I just recently wrote about the single plane golf swings of Bryson and Moe Norman. But today I am here to write about Bryson whom I met when he was 7 years old coming out of his family pool in Clovis CA.
The media and some golf fans have been brutal on Bryson citing slow play, over confidence and other crap that I am sick of hearing about. I believe I am one of the few amateurs that have competed against both Tiger and Bryson DeChambeau. I met Bryson as a young lad because I was good friends with his dad Jon. I played in many NCGA events with Jon DeChambeau, especially when he was paired with PGA Tour winner Matt Bettencourt in best ball events (they won most of them)
So here is the inside scoop on Bryson vs. Tiger as how they treated me. From 1994-1996 I was paired or played with Tiger 3 times. He was never that interested in me, or who or what I was all about. He was a super talent that had little time to connect with a guy that was not meeting him in the finals of the US Amateur. I was invited by Buddy Marucci to play in a practice round in 1996 at Pumpkin Ridge with him, John Harris and Tiger. I declined and played ahead of them. I knew that any practice round with Tiger would only make me feel uncertain about my game and my chances in the amateur.
In 1994 I did beat Tiger out for Sports Writers California Player of the Year, but that was the only time I would beat Tiger out of anything. Don’t get me wrong, a player like Tiger comes along every 100 years, maybe more. BUT I did have a very different experience with Bryson.
Just 7 years ago when the California State Amateur was played at Monterey Peninsula CC I was thrilled to be playing this Nor Cal gem, after Pebble Beach decided to shut us out. But in 2013 the challenge was the 30-50 mph winds we experienced during the qualifying rounds. I was paired with the defending champion and because of our tee time rotation we had zero chance of making match play.
In that field was a guy named Bryson DeChambeau (#10 in the world) Xander Schauffele (#11 in the world) and Maverick Mc Nealy (tied for 8th today and made $211,875). Some serious studs, but what I will always remember is when Bryson saw me walking to the parking lot after my second round. He was on the first tee and about to tee off. I saw him see me and walk off the tee towards me, take off his unique cap and say “Mr. Haag, its so great to see you, I’ve been following you for all these years and I remember when we met”. I am telling you that I was VERY impressed with Bryson and am still impressed with him to this day where he knocked down his 6th PGA event.
Every Northern California Golf Fan should be rooting hard for this kid Bryson. Despite what you may think, he is humble, he is the real deal, and he is from Northern California. I have a few other great stories about Bryson that make me smile like when I saw him at Oakmont for the 2016 US Open where he told me he was going to putt side saddle on the PGA tour once he officially got his tour card. Bryson did putt side saddle until the PGA/USGA gave him trouble about the putter he was using. To this day I am not sure what the possible violating was, or why he stopped?
So at the 2013 California State Amateur Bryson, Maverick and I all shot 77 in this horrifically high winds in the first round. They were both in their late teems, I was in my mid 50’s. I was not expecting to win the event, but certainly was looking to make match play and take some of the kids down. Bryson made match play on the number 149, I missed by 4 shooting a disappointing 153. But Bryson despite his low seed advanced to the finals and lost a close match in the finals.
Since that date in 2013 Bryson has won the NCAA individual title, the USGA Amateur and now winner of 6 PGA tour titles. He has done something I have NEVER seen before in golf. He has dedicated himself to be the very best player he can be. How he’s done this by transforming his body into a powerful mass of muscle and flexible body parts. I have never ever seen such a transformation in a body in such a short period of time.
People, Bryson is not Superman, but through his own drive and desire to be the best he can be, he has done something very few can do with the dedication and drive to make himself Into the ultimate golfing machine. Like sir Nick and Jim said on CBS, if Bryson dials in his wedge game it could be all over for the rest of the players.
The truth be told, Bryson is a very sensitive and caring person like his mom and dad. he grew up in a good environment with seeing the love and drive his dad had for the game. But Bryson was never dragged to the course, at an early age he fell in love with the game that he know dominates against the best players in the world.
OK JUST A FEW STATS- Bryson averaged with his driver over 350 yards, well ahead of phenom Matthew Wolfe. Bryson has gone from a driving average of 291+ to over 320 yards per drive. His fairways hit number has actually improved. So what your seeing is Tigeresq and is something the golf world has never seen in such a short period of time.
Maybe some of my stats are not 100% accurate, but what is accurate is this kids drive and passion to be the best he can be, perhaps the best in the world. So I say lets all root for him to win his first major at Harding Park. Even better yet, lets bet on him to win the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.
Yes the rough is going to be brutal, but Bryson will be flying the ball further than anyone else, and when he does find the nasty rough, he’ll have 130 left, not 175 by the average player and that will be the difference maker.
So my advice to you is BET on Bryson to win the PGA Championship and stare down the likes of Dustin, Brooks and Tiger in the process as he win his 1st of many majors.
Common Nor Cal fans and all golf fans, support this PHENOM, he is the real deal!!!