DeChambeau Stuck in the Middle
Joel Beall writing for Golf Digest:
For various reasons, many I simply don't understand, Bryson DeChambeau is not very well respected by some folks. I don't know him beyond what I see and read. I'm not here to judge or defend the man himself. What came to mind from this event on the 18th green in Hamburg yesterday was the ongoing debate about what is good sportsmanship on tour.What really rubbed observers the wrong way, though, was DeChambeau ostensibly blowing off McEvoy after his victory, offering the briefest of handshakes before departing the green. Many, including fellow players, deemed the move in poor sportsmanship. It appears DeChambeau agreed, apologizing to McEvoy and fans for his actions on the final green.
Seemingly every time a player is seen being friendly with another player during the round old-school commentators jump all over them for it. "In my day we would never tell another player 'good shot' or give him a knuckle punch." Something along those lines is still too often heard from the momentary booth or on Twitter from the veterans. To their credit, these new wave players just shrug off the criticism and play the game the way they see fit.
DeChambeau let the tournament slip away in the closing holes. He was understandably frustrated and full of other emotions. If he was playing with the "killer attitude" that so many commentators seem to want, it should be fairly understandable why he wouldn't be all smiles and handshakes immediately in the moment. But, out came the critics accusing him of poor sportsmanship. So sharp was the response that DeChambeau felt compelled to address the issue directly via Instagram:
Tough finish today at the @peo_18 , but overall I had a great week in Hamburg. Thank you to Porsche European Open for having me. A terrific golf course with great support from the fans. I apologize to Richard McEvoy and the fans for my brevity on 18. He is a class act, worthy champion and I enjoyed playing with him the past two days. Looking forward to next week in Akron at the @wgc_bridgestone and continuing to work hard on my game
Could he have been a better sport? Sure. It doesn't take much to take off your hat, offer your hand, look your competitor in the eye, and say congratulations. Does it require a firestorm of commentary and criticism because he sort of phoned it in? No.