Out of Bounds: Bryson DeChambeau and the famous five
The young American in the flat cap stood out from the crowd at the 2015 Walker Cup
Bryson DeChambeau during the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham and St Annes. Photograph: Getty Images
The Walker Cup is a whole different world from the crazed atmosphere of the Ryder Cup. Yet, just for a moment, it is worth letting our minds drift back to the 2015 match at Royal Lytham and St Annes where the Americans were on the end of a resounding 16 ½ to 9 ½ upset to a Britain and Ireland team that featured the so-called Famous Five, a record quintet of Irish players.
One of the abiding images, though, of that match was of a player from the vanquished: he was a young man with a background in physics who stood out from the crowd for a number of reasons, one of which was that he used the same length shaft through all of is clubs and, even then, wore a flat cap on his head. His chest was pumped out, and he strode the links as if he owned the place.
Bryson DeChambeau was probably the only member of the USA team who did what was expected of him in that particular competition, rounding off an unbeaten contribution - two and a half points from three matches - with a resounding 6 and 5 win over Gavin Moynihan in an anchoring singles role that had in truth lost its significance by the time he closed out the match.
The point of this throwback to amateur days is that DeChambeau, even then, was sure of his place in the world and where he was headed.
So, fast forward three years to now and his impact on the professional game is already obvious: it was a surprise to nobody that USA captain Jim Furyk included DeChambeau, now 24 but who will be 25 by the time the match in Paris is played later this month, as one of three wild card picks. That the other two were Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, both legends of the sport, hints at the direction in which DeChambeau too is headed.
He’s interesting, and he’s different. And in golf, of all sports, that is a good thing. DeChambeau had just showered when he noticed a text message from Furyk to give his captain a call. It was then he got the good news. “There are some moments in life that are just too good to be true, and that was one of them. But it was true, and it was an honour that I’ll never forget. That will be locked away in my memory for a long time,” remarked DeChambeau of his call-up.
Thing is, DeChambeau really did play his own into the team, albeit two weeks after the actual automatic places were filled. His wins in the opening two FedEx Cup events - the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies championships - only confirmed to Furyk what he already knew, that he couldn’t go to Paris without him. He’s the real deal, a potent weapon to add to the armoury of a team that has all the likes of being one of the strongest ever.