How the ‘mad scientist’ reinvented golf and transformed himself into the ‘Incredible Bulk’ to win his first major at the US Open
If you haven’t consumed much golf since the sporting world was suspended in March, you might’ve been surprised to see Bryson DeChambeau storm to a six-shot victory at the US Open.
In short, since you were last with us, DeChambeau has single-handedly reinvented the game of golf.
Having packed on 20 pounds in three months, the world number five resembles something more like a bodybuilder in golf clothes.
And so far, the results have been astonishing. Having shattered previous boundaries in terms of speed and distance, DeChambeau went and won his first major over the weekend.
Having promised to overpower Winged Foot with his absurd distance off the tee, DeChambeau tamed the challenging golf course and finished six shots ahead of the field on six-under-par.
DeChambeau has never played the same game as everyone else. As a physics major, his aim has always been to find the most scientifically efficient way of shooting a low score.
Dubbed the ‘Mad Scientist’ when he burst onto the scene in 2016, his experiments have included dipping golf balls in Epsom salt to to test their centre of gravity and cutting all his clubs to the same length.
“The reality is he has always wanted to challenge the norm,” his coach Mike Schy told BBC Sport. “We have talked about that for a long time, when that happens people are not going to like it.
“Not until you win a few majors and are number one in the world for a period of time, then maybe all of a sudden people will wake up and go ‘Ok, maybe we need to look at all this and see it is game-changing’.”
The 27-year-old’s revolutionary approach looks set to win him many more tournaments, but how did he bulk up so fast? talkSPORT.com takes a look.
DeChambeau in numbers (2020)
Average driving distance: 325.8 yards
Longest drive: 428 yards
Strokes gained off-the-tee: 1.332
Scoring average: 64.414
How did he bulk up so fast?
To compare DeChambeau to a heavyweight boxer would not be inappropriate, him and Anthony Joshua both tip the scales at 17 stone.
And it goes without saying that this man can lift.
While DeChambeau’s transformation has appeared like something that happened overnight, it actually began three years ago with a visit to Greg Roskopf, founder of Muscle Activation Techniques, in Denver.
There, DeChambeau underwent a total overhaul of his body, aiming to build a frame which could handle significant force without suffering injury.
Many believe heavy weightlifting can be detrimental to the golf swing, but DeChambeau’s approach would appear to give the lie to that.
Throughout the process, Roskopf has helped the American maintain, and even increase, his flexibility, while transferring all of his force into clubhead speed, ball speed, and of course, distance.
What does he eat?
DeChambeau eats a lot of food. His 3,500 calorie daily diet contains 400 grams of protein. That’s more than four times the recommended amount of protein for a man his size.
Breakfast: five slices of bacon, four eggs, toast and two protein shakes.
Lunch (during his round): peanut butter and jam sandwich, three more protein shakes, organic protein bars and snacks.
Dinner: steak and potatoes with two more shakes.
So seven protein shakes in total, which is about twice the amount a professional rugby player consumes in a day.
“My goal is to live to 130 or 140,” the American told GQ Magazine.
“I really think that’s possible now with today’s technology. I think somebody’s going to do it in the next 30 or 40 years.
“I want humans to be better. I want them to succeed.”
What does it all mean?
DeChambeau would be the first to admit that he has never been the most popular man on Tour, but then, people generally don’t react well to change.
That’s not to say he doesn’t bring some of the criticism on himself.
Last year, his play reached painstakingly slow levels, while this season he has confronted a cameraman and, most recently, tried to get a ruling on ants near his ball.
But most of the ill-feeling towards DeChambeau comes about because he goes against the norm and threatens the established way of doing things.
His side-saddle putter and drawing compass were both ruled non-conforming by the USGA, and as a direct result of his monstrous distance, golfing legends Jack Nicklaus and Colin Montgomerie have called for tournament balls that don’t go so far.
You can see why, as an innovative bloke, it might feel like there is an agenda against his new and unorthodox methods.
But when it comes to the bulk, DeChambeau isn’t doing anything which gives him an unfair advantage. Any top player could bulk up if they really wanted to.
In fact, rumour has it that several PGA Tour pros have already started asking around about the DeChambeau regime.
Tiger Woods reinvented golf in the late nineties/early 2000s by basically becoming the first player to hit the gym on a regular basis.
He turned it into a sport played by athletes. If DeChambeau carries on winning, could he be the one to turn golf into a sport played by bodybuilders? We’ll see.
But one thing’s for sure, DeChambeau will win more majors, and others will may have to follow or risk falling behind.
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