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Bryson DeChambeau just revealed who would be carrying his bag and roller backpack this weekend at Royal St George’s in England for the Open Championship. Apparently the honor goes to Brian Zeigler, a friend and coach of DeChambeau’s who has been known to scream obscenities as inspiration as they try to push the golfer into new feats of strength. In typical non-traditional fashion, DeChambeau announced the news via a zany social media post where the pair took a dunk in the pool together.
According to DeChambeau, Zeigler has helped him achieve new heights both physically and mentally.
“We did a lot of speed training stuff together,” he said. “[Zeigler] was the motivator and the hype man. He helped me reach records I never believed I would get to.”
Translation: Zeigler barked insults and tough-love tirades to try to motivate DeChambeau past his thresholds. In one such video, Zeigler reminds DeChambeau that nobody believes in him, and that he will never achieve his goal of hitting 215 mph ball speed. Obviously, DeChambeau responds well to the intensity or he wouldn’t be employing a full-time ego-basher to push him past his comfort zone. The ploy seems to be working though, as DeChambeau keeps growing to new physical sizes and reaching new otherworldly distances with his driver.
What remains to be seen is Zeigler’s ability to help his new boss navigate a golf course during competition. Bryson’s philosophy seems to be a mix of analytics and pure power to overmatch any golf course he plays, so it made sense that he employed a trainer like Zeigler to push his limits on one end of the scale and a cerebral caddie like Tim Tucker to balance his emotions on the other end. Tucker was making nearly $1 million per year with DeChambeau, so to walk away from that kind of money means that some serious friction had accumulated. In other words, the intensity of Zeigler’s universe had likely spilled into the subtle nuances of Tucker’s, and as DeChambeau’s passion slowly bordered on insane obsession, the relationship became untenable.
Interestingly enough, though Zeigler likely understands Bryson’s single-plane swing (as well as his employer’s psyche) better than anyone, he has never caddied a professional event…much less a major…much less a major on a links course. DeChambeau has only one top-15 finish in his last nine starts, so when the going gets tough across the pond like it is almost guaranteed to do, will the pair rely on their relationship’s intensity to motivate their way through the fire? Or will Zeigler try to do his best Tucker impression and be the calm in the storm for Bryson?
Quite honestly, although I truly love watching Bryson take the single-plane swing mainstream and dominate from the tee box with it, this move reeks of shortsightedness and a guaranteed implosion. It’s like when a famous musician fires his legitimate manager and hires his girlfriend to take the reins. Sure, she’s telling you what you want to hear privately, but that doesn’t mean she should be guiding your career publicly. Jobs don’t necessarily translate as seamlessly as friendships. Bryson could have likely had his pick of professional caddies but instead chose to give the no-name actor a part in the movie. At 27, Bryson is squarely in his prime, and it will be interesting to see how the movie turns out with a golf buddy in the starring role.