Slowly, but surely Bryson DeChambeau is changing minds when it comes to his scientific approach to the game.
Skeptics were quick to dismiss his single-length irons, his one-plane swing and most recently, his assertion that putting with the flagstick in would mathematically result in more putts going in. Yet at only 25-years-old and with five PGA Tour victories to his credit, the No. 5-ranked player in the world has already converted some believers through one round of golf in 2019.
An opening-round 4-under par 69 saw DeChambeau routinely putt with the flagstick in the cup as he led the field in strokes gained: putting after Thursday at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on Maui, picking up 3.868 strokes on the field average.
“I feel like I maximized my potential on that, especially on 16 today, where it’s kind of blowing downwind, five percent slope, straight downhill you want that pin to help. So that’s what I kind of did and utilized it to my advantage,” DeChambeau said. “I felt like for the most part I needed the pin to be in and it went in and it was a very nice help.
“It’s so situational and I don’t know when it’s actually going to hurt me, if it is going to hurt me. So that’s why I got to understand that, when it does hurt me I’ll know and that I won’t do it anymore. But as of right now it seems like it’s a pretty nice benefit.
“On 14, I kind of pushed it a little bit and it went in the right side and if I hit it a little harder it may lip out, but instead it hit the flag and went in easily. So it’s totally situational, still liquid, I’m still learning, under competition, when it’s the right thing to do.”
— SwingU (@swinguapp) January 4, 2019
While there will be a transitional period for everyone, consider Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee a believer.
While the sample size is small, the results through one round are undeniable. And as with most of what DeChambeau does, there will always be skeptics.
DeChambeau’s 4-under par round leaves him in tied for sixth, three shots behind first-round leader Kevin Tway who, while under the weather, put together a bogey-free round to lead the group of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland by a stroke.