LOVE him or loathe him, you’ve got to admit that Bryson DeChambeau makes for quite fascinating viewing. It’s got to the point now where I’m genuinely fearing that his upper body is going to violently detach itself from the bottom bit when he unleashes one of his eye-watering swipes. 

That’s why I watch him drive off with my legs crossed, a wince and a sharp intake of breath. Or is it that my long johns have shrunk in the wash? Whatever it is, the bold DeChambeau has certainly made my Sunday slumps on the couch a trifle more animated.

Observing him shoogle, shuffle and shake into his stance before winding up to fire off one of his hurtling howitzers is a process of bubbling anticipation that should be accompanied by the Ride of the Valkyries tune. 

In a sense, a DeChambeau drive is rather like watching Evel Knievel louping the fountains at Caesars Palace. You are just waiting for the hands-over-the-eyes calamity.

The intrepid Knievel, who broke so many bones he probably suffered a fracture simply looking at one of his X-ray results, once said: “I did everything by the seat of my pants, that’s why I got hurt so much.”


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DeChambeau likes to fly by the seat of his whatever-he-wears too but it doesn’t seem to be causing him much hurt. His victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill on Sunday was the eighth PGA Tour title of a crash, bang, wallop career and a first since last September’s US Open. “You must play boldly to win,” was one of old Arnie’s pearls of golfing wisdom. Young Bryson certainly does that.

His potential line across the water at Bay Hill’s par-five sixth had been gleefully championed in the pre-event hype and DeChambeau didn’t disappoint when it came to the crunch. With the kind of daunting carry that was broadly equivalent to the one the aforementioned Evel faced at his famously disastrous Snake River Canyon stunt, DeChambeau took up the challenge during Saturday’s third round.

He thundered a drive of some 377 yards over the wet stuff which sparked delirious scenes of point-and-gawp wonder that would’ve made PT Barnum envious. That DeChambeau repeated the trick under the pressure of the final round spoke volumes for his brave, daring sense of adventure. What was it Palmer said about playing boldly again?

For some, of course, the sight of DeChambeau blasting away barnstorming bombs remains an act of golfing vandalism that’s more damaging than a Rangers title-winning party. The phrase “it’s not how the game should be played” was trotted out at the weekend amid much tut-tutting, crotchety chin-stroking, goading piety and sneering pomposity from those zealous advocates of reining in technology and rolling back the ball.

There is not just one way to play this very individual game, of course, and it doesn’t matter how you get that little dimpled thingamajig from A to B and beyond.

DeChambeau is certainly doing it his way. And for all his big-hitting – he’s not a one trick pony by any means – he was still required to roll in a knee-knocking five-footer on the final green to stave off the enduring, tenacious menace of Lee Westwood and win by a single shot. Strength counts for little if you can’t hold your nerve.


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Westwood, remember, is 20 years older than DeChambeau. It remains one of golf’s greatest attributes that a 27-year-old and a 47-year-old can parry and joust at the sharp end on a Sunday. It was an engrossing tussle of very different approaches. DeChambeau’s colossal drive on that sixth hole left him barely 90 yards from the hole. Westwood still had some 260 yards to go after his drive. They both walked off the green with birdies.

Amid all the muttering, head-shaking and harrumphing about DeChambeau, his distances and perceived one-dimensional golf, Westwood gave some calming reason. “I think golf's in a good place,” he said of the differing styles adopted by the main movers and shakers. “I don't know why everybody is panicking about it, I think it's exciting to watch right now, there are a lot of different combinations.”

DeChambeau’s bountiful quirks, foibles, complexities and eccentricities have been well-documented in recent years and the physics graduate has always been keen on the appliance of science in a game that is far from an exact science.

“It’s to do with anatomical limits of your body and how you can best utilise them for your proprioception,” he once said in a post-round chinwag. Funnily enough, that’s what this scribe gasped as I straddled a plugged lie in a bunker with a posture that resembled a flustered stork giving birth.

Whether DeChambeau’s bulked up body, pushed to its limits as he continues his one man crusade to stretch the golfing boundaries, stands the test of time remains to be seen. Given the punishment it takes, it’s hard to envisage him sustaining the longevity of Westwood isn’t it? Then again, one of DeChambeau’s more zany ambitions is “to live until I’m 130 or 140.”

Who knows what his future has in store. For the time being, though, we may as well hold on and enjoy the ride.