DeChambeau benefits from Tiger friendship
Tiger Woods isn’t a bad man to count among your friends as a professional golfer and Bryson DeChambeau looked eerily similar to the 14-time major winner in his pomp by cruising to victory at The Northern Trust.
The 24-year-old has struck up a close friendship with Woods and converted a four-shot overnight lead into his third PGA Tour victory at the Northern Trust.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Padraig Harrington came agonisingly close to a first tournament victory in two years before Andrea Pavan clinched his first European Tour title at the Czech Masters.
Here are the stories from a fascinating weekend of golf:
Bryson cruises to victory
DeChambeau took a four-shot lead into Sunday’s final round and promptly birdied the first two holes at the Ridgewood Country Club to steady any nerves.
His advantage was cut to two at one stage by the surging Aaron Wise but birdies at 12 and 13 – the former including a pinpoint chip to within four feet – got him back on track and he sailed home with a 69 to finish four shots clear of second-placed Tony Finau on 18-under.
DeChambeau – who finished in a tie for 51st at The 147th Open Championship earlier this summer – has made his reputation as a number-cruncher and science-lover who revels in the physics of golf, while spending countless hours on the range honing his techniques and equipment.
His hard work is clearly paying dividends as he moves to the top of the FedEx Cup rankings and he has highlighted the unlikely friendship with Woods – a man almost 20 years his senior – as part of the puzzle.
“What I’ve learned from Tiger is just how good he is,” said DeChambeau. “I never realised the immense talent he has with regards to the feel in his hands, his ability to control the golf ball and do things that I've never seen before. It's definitely helped this year.
“At times we speak the same language and at times he tells me to shut up and hit the ball! It is what it is. It's fun. I like to joke with him a little bit – it's been great.”
Woods still has the drive
For his part, Woods is equally complimentary about DeChambeau, even if he’s not always fully on board with the youngster’s diatribes on the mechanics of golf.
“Bryson is very fiery,” said Woods. “We all know he's extremely intelligent but his heart, he gives it everything he has and is always trying to get better.
“I feel a lot of the things that he says but we articulate it completely differently. But I understand what he's saying.
“It's a lot of fun to needle him and give him a hard time about it but I definitely respect what he says because of the fact that he does a lot of research. I mean, he is very into what he's doing.”
Fire and heart.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 26, 2018
Incalculable. 🔬 pic.twitter.com/M2ENswTE0i
At The Northern Trust, Woods did well just to make the cut and eventually finished in a tie for 40th – 14 shots behind DeChambeau.
He admits his putting wasn’t there but was pleased to see his driving returning to something resembling its best.
“I played a lot better than my score indicates,” Woods added. “I didn't make any birdies this week and I didn't putt well.
“I found a piece of my game that has been missing though, which is driving it well, but you have to make putts. That's the only way we're going to shoot low rounds. I didn't do it this week.”
So near yet so far for Harrington
At the Czech Masters, Harrington and Pavan duked it out at the top of the leaderboard on the final day before, much like at Carnoustie earlier this summer, it was ultimately an Italian who came out on top.
Harrington birdied the 1st, 6th and 9th to lead by three shots at the turn but five birdies from Pavan on the back nine saw the 29-year-old win his maiden European Tour title on 22-under – two clear of the Irishman.
This win feels unreal! I cannot believe how far I have come in just 12 months.— Andrea Pavan (@AndreaPavan89) August 26, 2018
A massive thank you to my wife, my family, my coach, my caddie and everyone who helped me get here on a Sunday afternoon to hold this trophy! 🏆#czechmasters @europeantour pic.twitter.com/HZYCQMIjqz
The 2006 and 2007 Champion Golfer took nothing away from his opponent, instead preferring to take the positives after a first top-ten finish in almost ten months.
“It was a good contest, no doubt about it," said Harrington. "I obviously don't feel like I lost it, Andrea won it.
"He played great coming home and holed the decisive putts. I get my fair share of wins, but it wasn't my day.
“I don't feel I have an issue playing against these younger guys, I feel I can certainly keep up with them
“I'm in a nice place, I just have to keep doing the good stuff, and hopefully there'll be more tournaments like this ahead.”