Bryson DeChambeau has got a brand new bagman
To Bryson DeChambeau, the norm remains the enemy. Professional golfers normally bellow at their caddies, but the American has named Brian Zeigler as his new bagman – and he happens to be someone who has previously been paid to scream obscenities at DeChambeau.
The pair will arrive here at The Open Championship on Monday after revealing the news on social media in wacky style.
Zeigler, a coach in DeChambeau’s home city of Dallas, dived into a swimming pool with his new employer’s bag of clubs over his shoulder. DeChambeau followed him in and the duo proceeded to laugh riotously into the camera.
“We’ve done a lot of fun stuff together,” DeChambeau told his Instagram followers, before explaining their relationship to golf.com.
“We did a lot of speed training stuff together,” he said. “He was the motivator and the hype man. He helped me reach records I never believed I would get to.”
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A video of a speed workout released three months ago shows Zeigler’s method of “hyping”. DeChambeau is in the “Living Room Lab” of coach Chris Como and the aim is to record a 215mph ball speed. Tough love is the order for Zeigler, operating the TrackMan monitor.
“Not a soul in this room thinks you can get to 215,” Zeigler barks. As a sweating DeChambeau grunts and launches drive after drive, Zeigler does not hold back. “What are you saying, ‘oh yeah for?’,” Zeigler taunts, “That was slower than the last drive. Faster, faster.”
A little later Zeigler screams: “Quit slowing down. Pick up the f—— speed.” Eventually, DeChambeau reaches his target. But Zeigler does not tell him. “That was really close,” Zeigler says. “Close to bulls—,” Bryson responds. “That’s what that was…”
Yes, it could be interesting at Royal St George’s during Thursday’s first round. But then, with DeChambeau it rarely is boring.
Two weeks ago, Telegraph Sport revealed how Tim Tucker – DeChambeau’s long-time caddie with whom he won all nine of his professional titles, including America’s national championship last year – resigned abruptly on the eve of The Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Tucker has been complimentary about the 27 year-old since, but however it is couched the bagman sacked the major-winner. Tucker was earning roughly $1m a year, but he could stand it no longer. The insane hours on the range, the brutally meticulous approach, the demands and the drama.
Nevertheless, Billy Foster, Matt Fitzpatrick’s caddie, expected huge interest in the role. “The queue of caddies wanting the job will be stretching from New York to Los Angeles,” he said. “But you will probably need to know more about Pythagoras than Palmer to get the job – and advise him on his ‘swing clock’, whatever the hell that means.”
Zeigler has never before caddied in a professional event and obviously this will be a baptism of fire. Not only is it a major, but links is the most unpredictable form of golf and Royal St George’s, with all its mounds, is the most unpredictable course on the Open rota.
DeChambeau’s mission is to use science to take as much uncertainty as is possible out of this sport of seemingly never-ending variables. But that is a forlorn task on the seaside.
Saying that, DeChambeau proved at the Walker Cup in 2015 at Lytham that he has the wherewithal to play links golf.
“We ended up winning the match, but Bryson got his team two-and-a-half points out of three and gave poor Gavin Moynihan a 6&5 defeat in the Sunday singles,” Nigel Edwards, the captain of that GB&I team said. “There was no doubt that he adapted very well to the course and conditions that week.”
DeChambeau has played in three Opens and missed the cut twice. He did make the weekend at Carnoustie in 2018, but could only manage 51st.
That was Bryson Mark I, however. This is the first time he has appeared in Europe since his dramatic physical transformation that saw him pile almost four stone of bulk during the lockdown. His unashamed philosophy is now to overpower the layout, regardless of its reputation, and it will be fascinating to see if a) he dares try this here and b) if he succeeds.
DeChambeau is not in form – with only one top 15 in his last nine starts – and has a novice caddie with the propensity for invective. The Mad Scientist’s great experiment could be facing its most intriguing test yet.