He knows the physics, angles, algorithms and science of a golf swing.
His clubs are all the same length, each with those big, fat, over-size grips. The putter he uses has about as much flex as a four-foot section of wrought-iron.
Bryson DeChambeau plays golf like no one else, he’s the walking, breathing edition of Homer Kelly’s book — The Golfing Machine.
His is the perfect one-plane swing, mechanical, effective.
His science, his physics and his mathematical approach to the game may sound like weird science to most of us but it was darn effective at Jack’s Place, good enough for the 24-year-old California Kid to emerge with his biggest win to date — The Memorial Championship and the heartfelt congratulatory handshake and chat with Jack Nicklaus that goes to the winner.
It didn’t come easy over the final 18 holes for DeChambeau, a guy easily recognized by his Ben Hogan cap, a tribute of sorts to the late Payne Stewart, Southern Methodist University’s most famous golfer. DeChambeau was an SMU guy who showed up on tour with the rare amateur credentials — an NCAA individual title and a U.S. Amateur title. Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore were the only others with those achievements.
DeChambeau didn’t have his best stuff on Sunday, at least ball-striking-wise. “I struggled with my ball striking all week,” he revealed, post-victory.
What he did was manage himself well and scramble mightily. He later thanked his putter for that.
He was 14-under starting the day as the overnight leader and with just one front-nine birdie, he was inviting others into the mix.
Kyle Stanley and Ben An accepted the invitation.
Things looked pretty good for the Mad Scientist after back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 but a careless bogey at 14 made things more interesting. By the time he reached the 18th, An was in the house at 15-under after a tasty 69. DeChambeau and playing partner Stanley didn’t hit the best second shots into the 72nd green with Nicklaus carefully watching the proceedings. Stanley hit it long, up on the hill where you can’t get up-and-down and he didn’t. Bryson’s approach peeled right and left him a tough task to two-putt from 56 feet. He didn’t.
Two closing bogeys was delightful news for An, who made it a three-man playoff.
Stanley went out the first trip down 18 with bogey leaving just DeChambeau and An to continue after making pars.
After that, DeChambeau smashed a perfect three-wood, then a perfect nine-iron to 12 feet. Looked every bit like The Golfing Machine. He then had to wait as An wrestled over a poor second that left him up in the crowd, long left. After what must have seemed like an eternity to DeChambeau, An dropped and hit a career recovery that left him with a tap-in for par.
Didn’t matter. Bryson gutted the birdie putt and let his emotions run wild.
Give the young man credit, he’s been back and forth to the drawing board several times and has struggled to find the putter that works for him.
He’s a range rat, strong work ethic.
Paid off handsomely with that winning putt that made it three perfect shots on the second playoff hole.
“I can’t believe I did it today,” he said after a long moment with Nicklaus, the Godfather of Greatness.
“I’m speechless, really,” DeChambeau said, almost blushing.
He had every right to be just that.