Bryson DeChambeau isn’t exactly a household name.
But judging from his 2015 golf season, the amateur could become one in the very near future.
DeChambeau, a college player for SMU, won the NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur in the same year in 2015, a feat accomplished by only four other players in history. And what a list it is, so keep reading to find out who is on it.
As for now, the 22-year-old will play in his first Masters, which begins Thursday, April 7, from Augusta National in Georgia. And DeChambeau will be paired in the first two rounds with another 22-year-old golfer. And he’s probably the most famous one in the world — 2015 Masters winner Jordan Spieth.
Can DeChambeau, a self-proclaimed “golf scientist”, channel his inner-Jordan Spieth and make a historic run, too? Guess we’ll find out. I mean, he sounds ready. He’s given his clubs nicknames related to the Masters.
But in the meantime, here’s what you need to know about DeChambeau:
1. DeChambeau Is From California & Is an Outside-The-Box Thinker
DeChambeau was born September 16, 1993, in Modesto, California. He grew up in Clovis and won the 2010 California State Junior Championship.
DeChambeau has a very interesting approach to the game. First of all, he was a physics major at Southern Methodist University and likes to think of himself as a golfing scientist.
Here’s where that comes in to play: all of his irons and wedges have the same shaft length at 37.5 inches. That is far from the norm. In fact, he’s likely the only player on the PGA Tour who does it.
Check out some of the videos in this post which highlight his unique approach and swing. Also below is his press conference from Tuesday’s press conference at the Masters.
2. He Won the NCAA Championship & U.S. Amateur in 2015
DeChambeau put himself on the golfing map in 2015, winning both the NCAA Individual Championship and the U.S. Amateur. Only four others had accomplished that feat in same year before DeChambeau did it.
The four: Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore. To say that’s a pretty impressive group is a wild understatement.
In June he won the NCAA title by a stroke (the first SMU Mustang to win the DI tournament), then two months later took down Derek Bard 7 & 6 for the Amateur victory.
In all, DeChambeau has 6 amateur wins (not counting the two above): 2010 California State Junior Championship, 2013 Trans-Mississippi Amateur, 2014 The American Championship and the Erin Hills Intercollegiate.
He has also played for U.S. National Teams in the Palmer Cup (2014), Eisenhower Trophy (2014) and the Walker Cup (2015).
3. SMU Is on Probation, So DeChambeau Can’t Defend His Title
As mentioned above DeChambeau won the individual NCAA Division I Championship in 2015, but shortly after in September 2015, SMU was handed a postseason ban after the NCAA found recruiting violations and other unethical practices by ex-Mustangs coach Josh Gregory.
So DeChambeau wouldn’t be able to defend his title in 2016.
He decided to forego his senior season to concentrate on his future professional career. In fact, DeChambeau will turn pro after the Masters.
4. The 2016 Masters Is His Second Major
The 2016 Masters will be DeChambeau’s second career major.
He played in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, but missed the cut after shooting 74-75–149 (+9). The event was eventually won by Jordan Spieth.
DeChambeau made his PGA Tour debut in June 2015 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and finished in 45th place. Also in 2015, he finished tied for second in the Australian Masters.
DeChambeau is coming off a T27 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in March 2016.
But again, he’s still considered an amateur so he has been able to collect any prize money thus far. Judging by his game, though, that should change very soon.
5. DeChambeau Is the World’s Highest Ranked Amateur
Heading into the Masters, DeChambeau was the highest-ranked rookie in the official World Golf Rankings.
He comes in at No. 464, which is 18 spots ahead of the second-ranked rookie Jordan Niebrugge, also from the United States.
Not only is DeChambeau the top rookie in the world, he is also currently ranked 12 spots ahead of Tiger Woods (476th).
I have a feeling we’re going to hear Bryson DeChambeau’s name a lot in the future.