Though some of the top golf courses in America are found in the Northeast portion of the country, the region doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves. People routinely boast about Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and Whistling Straits for good reason, but where’s the love for Connecticut’s Stanwich Club, Pennsylvania’s Shepherd’s Rock or New Jersey’s Liberty National Golf Club?
The latter hosted The Northern Trust in early August to rousing applause. The U.S. Open visits New York’s Winged Foot Golf Club in 2020. The PGA Championship travels to New Jersey’s Trump National Golf Club in 2022. Maybe, by then, the geographical corner will get more esteem for its gorgeous greens.
Bryson DeChambeau knows all about life under the radar. The 2018 Northern Trust winner (and five-time PGA Tour victor overall) doesn’t get the attention of Brooks Koepka or the stares of Jon Rahm, even though he dons a signature Ben Hogan-inspired cap every round and comfortably sits at No. 8 in the World Golf Ranking.
Not that sitting is something DeChambeau, 25, does much of anymore. With the rigorous PGA Tour schedule, the Modesto, California, native jumps from New Jersey one week to Medinah, Illinois’ BMW Championship the next and Atlanta’s Tour Championship afterward. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for worrying about being overlooked in the mainstream.
What does get attention in the detail-oriented golfer’s mind — besides wind factors, flagstick construction and green undulations, of course — are sensible diets, morning workouts and video games. Read on to see exactly how Fortnite and a fair share of rest are helping to shape one of the sport’s rising stars.
What makes The Northern Trust such a special tournament?
Well, it’s the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs and last year, obviously, I was able to win. That’s a big milestone in my career and will forever be cemented as one of the biggest wins of my career. It solidified in me that I could win on a big stage with the best players in the world. That was really big for me.
When people talk about great golf, Jersey City doesn’t jump out in conversations. Why don’t more fans talk about golf in that region?
That’s a great question. I don’t know if it’s one that I can necessarily answer, but I could say that [Liberty National] is one of the better golf courses that I’ve seen in the world. It’s a very unique layout. It’s a great layout.
There are a lot of great golf courses in the world. This one has an incredible backdrop. You’ve got the Statue of Liberty right there. It’s unique, and I think that people need to look at it more and see it as a really cool place for golf.
The PGA Tour schedule is extremely busy. When does it all start to take a toll on you during the season?
After about four weeks of doing the same thing, traveling every week. That’s usually when I get tired of it. I’d say that a lot of the jet lag and stuff starts wearing on you. You just need time to sit down for a week or two in the same place, at home, and reset the body. That’s what’s needed.
I’d also say that every hour of time change that you have takes about a day to acclimate. If you have three hours, it’ll take three days [to get rid of the jet lag]. So, if you’re going coast to coast, it’s going to take about three days.
Let’s take Medinah this week. Are you resting the first part of the week?
Yes. Usually, if everything is going well, I’ll take about a day to relax, rest and get acclimated to the time zone. I’ll do a light, little workout to get the body going. But it’s mainly about resting, relaxing and being sedentary and holding still.
Are you particularly conscious about your diet during the season?
For me, it’s mainly about getting enough protein. If I get enough protein, I could eat a lot of carbs because I’m working out. I’m pretty much working out all day. I’m walking eight miles and working out after. I’ve got a pretty intensive day. So, I need those carbs and proteins. I just try to take in as much of that [as possible].
And I listen to my body. Whenever I feel like I need a little bit of sugar, I’ll add a little of that. And vice versa, if I’m not eating enough food and sustaining the muscle mass, I’ll eat more protein.
Most people look to golf to unwind. With it being your full-time job, what do you do to relax?
I usually play Fortnite.
Yes, absolutely. I bring my Xbox every week. And to relax, sometimes I go work out. Working out is something that makes my body a lot better, and I feel healthier. That’s one way to relax. Right after that, I feel like I can go to sleep real easily.
You don’t play Fortnite with tournament action the next day, do you?
Oh yeah. At nights I do. I don’t play for too long, but I do enjoy hanging and talking with friends online.
You’re one of the game’s most underrated players. Can you still go out to dinner without being hounded or are those days over?
I can do it for the most part. Every once in a while, some guys will come up [for an autograph]. But for the most part, it’s not that bad. I wear my Hogan hat usually on the golf course, and I don’t have it anywhere else. That kinda makes me incognito.
The PGA Tour season concludes with the Tour Championship. What do you look forward to most about the Atlanta visit?
It’s the final of the FedEx Playoffs, and it’s a great test of golf. The course is very demanding off the tee, and you need to have every part of your game working properly.