Golf

Bryson DeChambeau’s road show comes up flat in final round of Players Championship


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A large portion of the limited numbers of fans allowed to attend the Players Championship flocked all week to watch the biggest show on turf these days.

On Sunday, however, they wondered what was wrong with the leading man of the show, Bryson DeChambeau.

After all, he had owned the weekend in winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, electrifying the galleries with his power – he drove over a lake twice – precision and putting in winning his eighth PGA Tour title.

He had become must-watch TV since adding 40-50 pounds to his frame and plenty of mph to his ball speed. He loved to play to the crowds. He was anything but vanilla and he was winning.

And the reigning U.S. Open champion kept delivering with his firepower and soft touch here at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, the home to the PGA Tour’s flagship event. Heading into the final round, he was but two shots out of the lead set by Lee Westwood, who DeChambeau kept at bay in winning at Arnie’s place.

Players Championship: Leaderboard | Photos | Winner’s bag

And then the final round started and DeChambeau looked like a magician who couldn’t pull the rabbit out of a hat, a thespian forgetting lines, a musician missing the beat.

He didn’t devour the first three par-5s. He wasn’t making any putts. And then he topped one – he said he thinned it – with a hybrid off the fourth tee. The man who can dial up 350 yards had just hit one 143 yards into a water hazard.

Puzzled looks peppered the crowds.

His next shot wasn’t much better. After taking a drop, he nearly hit his shot off the course, the ball flying deep into trees. Turns out, he cracked his 4-iron with the mighty blow.

“Golf,” the big man said about what was going on out there. “I was hitting it pretty good for the most part. I don’t know what happened on 4. That’s the game.

“I’m OK with it. Still smiling after. I fought really hard. It just seemed like something wasn’t going my way today for some reason. I could feel it. It was weird. Just numerous putts that I hit, it was like, OK, that’s a really good putt, and it didn’t go in.”

After taking double on the fourth, he was four shots out of the lead but somehow put what happened on the hole in the rearview even though he said he had never done that before in his career in competition.

“I was trying to hit more of a low bullet and just kind of caught the heel, a little high on the thing. It wasn’t really a top, it was more like a thin ball that just had no spin on it and just knuckled,” he said. “But it’s one of those things that I just didn’t have it all today. I was proud of the way I fought, proud of the way I persevered, and there’s still more tournaments to be had.”

Then the 4-iron cracked.

“I couldn’t use it all day,” he said. “It sounded really weird and just came off horrifically, and I’m like, oh, and there’s a line in the bottom of the club. Things just didn’t pan out the way that I thought they should have, and I set myself behind the 8-ball quick, and I wasn’t able to recover fast enough.”

But he did recover.

He made three birdies and an eagle on the 16th to finish with a 1-under-par 71 and in a tie for third at 12 under, two shots back of Players champion Justin Thomas. And he left TPC Sawgrass with his head held high and looking to the future.

“I can play on golf courses that don’t really suit me,” he said about his biggest takeaway of the week. “That’s a big lesson. I’d also say, no matter what happens, no matter if I pop a shot, no matter if I thin a shot, whatever it was, and make a really good double or could have been triple or quad, I’m still never out of it for the most part. I know my game is good enough in most facets to get it back and compete with the best of them.

“I’m going to go back and work really hard on my golf swing and figure out how to, again, be less sensitive. I was more sensitive last week and pulled out the victory. I got a little lucky. Just putts didn’t fall today.”





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