DeChambeau trying to lead single-length revolution

By Rex HoggardApril 20, 2016, 5:01 pm

Whether you think Bryson DeChambeau is a mad scientist or simply mad, there is no mistaking his motivation.

Last week at the RBC Heritage, before he set out for his first round as a professional, your scribe asked DeChambeau what he would be doing if he wasn’t tying for fourth at Harbour Town and threatening to change the face of the game.

The answer was telling.

“I would definitely be doing some research in the golf industry with a club manufacturer or doing research for biomechanics, on efficiencies of motion, that sort of stuff,” he said. “I like understanding how the body works and how it can work most efficiently.”

If that is a bit too detailed for you, stop reading.

DeChambeau is the antithesis of many modern PGA Tour professionals: He’s outgoing, engaging, insightful, thoughtful and, yes, extremely confident with his own abilities and his unique method of playing the game.

Some would, and have, used the term cocky to describe DeChambeau, but that’s a wild oversimplification of an exceedingly complex young man.

DeChambeau doesn’t just want to win on Tour and contend in majors and represent the United States in whatever team match is on that season’s calendar – the normal check list for newcomers – he wants to change the game.

If that seems a bit lofty for your average 22-year-old, he’s actually been on a mission to challenge golf’s dogma since 2011 when he roped a 5-iron from 205 yards right at the pin while playing Dragonfly Golf Club’s second hole.

“I turned to Mike [Schy, his swing coach] and said, ‘This could change the game,’” said DeChambeau of that first field test of his 37 1/2-inch 5-iron. “Wouldn’t it make so much sense to a player to keep the same posture every single time no matter the shot?”

All of DeChambeau’s irons are the same length, 37 1/2 inches, which is the average length of a 7-iron shaft and, not coincidentally, DeChambeau’s favorite club.

“The reason people get hurt is because you’re changing your posture and moving your body at different angles. That’s why they have a favorite club because they are more comfortable at a certain angle,” he patiently explained last week. “If you change the angle you’re not as efficient and eventually your body gives out.”

Single-length, single-swing simplicity is the cornerstone of DeChambeau’s philosophy, which was born from “The Golfing Machine,” the 1969 Homer Kelley swing manifesto that is billed as “simple geometry and everyday physics.”

“The Golfing Machine” is not an easy read, nor are DeChambeau’s theories easy to digest, but that hasn’t stopped players from Rory McIlroy to Phil Mickelson from taking a peek at his unique clubs.

Simply put, curious minds want to know, and to DeChambeau’s credit he’s more than willing to walk anyone with even a passing interest through his swing philosophies.

That curiosity has spilled over to the general public in large part thanks to DeChambeau’s tie for 21st at the Masters and his top-5 debut in Hilton Head.

According to Cobra Puma Golf CEO Bob Philion, who recently signed DeChambeau to a “long-term” endorsement deal, the “intrigue factor” in the single-length concept was over 90 percent in a recent consumer survey.

Although Philion concedes the potential to market and sell single-length iron sets depends largely on DeChambeau’s continued success at the professional level, the public’s initial reaction has been encouraging.

“The intrigue factor is off the charts. We’re getting smarter every day,” Philion said. “People are interested and they want to try it. My question is, do they want to buy it? That’s some of the research that we’re doing.”

As daunting as cutting a new path into the golf club market may sound, Philion explains that it might be the perfect product to stand out in an extremely crowded market space.

“In terms of single-length irons, we look at it as an opportunity. We’re doing a lot of research and homework right now in that space and we’re intrigued with some of the findings,” Philion said. “As difficult as it may be to market single-length, it may be even more challenging to be in a space with variable length where all of our competitors are basically telling the same message.

“You see consumers standing in front of that iron wall and they can be bamboozled really quickly with the number of options.”

Philion uses his first trip to Dragonfly Golf Club just outside of Fresno, Calif., as an example of DeChambeau’s potential impact on the game.

“When I went to visit Mike Schy and see what they were doing up in Fresno, there were 100 kids out there that were thinking he’s the way and they are all trying to do single-length and follow in his footsteps,” Philion said.

For Philion and Cobra Puma, DeChambeau was the perfect fit for a company that embraces individuality – different and determined.

But the eureka moment came weeks after that first trip to Dragonfly when the two sides met to sign the endorsement contract.

“I can honestly say he’s the first player to ever sign a deal left-handed [DeChambeau is right-handed] and backwards,” Philion laughed.

What else would one expect from a 22-year-old engineering major who wants to change the game one single-length swing at a time?

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.