Sports

DeChambeau says he, former caddie ‘are good’

SANDWICH, England — Bryson DeChambeau apologized several times for not addressing his caddie situation two weeks ago at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, saying there were extenuating circumstances that caused him to skip media queries following the first and second rounds of the tournament in Detroit, where he missed the cut.

But DeChambeau was all smiles as he played a practice round on Monday afternoon with Phil Mickelson at Royal St. George’s, where he will be making his fourth start in The Open.

“Tim and I are good,” DeChambeau said during a brief interview between shots of his relationship with former caddie Tim Tucker. “It had been building toward this. And he had told me a while ago he was considering this because of his knees. It’s just painful for him to get around and then it sort of all came together that Wednesday in Detroit. He’s a good friend of mine, but that was a tough week and glad to move on from it.”

DeChambeau’s new caddie, Brian Zeigler, was working his first practice round with DeChambeau on Monday. He is an instructor at Dallas National, where the golfer plays and “I’m very comfortable with him,” DeChambeau said. “I’ve known him for three years, he works with my coach, Chris [Como], and this works out well.”

The matter of figuring out an Open venue was DeChambeau’s immediate concern.

The 2020 U.S. Open winner has fared poorly in his three previous Open appearances, with missed cuts in 2017 and 2019 and a tie for 51st in 2018 at Carnoustie.

“I love links golf,” said DeChambeau, who was 2-0-1 in a U.S. losing effort in the 2015 Walker Cup as an amateur at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s. “It’s weird. Every time I’ve come to this tournament, I’ve had my golf swing not working. So it’s just been a timing thing, unfortunately.

“But I love this style of golf. Chip shots I hit around the greens, the bump and runs I love. Putting, I feel like I can hit it hard, I’m comfortable with that. There’s a lot of good stuff.”

And he downplayed the idea that his game might not be suited to this style, especially given his fitness and weight-gaining regimen that was not a factor in his previous Open appearances. DeChambeau is a high-ball hitter, not necessarily conducive to links golf and windy conditions.

“My best is when I can do anything and everything,” he said “I can hit a low driver bullet, if I really wanted to do. And when it gets really windy I will flight it down. So the conditions dictate everything. I hit it high at the U.S. Open because that’s what was required.

“But I won’t know until [that] day. The conditions could be completely different, the wind completely opposite. Downwind I might be fine or if it’s into the wind I’ve got something totally different.”

DeChambeau had never set foot on Royal St. George’s before Monday. He arrived Sunday and didn’t do any special preparation by reading up on the course or by studying the layout or even by looking at yardage books.

“When I get out here is when I learn the most,” he said “You don’t know the slopes, the environment. A book is not going to tell me that. For example, on the last hole [the eighth, a 450-yard par-4], there’s no room over the bunker if it gets firm and fast. I would have never known that if I hadn’t gotten out here to see it. No book can tell you that. You have to figure it out on your own.”

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