ROCHESTER, New York : Bryson DeChambeau ditched his bulked-up look in favour of a slimmer physique and the decision is paying off as the LIV Golf member outperformed the game’s top players to grab the clubhouse lead at the PGA Championship on Thursday.
DeChambeau underwent a remarkable body transformation in 2020 in a bid to generate more clubhead speed and hit golf balls farther than anyone but has decided the extra weight could lead to health issues and so decided another change was in order.
Turns out DeChambeau, whose overpowering ways did help him land the 2020 U.S. Open and for a stretch made him one of the game’s biggest draws, was carrying not just added muscle but water weight as well.
According to DeChambeau, he learned that he was allergic to things like corn, wheat, gluten and dairy, and after cutting them out of his diet lost 18 pounds in 24 days.
“It was crazy. It wasn’t fat. It was all water weight,” DeChambeau told reporters at Oak Hill. “You know how I looked before. I was not skinny.”
DeChambeau made an ideal start to the year’s second major as he fired a four-under-par 66 that left him in the clubhouse with a one-shot lead over world number two Scottie Scheffler and Canada’s Corey Conners.
It may only be one round but it was the kind of performance the 29-year-old American has not been able to string together at a major in quite some time.
“It’s been a while. So nice to come back and start to finally figure out what’s going on with my golf swing,” said DeChambeau, who missed last year’s PGA Championship while recovering from hand surgery.
“As I’ve told you guys before, I’ve struggled with my driving. You see me out there on the range. That’s something I don’t want to do. I don’t want to be out there all night, but I’ve had to figure out what I did so well in 2018 and what made me so successful then.
“I feel like I’m catching on and trending that direction. Figured out a couple things this week, and it certainly paid off today.”
Entering this week, DeChambeau’s average position after 18 holes of a major championship was 52nd. When he won the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, he was in a share of 14th after the first round.
There is still plenty of golf ahead but DeChambeau is enjoying his position, feels confident and is most pleasantly surprised that he is hitting his driver straight after having got used to losing control of it over the years.
DeChambeau’s long road back into major contention has been a challenging one and along the way there were times where doubt crept in but he never lost hope that he would find his way to this stage again.
“I was disappointed. I don’t know if hate is the right word. It was more just frustrated and disappointed, like I’ve achieved this why can’t I just do it every day,” said DeChambeau.
“You know, that’s what we all think out here. But it’s definitely a game you can’t conquer.”