Low Amateur Bryson DeChambeau Battles Fatigue in Masters Debut

April 10, 2016

AUGUSTA — Bryson DeChambeau, the 22-year-old physics major and so-called “Golf Scientist,” did plenty of things well in his first Masters appearance. He finished as low amateur, at five over par, a score that if not for two loose swings on the 18th tee on Friday evening could easily have been three or four strokes better. He charmed the galleries with his peppy disposition and intrigued gearheads with his golf bag full of tricks. And he delighted the media with remarks like this, “If you can beautifully mesh the art and science sides to enhance your game, there is no downside.”

But the kid didn’t do everything well.

“I was tired today,” DeChambeau said after his final-round even-par 72. “I didn’t manage my energy very well beginning this week and that’s just experience. Wish I could change that and I think I’d be in a different position now.”

His time management issues started on Monday, when he was still tinkering with his clubs. Surely you know about his unconventional irons — single-length shafts, uniformly weighted clubheads. This week they even had cute Masters-themed names. (His 60-degree wedge is dubbed “King,” after Arnie. His 5-iron? “Azalea,” for Augusta’s par-5 13th. You get the idea.)

Just four days before his maiden Masters start DeChambeau was still calibrating his clubs on the range.

“I was trying to make sure that these irons were perfect for me, which they ultimately were,” he said. “And we just kind of messed up on that because it came Monday and, look, I was still trying clubs out.”

To ensure everything was tuned up, he took out the clubs on Monday for an unscheduled emergency nine. On Tuesday he played a high-wattage practice round alongside Phil Mickelson, and then tagged on another nine Wednesday morning.

“Which was fine,” DeChambeau said, “but at the same time, I should have been resting. Ultimately my body took a toll this week.”

His right hip, in particular, didn’t hold up. DeChambeau didn’t mention it until after his round Sunday, when he said his hip “gave out” on the 15th hole on Friday, which led him to pull two drives late in that round, including the tee shot he pulled left of left on 18 that led to a triple-bogey.

“I wouldn’t say that’s the full reason, but at the same time, it did affect me,” he said. “It was unfortunate, but again, it’s a learning experience.”

The learning experience continues next week in Harbour Town, S.C., where DeChambeau will make his professional debut at the RBC Heritage.

“I’ll have contour maps, I’ll have slope numbers,” DeChambeau said. “So I won’t have to spend as much time out there as I did for this golf course.”

He’d be wise to also pencil in a nap or two.