Bryson DeChambeau was most certainly disappointed to learn he would not be able to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. He had been looking forward to representing the United States since March, when World Number One Dustin Johnson formally announced his decision to stay home instead of make the cross-Pacific journey. Unfortunately, his last COVID-19 test, a prerequisite prior to making the half-day-plus trip by air, yielded a positive result, automatically disqualifying him from competition. Needless to say, it was the latest in a series of setbacks fate seems to be in abundance of in recent memory.
Indeed, to argue that DeChambeau has had rotten luck throughout the summer would be an understatement. He can’t seem to get out of an unwanted feud with fellow American and major winner Brooks Koepka. He has posted poor showings in golf’s biggest events. He broke up with longtime caddie Tim Tucker — or, to be more precise, the latter broke up with him. Heck, he even saw fit to publicly lambast his driver. It “sucks,” he disclosed. “It’s not a good face for me, and we’re still trying to figure out how to make it good on the mishits. I’m living on the razor’s edge, like I’ve told people for a long time.”
The last example shows just how disjointed DeChambeau had been of late. The other party in the “we” that he mentioned, as fans know, is Cobra PUMA Golf, which had dutifully stuck with him throughout his bulk-up, beef-up phase in an arms race against, well, himself. “It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid,” noted Ben Schomin, the equipment manufacturer’s pro tour services manager. “He has never been really happy, ever.” And how could he, when he’s asking for perfection while swinging a 46-inch Radspeed club with five degrees of loft at 200 miles per hour?
DeChambeau has since apologized for his faux pas, and he pledged to extricate himself from his beef with Koepka. Amid the mending of fences, he likewise sought to improve his general standing. Going to the quadrennial Games would have been a good way to do so — until, that is, fate intervened to give him one more unexpected blow. “I am deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics,” he said. “Representing my country means the world to me, and it is was a tremendous honor to make this team.”
For now, DeChambeau is keen “on getting healthy.” It’s fair to contend that he means to do so in all his concerns, acknowledged or not. Whether he will succeed is subject to debate. Meanwhile, he would do well to use the time for introspection. And who knows? The break may yet serve him in good stead. He needed one, literally and figuratively.
Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and Human Resources management, corporate communications, and business development.