Big and rich: Beefy Bryson DeChambeau turns DGC into his 'bomber's paradise,' wins RMC
Detroit — As legend has it, Donald Ross took a boat from his native Scotland to the United States around 1900, with only $2 to his name, or about 50 bucks in today's dollars.
Come Monday morning, Bryson DeChambeau will see a direct deposit drop into his bank account in the amount of $1.35 million.
So, maybe, DeChambeau should actually be saying, "Thank you, Mr. Ross."
Earlier this week, DeChambeau had publicly detailed his plan — The Mad Scientist always has a plan — was to overpower 121-year-old Detroit Golf Club, one of more than 400 Ross-designed courses throughout the United States. And overpower the course he absolutely did, averaging more than 350 yards with the driver and making some huge putts along the way in storming to the Rocket Mortgage Classic championship.
He shot the best round of the day, a 7-under 65, on Sunday, for 23 under total and a three-shot victory.
DeChambeau, quite literally the biggest thing in golf these days, began the final round with a three-shot deficit behind Matthew Wolff. He had all of that made up within the first hour, as Wolff struggled out of the gate, had a mini-surge late but took second by three after a 71. It was a role reversal from almost exactly one year ago, when Wolff chased down DeChambeau to win the 3M Open in suburban Minneapolis.
"I heard that this was a bomber's paradise," DeChambeau said early Sunday night, clutching the metallic red championship trophy. "I'm sorry, Mr. Ross, I didn't mean to hit it over those bunkers all the time.
"But it just happened."
DeChambeau, playing in the second-to-last group, started with birdies on three of his first four holes, despite not hitting any of those fairways. The birdie at No. 4 — a 635-yard par 5 that he reached with an iron, from the rough, near the other fairway — gave him the lead, until Wolff rolled in a 50-foot putt for birdie on the same hole moments later to tie it up.
It wasn't tied long, and DeChambeau threatened to make a runaway of it — thanks to those impressive drives, the result of a massive bulking-up phase during which he added more than 30 pounds with a regimen that consists of more than 3,000 calories a day, six protein shakes, and just about anything else he feels like eating — oh, and workouts, too.
Those before-and-after pictures you usually see on infomercials are a year or two apart; DeChambeau's are barely a few months.
"He just has too much time on his hands," quipped Kevin Kisner, who finished third at 18 under after a 66. "He needs to start getting married and having kids and feel like the rest of us."
No surprise, DeChambeau was No. 1 in shots gained off the tee this week. All week long, he hit 8 irons and 9 irons into three of the four par 5s. And on the 399-yard 13th hole Sunday, he actually had playing partner Troy Merritt hit first, so DeChambeau could — get this — wait for the green to clear.
"No, I don't do that very often," DeChambeau said with a grin. "Hopefully I can have that going on a lot more down the road. That would be a lot of fun."
Of course, driving to the moon and back doesn't mean much if you can't make the putts, and DeChambeau made the putts — a whole bunch of them.
He actually was No. 1 in shots gained in putting this week, too, rolling in a 21-footer for birdie at No. 10 and a 30-footer for birdie at 16, the latter followed by a big fist pump. That was the first of three consecutive birdies by DeChambeau to finish his round, including a 4-footer on 18 — which was met with a few claps from volunteers, not your traditional roar during another fan-less week on the PGA Tour.
If his wedge game had been a little better this week, he might've won on Saturday.
The three-hole finish was an impressive bounceback from DeChambeau after a surprising bogey at the par-5 14th — his only bogey on a par 5 all week — which left his lead at one. He had come into the hole 11 under on the par 5s for the week, and 4 under on that hole alone, but he found the right trees and his chip out was hit too firm, it caught some hard fairway and rolled into the rocks of the water hazard.
Wolff could've made a serious game of things there, and he hit a beautiful approach at the 14th, but being just a couple inches off-line, it ended up in thick greenside rough. He ended up making a disappointing par, and while Wolff birdied the next hole, he missed his birdie putt on 16 and eagle putt at 17, for game over.
Wolff, 21, struggled out of the gate, hitting a driver way right on No. 1 and then clipping a tree on his punchout for an opening bogey. He shot 2-over 38 on the front nine, and then made bogey at 10 — a mixture of what he deemed some bad breaks and some bad shots. Wolff trailed by five at one point, fought back to get within one again, but DeChambeau would have none of that.
Nobody else seriously threatened DeChambeau. Former Masters champion Danny Willett (66), Adam Hadwin (67), Tyrrell Hatton (68) and Ryan Armour (72) tied for fourth. World No. 6 Webb Simpson was among a group that tied for eighth at 15 under, and Rickie Fowler was in a group tied for 12th at 14 under.
"I feel like I'm going to be in that position a lot more in the future," Wolff said. "The only thing you can do is learn from this experience and feel more and more comfortable the more times you're in that position."
DeChambeau, 26, knows all about being in this position. He entered the week with six consecutive top-10s, three before golf's shutdown and three after.
He showed up in Detroit for the first time, and immediately asked if Detroit Golf Club was the course for him — given it puts a premium on accuracy off the tees over distance, especially with the thicker greenside rough gobbling up offline approach shots. Last year's champion, after all, was Nate Lashley, who's 185th in driving distance on the PGA Tour.
DeChambeau wasn't having it, saying he planned to keep on bombing — and bombing again.
He even called himself "The House," and as you've probably heard, "The House" always wins.
"Be the house, you've just got to be the house, try and figure out all these little advantages you can get and make the odds in your favor," said DeChambeau, who planned on a celebratory dinner of Jersey Mike's, or Boston Market, or steak and potatoes, or heck, probably all three, following his sixth PGA Tour victory and first since 2018.
"I've said it since I was 15, but never really vocalized it until now, until I've had this pretty big advantage with the driver, you know.
"And I'm glad it came to fruition."