Reigning U.S. Amateur and NCAA men's individual golf champion Bryson DeChambeau has stepped away from the Southern Methodist University golf program, recently hit hard by NCAA sanctions, in his senior year to prepare for life as a pro after the U.S. Open.
DeChambeau has been playing on exemptions into a number of events, including the Argentine Open and the Australian Masters, where he finished joint runner-up, in November. He'll also be playing on the European Tour in February, as it was announced Tuesday he's been given a sponsor exemption into the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“It will be my first visit to Dubai, but I have heard many good things about the city from fellow players and know the tournament attracts a very strong field each year,” said DeChambeau. “If you look at the [past champions], it’s so impressive with some of the greatest players in the game such as Seve Ballesteors, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy becoming proud owners of the giant Arabian coffee pot that holds special significance to the players.”
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This year, DeChambeau, a physics major at the Texas school, joined Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore as the only players to win the U.S. Am and NCAA men's individual title in the same year. However, because of the sanctions imposed by the NCAA on SMU, including a postseason ban, DeChambeau will be unable to defend his collegiate title. He'll remain an amateur, however, to cash in on invites to the Masters and U.S. Open that he earned as U.S. Amateur champion. He's expected to turn pro after the week at Oakmont in June.
The native Californian has drawn a lot of attention not only for his attire, which includes a soon-to-be-trademark driving cap, but also the makeup of his set, which has irons all of the same length and weight, based off a 7-iron, so he can make the same swing with each. A disciple of Homer Kelley's Golfing Machine, DeChambeau also has jumbo oversized grips on his clubs to reduce grip pressure.