I have a suggestion for a tune Bryson DeChambeau can play in his trademark ear buds as he walks to the 1st tee for his next tournament start this week in Connecticut.
Face paint-wearing rockers KISS may have little connection to golf. But their track ‘Shout It Out Loud’ from 1976 album Destroyer would be an ideal “psyche up” song for the American, who repeated one of the most unpleasant aspects of modern professional golf last week.
During a US Open week that produced excitement, a worthy winner and countless positives, the lack of calling “Fore” when sending a projectile at nearly 200 mph into a sea of fellow human beings left a sour taste in the mouth of many.
Of course, DeChambeau is not Robinson Crusoe in this regard, but he is a recidivist and one display last week was an extremely poor example of a growing issue that needs to be stopped sooner rather than later before another serious injury takes place. And the practice works its way into the game at a recreational level.
The worst display of this epidemic last week came on Saturday when DeChambeau blazed a drive well right of the fairway at the 4th hole and immediately went down and picked up his tee as if he had lasered one down the middle of the mown portion.
Here's Bryson blasting it into the gallery on purpose and not bothering to yell fore or signal or anything at all, despite knowing where it was going. pic.twitter.com/fLNaOp5qaD— Jay Rigdon (@jayrigdon5) June 19, 2021
There was no call of fore, no arm out to signal the direction of the foul ball to the waiting crowd, who had admittedly camped out in the landing zone for the long driving reigning champion.
The ball barely missed a spectator on the fly as DeChambeau walked back to his bag without watching where it was headed, well away from the cliff to the left of the fairway. And the 27-year-old even had the temerity to suggest such a shot, one that could have a dire result for one his fans, was almost strategic after the round with no apology for his lack of warning to the waiting masses.
“Because I hit it pretty far, I'm going to miss it off line quite a bit. So that plays kind of into my advantage a little bit more because where the people are walking, it's trampled down and you get some good lies out of that. 4 is a great example out here today. I was able to hit it close. I didn't make the putt, but again I hit it over to the right, it's trampled down, had a nice lie, and I was able to get it up on the top ridge,” DeChambeau said after his round.
“Again, that was all part of the strategy. I knew that there was going to be people walking and trampling, and if it was a bad lie, I can still run it to the front of the green and hit it out from there.”
In contrast, there was more than one occassion where Louis Oosthuizen hit a ball in the direction of the crowd and shouted "Fore" and visibly winced as he awaited the result of his mis-hit strike. So too, did Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson loudly call the traditional warning to those lining the fairways when missing their target at Torrey Pines last week.
Paul McGinley reportedly called out DeChambeau for his lack of shouting during the European television coverage and should be applauded for doing so, as Robert MacIntyre was at the 2019 Open Championship when challenging Kyle Stanley for similarly not calling out. Stanley’s ball hitting the mother of MacIntyre’s caddie.
Bison DeChapeau once again launching it at the crowd and refraining from shouting a warning. Not calling “fore” or indicating direction of a wayward shot to give fans a chance to protect themselves is just ignorance. There is no excuse.— Tony Johnstone (@TonyJohnstone56) June 20, 2021
Many of those willing to publicly admonish DeChambeau last week were met with replies of variations of “shouldn’t stand there” or “you can’t hear from that far away” on social media from the beefed-up bomber’s fans. But calling out at least gives the fans a chance to take cover if they do hear the shout. And means those watching at home will do similar when hitting one off line.
Like it or not, the top players in the game and their actions influence golfers down the line. Look no further than DeChambeau himself and the run on one length irons at every retail shop the day after a victory for an example.
Recreational players, particularly impressionable younger ones, will do as their heroes on TV do, so beyond safety at professional events, the trickledown effect could also create serious issues.
We need not go back too far to a wayward drive from Bryson’s recent sparring partner, Brooks Koepka, at the 2018 Ryder Cup in France that hit a woman in the crowd around the eye and caused sight issues to understand how badly this could turn out.
Again Bryson is not alone in this, and the European Tour’s members seem to do a far better job than their PGA Tour counterparts.
But Bryson, as one of the best players in the world who seemingly courts attention whenever he can, can set an example by following the words of Paul Stanley and his band of costumed musicians.
“We can't do it any other way
“Everybody's got to rock n roll yay
“Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud
“Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud.”