There are a couple of intertwined narratives developing around Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Bryson DeChambeau that are as lazy and wrong as they are irritating and misleading.
The man himself is not to blame for any of these now commonly repeated talking points but they continue to pervade public discussion.
Taking the prize for most misleading is the notion that the distance debate began when Bryson beefed up and started swinging for the fences.
There is a core of golf fans who seem to believe 2020 was the first time anybody raised the possibility that driving distance might be a problem for the long term future of the game and that they only did so because of Bryson.
It’s a fallacy that is easily disproved, of course, and even the most cursory google search will reveal talk of the issue dating back several decades.
The second narrative ties into the first and asserts that DeChambeau – and coverage of his power game – are ‘bringing new eyeballs’ to golf.
I’m happy to stand corrected but this makes little sense and certainly I have not seen any evidence to support it.
The US Open champion is unquestionably generating a lot of discussion among golf fans but beyond that? Mainstream media – here in Australia at least – are certainly not picking up on it.
"There is a core of golf fans who seem to believe 2020 was the first time anybody raised the possibility that driving distance might be a problem for the long term future of the game and that they only did so because of Bryson." - Rod Morri.
The third narrative ties into the first two and can loosely be placed under the banner of ‘haters gonna hate’.
This storyline has DeChambeau as the hero disruptor changing the game and those concerned about the distance issue his new style of play has highlighted as the stuffy, out of touch villains trying to handcuff him.
I am unashamedly in the camp that thinks hitting distance is a problem but I don’t blame DeChambeau for it nor, I suspect, do most who agree with me.
In fact, despite not being a particular fan of his public persona or his style of play I personally have nothing but admiration for his extraordinary work ethic.
The changes he has made to both his body and his swing are remarkable to say the least and he deserves full credit for the transformation.
Which ties neatly into the fourth point which asserts the distance gains he has achieved have little, if anything, to do with equipment.
That may be true of 2018 equipment versus today but does anybody truly believe the shots he hit across the lake at Bay Hill’s 6th hole at the weekend would be possible with a persimmon driver and balata ball?
And finally there is a growing chorus of commentators and fans who are convinced DeChambeau is the ‘most entertaining player in the game’.
That is a perfectly reasonable opinion but is just that: an opinion. As mentioned, I’m not a particular fan of his style of play and don’t find it particularly entertaining.
To me, Jordan Spieth is a much more compelling player to watch and I’m sure many fans have their own favourites.
The point of all this is really to note – again – that the distance debate is not about golfers as a collective or any individual golfer.
It is much bigger than that, both for the professional and recreational games, and includes issues of sustainability, safety and the courses the game is played on.
And in that sense, Bryson is really the symptom, not the problem.