Infotainment Factory: The bizarre methods of golf’s ‘Mad Scientist’

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Sunday, 7 April 2019

The bizarre methods of golf’s ‘Mad Scientist’


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In the 83rd edition of the Masters at Augusta, one of the favourites to win the Green Jacket is a 25-year-old American nicknamed ‘The Mad Scientist’.

Bryson DeChambeau earned this peculiar moniker on the PGA Tour due to his determined application of science in the sport. At college DeChambeau majored in physics, and he swears by the decision to cut all his custom-made clubs to the same length, using carefully placed weights on lower-numbered irons to generate more power, while therefore maintaining the same swing-plane, posture and set-up.

He’s the only player on tour to currently utilise the method, and despite the constant scepticism from traditionalists, it’s working for the California native, who has claimed seven professional titles and 12 top-10 finishes since turning pro in 2016.

There are other scientific quirks he applies to his game too, such as the habit of floating his golf balls in Epsom salts and water to work out their centre of gravity and eliminate those that don’t meet the required standard before a round. And his impressive ability on the green he would put down to using PuttView technology in practice to help “train his eyes and in a numerical point of view” how much break is in a putt, using the length, the percentage of slope, and the green speed to help him sink it every time.

“Putting is actually a differential equation from a scientific standpoint, you have to break it down piece-wise and all that means is a very difficult equation,” DeChambeau told Sky Sports last year.

He applies similar calculations before every single shot. The moment when DeChambeau consults his yardage book, that’s him doing some serious math.

Bryson DeChambeau and his caddie Tim Tucker go over yardage

DeChambeau was also one of the first high-profile golfers to completely embrace the new golf rule introduced in January which allows flagsticks be left in, unattended, while players putt on the green, and if the pin is struck by a ball, there is no longer a penalty.

When it came into effect in the new year, it was a bizarre scene for golf fans who since 1968 had not witnessed the pin being left in on a putting green, and many golfers including Justin Thomas admitted they needed time to get used to the “weird picture”.

https://twitter.com/EuropeanTour/status/1088355233628127232

But at the Dubai Desert Classic, DeChambeau sung the praises of the rule he believed was “statistically proven”, en route to claiming his first European Tour event.

“It’s statistically proven to be a benefit in 99 percent of situations," DeChambeau said.

"Anything outside 10 feet I’m going to leave it in. If I accidentally hit it three feet instead of two feet past the flag, it will stay in the cup. It has a better potential of staying in the cup than with it out.”

Bryson DeChambeau putts on the 17th green during the first round of The Players Championship

Intrigue around DeChambeau’s golf game goes beyond his scientific mind though.

He burst onto the golf scene back in 2015 when he claimed the US Amateur and NCAA college golf championship in the same year, becoming just the fifth player to do so; joining an elite class of golfers that includes Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore and Tiger Woods.

To say there was hype around this kid wearing a flat cap not seen in modern golf since fellow Southern Methodist University alumni Payne Stewart, was an understatement.

There’s of course a story behind the flat cap too. It’s an homage to Ben Hogan, one of the greatest to ever play the game, and a leader in early golf theory, like how to swing a club for maximum power, control and consistency, the best way to grip a club, ideal golf stance, and which clubs to use in which situation.

It’s no accident that Hogan is someone DeChambeau has looked up to, as a studious devotee to golf mechanics and theory himself.

Bryson DeChambeau meticulously studies every putt

When he first turned pro, even DeChambeau admitted he wanted to leave his own unique mark on the game by deliberately doing things his own way.

“People like following the norm,” DeChambeau told Golf Monthly back in 2016.

“You’ve got people like Albert Einstein and George Washington – they just stood out and capitalised on their differences and showed the world a little different side.

“Those people were leaders and were able to lead a nation, lead a field in science, lead in their own way. And I hope I can do some of the same thing for golf. I believe there is an easier way to play.”

After he turned pro it took a little while for DeChambeau to find his feet with inconsistent form, but after a year he had his first PGA Tour win at the John Deere Classic. In the 2017-18 PGA Tour season it seemed he had worked out the formula to being a pro and secured three more wins, with nine top-10 finishes, taking his earnings that year alone to $US8,094,489.

This year he’s already had an early win in Dubai, and in eight starts on the PGA Tour during the 2018-19 season he’s had three top-10s and one victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Bryson Dechambeau poses with the winning trophy at the Dubai Desert Classic

At Augusta he’s had limited experience. His best finish, tied for 21st, was when he played there in 2016 after winning the US Amateur, he didn’t play in 2017 and last year he finished tied for 38th.

But form-wise leading into the Masters he’s had three top-20 finishes since his Dubai victory, and is currently ranked the world no.6.

