The PGA Tour's season is over with Patrick Cantlay taking the FedEx Cup title and the cute little 15 million dollar prize that goes with it. And while Cantlay was the big winner, was one of the more successful players on tour this year the big loser? By any measurable standard Bryson DeChambeau had one hell of a season: 2 wins, 8 top 10s, finished 3rd in the FedEx Cup standings, had a 69.73 scoring average and pocketed just under $7.5 million dollars in earnings. Yet as we get set for the Ryder Cup and the next season on tour Bryson DeChambeau might as well play golf with a sign taped to his back that says kick me, or at least yell Brooksie at me.
Now... to be fair...a lot of this is on Bryson himself. He can be meticulous, cantankerous, obnoxious, slow and just generally grating. Somehow while at the same time reinventing his body and his game to be a dominant force on tour he's taken the mantle away from Patrick Reed as the least liked guy on tour. His ongoing feud with Brooks Koepka has become a one sided affair with Brooks clearly the winner by TKO. You know you've lost when just hearing the name "Brooksie" yelled at you makes you kick a fan out of a tournament. The people have spoken loudly and clearly on this matter and will continue to do so until Bryson can find a way to handle it. But it's not just Brooks. Bryson's caddie quit because he just couldn't handle it anymore. Think about this for a second: caddying for Bryson is like walking next to an ATM machine that is just spitting cash at you. Then at The Open Championship Bryson trashed his sponsors saying his Cobra driver "sucked". Not exactly what the company who's paying you millions wants to hear. Cobra's response came from Tour Operations Manger Ben Schomin, saying: “It’s really painful when he says something that stupid. He’s never really been happy, ever." YIKES. And just a week ago in a losing effort to Cantlay at the BMW Championhsip he asked Patrick if he could " stop walking". Literally asked him to stop walking. Oh and then there was the time he said he wasn't going to take the COVID vaccine because he didn't need it and he wanted to make sure those who needed it got it. This, of course, is a ruse. We are literally throwing away millions of unused vaccines. If you don't want to take it then say so but don't pretend like you're doing this for magnanimous reasons because you're not.
But even with all of that, Bryson DeChambeau is exactly what the tour needs..a villain. He is definitely a different animal in the very cookie cutter circle of country club players out there. He brings eyeballs in the same way people watch the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees or the Lakers; some watch to see them fail. The PGA Tour needs a Bryson as much as they need a Jordan Spieth. And most importantly Bryson needs to continue to be himself and find a way to live with being who he is and how he's perceived. Changing just to change would be phony. It's ok to be the bad guy as long as it's not an act. Bryson is going to have a career that most players would kill for, while wanting to kill him on the course at the same time. Can he soften his image a little without being a phony? Of course but where's the fun in that. The two most important things in life are A) knowing what you are and perhaps more importantly B) knowing what you're not. Bryson is never going to be overwhelmingly loved for all the previously listed reasons. But he is going to be a damn good player and make a ton of money in the process. And for a guy who seems to live in his own little world, that should be more than good enough.