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Bryson DeChambeau fizzles in Rocket title defense, misses cut

Tony Paul, The Detroit News on

Published in Golf

DETROIT — First, Bryson DeChambeau broke up with his caddie.

Then, he broke up with the Rocket Mortgage Classic championship trophy.

DeChambeau, who muscled his way to a three-shot victory in Detroit's PGA Tour tournament in 2020, won't be around for the weekend in 2021, after finishing 1 under to miss the cut. It's just the second cut DeChambeau has missed this season, the first coming in February.

The two champions at Detroit Golf Club now have missed the cut the following year, with inaugural winner Nate Lashley failing to make it to the weekend in 2020.

DeChambeau struggled to get his distances in order this week. He had a Cobra equipment rep on the bag, after longtime caddie Tim Tucker quit the night before the tournament started Thursday. Tucker had been on DeChambeau's bag for each of his eight PGA Tour wins, including the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic as well as the 2020 U.S. Open. Tucker is viewed in the industry as a big key to DeChambeau's success, given the complex equations DeChambeau puts into each shot and putt.

He opened with par-72 on Thursday, and shot 1-under 71 on Friday. He looked like he might rally to see the weekend after making birdie at the mammoth par-5 fourth hole, on his second nine. But then, at the short par-3 fifth hole, his wedge tee shot caught a heavy wind, blew left and landed in the greenside bunker, short-siding himself.

"I hate golf," DeChambeau lamented on the tee.

He failed to get up and down, falling back to 1 under, and then bogeyed the next hole, too. He missed a short birdie putt at the eighth to seal his fate.

 

A Rocket Mortgage ambassador, DeChambeau declined to talk after the second round.

DeChambeau shot 23 under in 2020 to beat runner-up Matthew Wolff by three strokes. On one 400-yard par 4 last year, he waited for the green to clear before smacking his tee shot. On the par-5 14th, he had a 9-iron in for his second shot. He opened that tournament week hilariously apologizing to late course designer Donald Ross in anticipation of the spectacular display he was about to put on for the fans.

But the conditions were very different, and a bit tougher this year. The soaked course made it play longer, the 4-inch rough was thicker than a year ago (he hit fewer than 60% of his fairways), and the wind blew hard during his two rounds on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

Webb Simpson, ranked 15th in the world, also is heading home, finishing at 1 under.

Patrick Reed, ranked ninth, finished his second round at 3 under and survived on the cut line.

Another big star in the field, reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, withdrew before the second round due to a positive COVID-19 test. He was 2 under in his first round.

Next up for DeChambeau, 27, sixth in the world rankings, is a televised exhibition match with Aaron Rodgers against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady on Tuesday in Montana. That's followed by the British Open at Royal St. George's later this month, and then the Olympics in Tokyo.

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