2014 Archives

Dechambeau finds symmetry in physics, college golf


The following is from the Nov. 19, 2014, edition of Golfweek.

December 9, 2014

By Andy Zunz

Bryson Dechambeau could barely turn his neck to see the PowerPoint slides as he elaborated on the finer points of proton decay.

Bryson DechambeauThat'’s right, proton decay. Just three days after the SMU junior smoked it 348 yards off the tee to win the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic long-drive contest, he delivered a speech that he prepared for more than a month to 12 students in a particle physics classroom.

Dechambeau, you see, isn'’t just majoring in golf. He picked physics in order to more intimately learn the mechanics of the golf swing. It'’s pretty heady stuff for one of college golf'’s top players, but that’'s the life he leads,– a life that includes minors in economics and math, too. And it'’s beginning to catch up to him. A day after his moonshot, Dechambeau ended up withdrawing from the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic with a strained trapezius muscle.

"Being under a lot of stress with school and playing a lot of golf has all built up and my trap gave out and said 'See you later,' " Dechambeau explained.

Injuries aside, Sir Isaac Newton would certainly approve of how the 21-year-old from Clovis, Calif., with the inquisitive mind is combining his study of physics to become better at hitting a little white ball into a hole.

"Initially, it was because of golf. I loved understanding and figuring out how the golf ball moves through the air, how the dynamic of the golf swing works and how all the different types of motions contribute to the golf swing,” Dechambeau said.

Introductory courses turned into upper-level and even graduate-level courses, and now Dechambeau finds himself studying less practical theory. He’s balancing about 16 credit hours per semester with his practice schedule and workout regimen. But his enthusiasm hasn’t wavered.