One of DeChambeau’s face-on putters was recently deemed non-conforming by the USGA. This week, with a putter shaft that was in the back of the clubhead, not the center – “It’s not as efficient” – DeChambeau once again struggled on the greens. ShotLink statistics are available only on the South Course, but he lost more than four shots to the field on the greens, ranking 149th out of 156 players. Missing the cut after rounds of 78-74, he has just one top-30 finish worldwide since June.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I can’t do anything about it. I’m just trying to play the best golf I can. Unfortunately I’m missing a lot more putts because of it, and not playing great golf because of it. It’s not really a distraction, just an obstacle.”
DeChambeau said that he couldn’t start his putts on-line with his new putter because “the face moves when I try to apply force forward. It’s a bit frustrating knowing you don’t have any loft on the putter. It’s an old, old rendition. Literally, it’s just like hitting it into the ground and it pops up and has no chance of going in. It’d be better to chip for me, honestly.”
It’s been a whirlwind week for the eccentric 23-year-old. He had a six-hour delay traveling from Palm Springs to Denver to see his trainer. Then he took a redeye to Orlando to attend Tuesday’s Demo Day at the PGA Show, where the feedback on his single-length irons was “amazing.”
“The amount of people in the tent saying, ‘Thank you so much for helping change the game, for doing something great for the game of golf,’” DeChambeau said. “Just hearing that over and over and over.”
Attending the Show might have helped bring more awareness to his unique concept, but it left DeChambeau scrambling to play in this event.
He didn’t arrive in Los Angeles until 11 p.m. Tuesday night and was in San Diego after midnight. He played in a pro-am at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday and didn’t practice his putting afterward because the greens were so chewed up from three days of foot traffic. He did head to the range, however, where he beat balls under the lights. “It was like a Motel 6,” he said.
But that time wasn’t particularly well spent.
“I tried to decrease the closure rate on the clubface,” he said, “and it just messed me up. I’m trying to find a more biomechanically efficient way, and unfortunately it didn’t translate this week.”
It all added up to a “learning experience” for DeChambeau, who admitted that, in hindsight, he shouldn’t have played this week.
“I’m not just some standard kid; people look at me a little differently, see me a little differently,” he said. “There’s some scrutinization there, but I’m just trying to make more putts and play the best I can. It isn’t working out right now, but I’ll get better.”