OPINION

In defence of Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson De Chambeau Main

If you were to catalogue every sporting indiscretion, it should be easy to know where to place Bryson DeChambeau’s so-called "poor sportsmanship" at the Porsche European Open.

Relative to Lance Armstrong’s sustained and systematic drug taking, Mike Tyson biting a chunk out of Evander Holyfield's ear, or Eric Cantona kung fu kicking a football fan, DeChambeau’s brief handshake for Porsche European Open champion Richard McEvoy is a ‘nothing’, a total non-story.

Thanks to the indignant viewing gallery that is social media, however, the whole incident has been blown wildly out of proportion.

Social media is like a bandwagon depot where every person has a platform and every thought – no matter how inane, offensive or factually inaccurate – has a captive audience.

People who used to just mutter under their breath in the sanctity and solitude of their own homes now have a keyboard to thump and, worryingly, a mob of like-minded folk to talk to.    

• Bryson DeChambeau 'disappointed' by the scrutiny of him

To that extent, the cyber-wielding of pitchforks and torches in DeChambeau’s direction is no surprise. The American is a non-conformist in a world where conformity is a comfort-blanket. He does things differently. He challenges convention. He marches to the beat of his own drum.

And some people just can’t handle that.

Bryson De Chambeau 2

Too bad.

That’s their problem, not Bryson’s. And it certainly doesn’t give them the right to fill other people’s timelines with some of the hyperbolic b*****ks they’ve been posting in the last 48 hours.

For the avoidance of doubt, after blowing the chance to win the European Open, DeChambeau removed his hat and shook McEvoy’s hand.

Are we really so precious that we are offended the handshake didn’t last as long as it should have, or that he didn’t congratulate McEvoy warmly enough?

• Footage shows Bryson DeChambeau battling demons on the range at Carnoustie

• The USGA has some disappointing news for Byrson DeChambeau

Seriously? Is that what it has come to?

I’ve seen numerous people tell DeChambeau (still only 24-years-old) that he needs to “grow up”. Forgive me, but I think it is they and not he who could use an injection of maturity.

Predictably, many have mocked him for his “over-analytical” approach to golf. “Paralysis by analysis”, they’re calling it. The same people are poring over that handshake with forensic detail and dissecting it from every available camera angle. So ironic.

Bryson De Chambeau 1

Not even an apology from DeChambeauseems to be good enough to satisfy the pack of over-reactors. Some have called for him to be banned and/or fined. For what exactly? For being so overcome with disappointment at losing that he didn’t congratulate the winner heartily enough? Do me a favour.

It brings to mind the scrutiny with which Jordan Spieth was observed at the Masters prize-giving ceremony in 2016. If you recall, the defending champ threw his title into the lap of Danny Willett coming down the stretch at Augusta National.

So intently were people watching Spieth at the presentation that they missed Willett slipping into the Green Jacket. It’s as though they were actively looking for something to be offended by.

Largely lost amid the gnashing of teeth was the impressive way in which Willett closed out his first major win. It was the same story in Hamburg at the weekend. More time and energy has been devoted to DeChambeau than McEvoy.

I wonder if those criticising DeChambeau for not congratulating McEvoy warmly enough have bothered to tweet their own ‘well done’ message to the Englishman? I doubt it.

Heaven help DeChambeau if he is ever caught on camera failing to cover his mouth when he coughs. The gallows will be readied.

Like or dislike him as you see fit. But for goodness sake, be fair.

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