Bryson DeChambeau issued an apology on Thursday night after he blamed his equipment for his 1-over par first round at the Open Championship, which led to a stern response from club manufacturer Cobra.
DeChambeau’s bulked-up body made its links debut, but instead of using his new strength to outdrive his opponents he needed it just to muscle his way out of the thigh-high rough. He hit just four of 14 fairways, made five bogeys to go with four birdies and finished with a 71, seven strokes behind first round leader Louis Oosthuizen.
In his post-round interview, DeChambeau said: “If I can hit it down the middle of the fairway, that’s great. But with the driver right now, the driver sucks. It’s not a good face for me and we’re still trying to figure out how to make it good on the mis-hits. I’m living on the razor’s edge.”
Ben Schomin, the tour operations manager at Cobra, told Golfweek that it’s a challenge to design clubs without data because no one swings as hard as DeChambeau.
“Everybody is bending over backwards,” said Schomin, who helps design and build DeChambeau’s clubs how he wants them. “He knows it. It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid.”
DeChambeau, 27, wrote an apology posted to his Instagram account later on Thursday evening. “I sucked today, not my equipment,” the American wrote. “The comment I made in my post round interview today was very unprofessional. My frustration and emotions over the way I drove the ball boiled over.”
DeChambeau added that the Cobra staff were “like family to me, especially Ben Schomin”.
“I deeply regret the words I used earlier,” he wrote. “I am relentless in pursuit of improvement and perfection. Part of that causes me to become outwardly frustrated at times. … My game is a constant work in progress and so is controlling my emotions.”
DeChambeau has missed the cut in two of the three Open Championships he has played. He said he doesn’t think it’s the nature of links golf that causes problems; it’s the weather that accompanies it.
“The times I’ve played in the British Opens in the past, I think they’ve been a little wet and windy,” he said after his practice round, noting that he played well in the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. “I usually struggle on that in general.”
But that was all before he added 40 pounds of mass and muscle so he could swing faster, hit the ball further and gain a huge advantage by having shorter clubs to the green, even if the ball is in the rough.
“This is the first time I’ve taken my length to links golf,” DeChambeau said Tuesday. “The key is driving it in the fairway this week. No matter what, you’ve got to be in the fairway. If I get … into the hay, probably not going to have a good chance this week.”
The poor start at Royal St. George’s continues a streak of also-ran finishes since winning his only major at Winged Foot. He tied for 34th in the Masters in November, for 46th in the Masters in April, for 38th at the PGA Championship and for 26th at the U.S. Open, where he briefly had a one-shot lead in the final round.
He also lost the only caddie he’s had as a pro, Tim Tucker, which they said was a mutual decision. DeChambeau relies on his caddie not just for yardage and reading greens but for his Mad Scientist stuff like air density.
Working with DeChambeau for the first time is the replacement, Brian Zeigler, an instructor at Dallas National.