Bryson DeChambeau’s career trajectory looks strong compared to other contemporary stars

You might not recognize Bryson DeChambeau when he returns to the PGA Tour this year. During the three-month pause the PGA Tour has taken, DeChambeau has been living in the weight room (and maybe the kitchen). The five-time PGA Tour winner now weighs 240 pounds (with his sights set on something more like 270!) and has a ball speed that regularly exceeds 200 miles per hour.

That number might not mean much until you realize that the fastest average speed on the PGA Tour last season was Cameron Champ at 190 miles per hour, which was 7 miles per hour faster than anyone else.

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So who knows what DeChambeau is going to be when golf returns — he might be the longest driver of the ball in PGA Tour history for all we know — but we do know where he’s been, what he’s done and how he projects (weight and ball speed aside).

PGA Tour events: 100 | Wins: 5 (5%) | Best win: Dell Technologies Championship (2018)
Top 10s: 21 (21%) | Top 25s: 36 (36%)

Round numbers are the best numbers, and DeChambeau’s career has consisted of exactly 100 PGA Tour events, which is the roundest number (and easiest to measure) of all. Here is a non-exhaustive list of golfers who won fewer than DeChambeau (5) in their first 100 events on the PGA Tour.

  • Rickie Fowler
  • Patrick Reed
  • Jason Day
  • Justin Rose
  • Webb Simpson

Interestingly, five out of the first 100 is a magic number for some of the bigger names on tour. Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia all won five of their first 100 times out. Adam Scott won six. And these are all seemingly pretty good comps for DeChambeau (which is a massive compliment to him).

While his methods are far more unconventional than somebody like those four players, the results have largely been the same. They have all won big tournaments over the course of their respective careers, but majors have been few and far between for the guys I’m holding up next to DeChambeau. Matsuyama has never won one, and it took Scott (32), Johnson (32) and Garcia (37) until their mid-30s (well over 100 career starts in) to do so.

DeChambeau is in the same boat for now. His best finish at any major ever is a T15 at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, which Johnson coincidentally won. That was DeChambeau’s first major after turning professional and he qualified into it. He’s never finished in the top 10 at any of the four big ones despite how much success he’s had on the PGA Tour. And while majors aren’t everything, they are definitely something, especially as they become more and more difficult to win with deeper and deeper fields. To not have a single top-10 finish is tough for the current resume.

The rest of it, though? It’s rather full. Alongside those five wins, DeChambeau has contended a lot. He’s finished in the top 20 in strokes gained on the PGA Tour in each of the last two seasons and was ranked in the top five in that category when this one went on hiatus.

It goes beyond the numbers with him, too. No matter how you feel about him as a player or a person, it’s undeniable that his character is good for the game. The science schtick, the one-length clubs, the faux beef with Brooks Koepka over slow play and the weight-gain regiment all make up this bizarre amalgamation of an athlete who it seems will thrive for years to come on the PGA Tour both on the course and when it comes to staying newsworthy. In other words, Bryson DeChambeau is intriguing, which is maybe the best thing you can be as an athlete in 2020.

The most interesting of all the comparisons to me is Scott. Though they could not be more different as human beings, their career parallels are so tight. Scott won a playoff event and the Players as part of his first five wins. DeChambeau won two playoff events and the Memorial. Scott, like DeChambeau, was up and down at the majors early on. He posted just four top 10s in his first 39 major championship starts. His 2013 Masters win was monumental, but it was also part of a nine-year run in which he scored 15 top 10s at the majors. He came on strong in the second half of his (still thriving) career.

Could that be coming for DeChambeau, who is just 26? I definitely think it could. There are (much) worse fates, and DeChambeau is right on track to have one of the better careers of anyone in his generation. Even if he weighs 300 pounds when it’s over.

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