If you were asked to take a guess as to which current tour pro has released a “fly on the wall” film about life on tour, you’d probably go with Bryson DeChambeau. And you’d be right.
The reigning US Open champ uploaded a half-hour long video to his YouTube channel earlier this week, which documents his performance at the recent AT&T Byron Nelson.
Such content is nothing new. Professional body-builders have been making these types of videos for years, whilst there’s a whole generation of YouTubers who seldom get out of bed without first hitting record.
Still, in the steadily-evolving world of golf, these films are still relatively new. In the name of objective research, we watched the whole thing and it makes for genuinely interesting – if rather illuminating – viewing.
Here are our main observations…
He’s a sponsor’s dream
There’s a very important question to answer about this video: why make it in the first place? The answer isn’t all that difficult: it’s a novel way for DeChambeau to add value for his partners. The video is absolutely flooded with product placement. Logos for DraftKings, OneStream, Cobra, Puma and Bentley, as well as Bridgestone, SIK and Rocket Mortgage, feature prominently. He quite unapologetically unboxes a new Samsung mobile phone. Still, it’s hard to knock DeChambeau for any of this. Whilst it raises legitimate questions about the authenticity of the behaviour in the video, it a smart commercial move. >span class="eop">
He’s NOT a morning person
“It’s the only thing that’s a little difficult,” says DeChambeau as the cameras find him in the kitchen making breakfast at 5.38am. Later on, he is faced with another pre-6am start. “Hopefully it’s the last early day of the week,” he complains. “I’ve had too many early days in the last couple of weeks.”
He hates the rain. Like, HATES it.
As DeChambeau drives away from the AT&T Byron Nelson on the Sunday lunchtime, the heavens open. “Rainy conditions for some reason have always been a bugaboo for me,” he laments. Something worth bearing in mind next time you go to put money on him: the forecast.
His work ethic is outrageous
The video shines a light on the sheer volume of work that DeChambeau puts into his game. He is filmed grinding on the range, reaching 209mph ball speed and setting a new personal best of 150mph clubhead speed. However, you would expect a tour pro to graft on the range. It’s away from the golf course that we get an eye-opening insight into Bryson’s work ethic. His house has a golf simulator room where he does extra-curricular training; he has a net in his back garden where he and his friends chase extra speed and yards; he’s installing a state-of-the-art new indoor practice facility at the new property he’s currently building; he has putting competitions with his pals; his walls are adorned with golf images. He is a complete golf geek who clearly never, ever switches off from the game.
He’s surrounded by testosterone
A bit like Anthony Kim before him, DeChambeau has assembled a ‘crew’ of pals whose sole purpose appears to be keeping him company. If you’ve ever seen Entourage, you’ll know what we mean. They follow Bryson more assiduously than his shadow. They’re a bit like his own personal cheerleaders, bellyaching loudly at every funny thing he says, playing games around the house with him and, generally, making sure he’s never on his own. Noticeable by their almost complete absence from the film? Women. The only two you see appear 24 minutes in during a garden volleyball match (which is just as well, otherwise that particular scene would have strong Top Gun vibes).
Life on tour looks pretty lonely…
Arguably the most important takeaway of the lot. DeChambeau doesn’t look like a guy who is particularly happy. Despite the excessive superficial trappings of his success, he cuts the look of somebody who’s worn out with life on the PGA Tour’s travelling circus – a bit of a concern considering he’s only 27 and jumped on the hamster wheel just under five years ago. As he drives away from the AT&T Byron Nelson, he is forlorn as he reflects upon “possibly the worst golf experience of my life”. He adds: “It’s good to show people that it’s not easy, that weird stuff’s gonna happen and it sucks.” There’s another particularly revealing moment around the 21-minute mark where Bryson is filmed sitting alone on the sofa whilst three of his “bros” are gathered around a table 15 feet away. For all that he is surrounded by people, he looks very much isolated on Bryson Island. He lives an entirely unconventional, unrelatable life. Such are the unique pressures and demands of being a top sportsman that Bryson probably has more in common with his arch-nemesis Brooks Koepka than anyone in his posse. Yes, the financial rewards for being as talented as he is are significant – but does anybody ever really stop to consider the cost? You can be filthy rich but poor in other ways. Nobody particularly wants to talk about that but, whether or not that was its intention, this video kind of has.