All-in-all, it’s been a promising couple of years for DeChambeau and all signs are pointing to another huge career breakthrough at the iconic major in Georgia.

https://twitter.com/b_dechambeau/status/1114591832715988994

In the 83rd edition of the Masters at Augusta, one of the favourites to win the Green Jacket is a 25-year-old American nicknamed ‘The Mad Scientist’.

Bryson DeChambeau earned this peculiar moniker on the PGA Tour due to his determined application of science in the sport. At college DeChambeau majored in physics, and he swears by the decision to cut all his custom-made clubs to the same length, using carefully placed weights on lower-numbered irons to generate more power, while therefore maintaining the same swing-plane, posture and set-up.

He’s the only player on tour to currently utilise the method, and despite the constant scepticism from traditionalists, it’s working for the California native, who has claimed seven professional titles and 12 top-10 finishes since turning pro in 2016.

There are other scientific quirks he applies to his game too, such as the habit of floating his golf balls in Epsom salts and water to work out their centre of gravity and eliminate those that don’t meet the required standard before a round. And his impressive ability on the green he would put down to using PuttView technology in practice to help “train his eyes and in a numerical point of view” how much break is in a putt, using the length, the percentage of slope, and the green speed to help him sink it every time.

“Putting is actually a differential equation from a scientific standpoint, you have to break it down piece-wise and all that means is a very difficult equation,” DeChambeau told Sky Sports last year.

He applies similar calculations before every single shot. The moment when DeChambeau consults his yardage book, that’s him doing some serious math.

Bryson DeChambeau and his caddie Tim Tucker go over yardage

DeChambeau was also one of the first high-profile golfers to completely embrace the new golf rule introduced in January which allows flagsticks be left in, unattended, while players putt on the green, and if the pin is struck by a ball, there is no longer a penalty.

When it came into effect in the new year, it was a bizarre scene for golf fans who since 1968 had not witnessed the pin being left in on a putting green, and many golfers including Justin Thomas admitted they needed time to get used to the “weird picture”.

https://twitter.com/EuropeanTour/status/1088355233628127232

But at the Dubai Desert Classic, DeChambeau sung the praises of the rule he believed was “statistically proven”, en route to claiming his first European Tour event.

“It’s statistically proven to be a benefit in 99 percent of situations," DeChambeau said.

"Anything outside 10 feet I’m going to leave it in. If I accidentally hit it three feet instead of two feet past the flag, it will stay in the cup. It has a better potential of staying in the cup than with it out.”

Bryson DeChambeau putts on the 17th green during the first round of The Players Championship

Intrigue around DeChambeau’s golf game goes beyond his scientific mind though.

He burst onto the golf scene back in 2015 when he claimed the US Amateur and NCAA college golf championship in the same year, becoming just the fifth player to do so; joining an elite class of golfers that includes Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore and Tiger Woods.

To say there was hype around this kid wearing a flat cap not seen in modern golf since fellow Southern Methodist University alumni Payne Stewart, was an understatement.

There’s of course a story behind the flat cap too. It’s an homage to Ben Hogan, one of the greatest to ever play the game, and a leader in early golf theory, like how to swing a club for maximum power, control and consistency, the best way to grip a club, ideal golf stance, and which clubs to use in which situation.

It’s no accident that Hogan is someone DeChambeau has looked up to, as a studious devotee to golf mechanics and theory himself.

Bryson DeChambeau meticulously studies every putt

When he first turned pro, even DeChambeau admitted he wanted to leave his own unique mark on the game by deliberately doing things his own way.

“People like following the norm,” DeChambeau told Golf Monthly back in 2016.

“You’ve got people like Albert Einstein and George Washington – they just stood out and capitalised on their differences and showed the world a little different side.

“Those people were leaders and were able to lead a nation, lead a field in science, lead in their own way. And I hope I can do some of the same thing for golf. I believe there is an easier way to play.”

After he turned pro it took a little while for DeChambeau to find his feet with inconsistent form, but after a year he had his first PGA Tour win at the John Deere Classic. In the 2017-18 PGA Tour season it seemed he had worked out the formula to being a pro and secured three more wins, with nine top-10 finishes, taking his earnings that year alone to $US8,094,489.

This year he’s already had an early win in Dubai, and in eight starts on the PGA Tour during the 2018-19 season he’s had three top-10s and one victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Bryson Dechambeau poses with the winning trophy at the Dubai Desert Classic

At Augusta he’s had limited experience. His best finish, tied for 21st, was when he played there in 2016 after winning the US Amateur, he didn’t play in 2017 and last year he finished tied for 38th.

But form-wise leading into the Masters he’s had three top-20 finishes since his Dubai victory, and is currently ranked the world no.6.

All-in-all, it’s been a promising couple of years for DeChambeau and all signs are pointing to another huge career breakthrough at the iconic major in Georgia.

https://twitter.com/b_dechambeau/status/1114591832715988994 http://bit.ly/2UC5Xrn
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