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?

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.