understand and adjust to the current conditions and not get down on yourself.  Be your own best friend!  If you can do this, you will be mentally tough to beat.

Obviously, I have some areas of my game that need work.  I’ve got a tournament coming up a week from Monday, and a trip to the eastern shore to play on some tough venues.  I’m off to the course to practice. 

Do you confuse effort with results?

Are you your own best friend?

Play well!      

Putting With The Flagstick In???

Bryson DeChambeau. Photo by Andrew Snook / Icon Sportswire

Have you putted with the flagstick in yet?  Under rule 13.2a(2), you may now putt on the green without having the flagstick attended or removed.  Some players on tour such as Adam Scott, are taking every putt with it in.  The mad scientist, Bryson DeChambeau, has identified a COR (coefficient of restitution), whatever that is, and declared he’ll putt with it in to take advantage of this calculation (other than in US Opens where the flagstick is made of some different material).  Others are keeping it in or having it removed to suit situations.

Anecdotally, I’ve observed that most shots that strike the pin from off the green end up closer to the hole than if the pin hadn’t been in and this is in the forefront of my mind.  I have not played in 2019 (still rehabbing elbow tendonitis) so I have plenty of time to think about how this will play out.

My initial thoughts:

  • On long putts where I’d normally have the flagstick tended, I’ll leave it in as a backstop. This is definitely beneficial if I am coming in too fast.  The one exception is if the wind is blowing and the flapping of the flag creates a distraction.  Then I’ll ask for a tend.
  • On downhill putts of any length, I’ll leave it in as a guard against too much speed.
  • On short straight putts, I’ll leave it in and use it as a small target to try and bang the ball against. This will help me get more aggressive, which I badly need to do.
  • On short to medium breaking putts where I’m trying to feel the speed, I’ll take it out unless the hole is on a severe slope and I can guard against a runaway.

I have a system I use for putts of 15 feet and longer to judge the distance.  Will this need to change?  I was also planning on getting a professional putter fitting and replacing my 1980s model Ping Answer with something customized to my game, but this may have to wait.  Changing putter and approach at the same time may not be a wise choice.

The most important aspect will be to practice all putts with real flagsticks and not just those skinny little three-foot high metal pins used on most practice greens.  A round on my 9-hole executive course will be just the ticket.

Have you putted with the flagstick in yet?  Please share any thoughts or strategies you have.

Play well!