Bryson DeChambeau, who has a share of the first-round lead at the Masters, is one of the most recognisable and idiosyncratic players in the modern game.
Here, Press Association Sport profiles an intriguing and, at times, controversial character.
Who is he?
DeChambeau, the world number six, is a 25-year-old Californian who has emerged as one of the leading players in the world over the past year. Instantly recognisable in a Ben Hogan-style flat cap, he is known as ‘the Mad Scientist’ for his thorough and unique approach to the game. His sporting credentials are impressive. Since last June he has won five tournaments on either the PGA or European tours and made his Ryder Cup debut. His first victory came at the 2017 John Deere Classic having turned professional the previous year following an impressive amateur career.
What is his scientific approach?
This is seen most notably in his clubs. All his irons are custom made to the same length. This was an approach he discovered himself when he was 17, having experimented by sawing down a set of iron shafts. He feels this helps him maintain a consistent swing. Having been brilliant at maths and science at school, he keenly studies all aspects of the game and is regularly looking for new techniques to give him the edge. These include a method he calls ‘vector putting’ to calculate the pace and break of a putt.
Has he taken it to a new level at Augusta?
DeChambeau seems willing to try all sorts of things. “I don’t really take days off, my brain doesn’t let me,” he says. Following recent rule changes, he has regularly kept the flag stick in while on the greens and he has experimented with the ‘side-saddle’ putting style in the past. He also spoken about the importance of breathing techniques. On arrival at the Masters this week, he seemed intent on taking things up a notch. He put in some marathon stints on the range and tested numerous different shafts in search of a winning formula. He felt he had found something, and his six-under-par first-round 66 does not contradict that.
But not everyone is a fan are they?
No. DeChambeau is a controversial figure mainly because of the speed at which he plays. He has been criticised for slow play on numerous occasions. Critics do not bemoan a player looking to extract the most from his talent, but argue that he is gaining an unfair advantage by being so thorough and taking so long over each shot. He has also not been afraid to push the boundaries, such as when he used a putter that did not to conform to rules and when he took a geometric compass onto the course.