Recognizing Stellar Athletes: Golf’s Bryson DeChambeau and Football’s Kyler Murray


I don’t believe there has ever been a professional golfer like Bryson DeChambeau.


We know there are different swings, different styles. We’ve seen them.

But nothing like Bryson DeChambeau.

He won the U.S. Open championship by six strokes. He was the only golfer to shoot under par. He defied logic as well as the difficult challenges historic Winged Foot’s West Course presented to the field.


U.S. Open Champion



While the others, including 21-year old Matthew Wolff, tried to deal with the treacherous layout in Mamaroneck, N.Y., DeChambeau savagely attacked it. And prevailed.


Bryson DeChambeau


Wolff would have been the youngest winner of the Open since Tiger Woods had he held onto his two-shot lead entering the final round.

He is as aggressive as the new champion, can bomb away from afar, and can slam it out from deep rough with amazing power.

But his style is not anywhere near what we see from DeChambeau.

For Bryson, it’s all about sheer force, strength, and what looks to be, an uncontrolled swing, with the ball farther away, straight arms, and a coil and finish that looks downright scary.

He has bulked up from when he started as a pro, and we have learned that the swing is anything but uncontrolled.

DeChambeau uses analytics, which means there is a science to every aspect of the game, from geometry to physics and everything in between.

In high school, he rewrote his physics textbook and proceeded to understand that particular science on a whole different level.

It affects his approach in how his golf clubs are constructed, to his assessment of the course he is playing, including the type of flagstick on the greens. Fiberglas or not. When putting he uses a system called vector putting, taking into account the break and speed of the green. And that’s just the start.

He weighs in at 240 pounds and wants to get up to 270.

But don’t be deceived. He’s not a muscle-bound gorilla. He has the flexibility golfers need to execute their way around a golf course.

At the Open, his strategy was to just power away. Hit it as far as he could, and go from there. 

I may be wrong, but I wonder how many amateurs will now want to copy the 27-year old new darling of pro golf. Oh, he’s been circling the spotlight for awhile now. He’s no newcomer, having won seven PGA tour events, and finishing fourth in this year’s PGA Championship. 

But capturing the U.S. Open has really put him on the map.

But if youngsters, and oldsters start banging away, swinging as hard as they can with the tense look of those outstretched arms, will they get results, or more important, enjoy the game?

The one thing about Bryson DeChambeau that may be worth imitating, is his Ben Hogan-style cap. He started wearing it when he was 13, and its become a signature for him.

In any event, the latest young golfer that’s become front and center displays a different and unorthodox style in so many ways, that to say he has become an attraction worth following, is an understatement. 


Kliff Kingsbury with Kyler Murray


Another athlete worth following is Kyler Murray, the second-year quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.

I was on hand for his NFL debut on opening day 2019, and covered him last weekend on week 2 of this season.

The Heisman Trophy winner and his head coach Kliff Kingsbury arrived in the desert together amid doubters and naysayers who were skeptical of a coach who had a losing record in the college ranks and a QB who was just one of those new-style guys who were outstanding athletes and could run but would get hurt and have a brief career.

This could always happen, of course, but the new age signal-callers like Murray, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have unquestionably changed the game. They are fast, and talented and exciting.

They also have what seems to be, an innate ability to extend plays with their legs as well as their arms and run potent attacks.

Kyler and Kliff started in rocky fashion a season ago, and the head coach admits he thought he would be fired after the first half of his debut against the Detroit Lions. 

But the pair grew and the Cardinals wound up with a 5-10-1 mark.

Murray developed enough to be named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

They began this season with a bang and knocked off the defending NFC Champion 49ers on the road in their opener. 

Murray gained 91 yards rushing. All but one in the second half.

The Cardinals entertained the newly-named Washington Football Team in week 2, an interesting matchup considering Washington rallied to beat the Eagles in their opener sacking Carson Wentz eight times in the process.

So the question became, what would give in their confrontation.

What happened is that the boys from the nation’s capital hardly touched Kyler Murray who passed and ran for 353 total yards, in an Arizona rout.

He rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another, and tired out a defensive unit for the second straight week.

Against Washington he connected with short passes and long throws, including a pair for 54 and 31 yards, and repeatedly got out of trouble with his feet.


Running wild against Washington



I don’t believe in drawing conclusions either way after only two games, but there is evidence you can’t ignore.

Kyler Murray has a knack for reading the game and knowing where to go to move the ball.

He chose football over baseball after the Oakland A’s drafted him in the first round. He is gaining confidence and becoming a vocal leader.

I know, at some point, some team will come up with a plan to limit his effectiveness. I don’t think it will be permanent thing.

Kyler Murray is here to stay. Of course health is always an issue, and the knee-jerk mantra is that running quarterbacks eventually get hurt.

But the real good ones learn to become passers first, and only run at select times. Check out Russell Wilson of the Seahawks, who is not a good one. He is a great one. And a former baseball prospect as well.

Murray has the ability to slide (I wonder where he learned that), and so far, avoid the real hits.

The Cardinals have revamped their defense, their offensive line is vastly improved, and they amped up their firepower by trading for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Hopkins, who joins the ageless future Hall of Farmer Larry Fitzgerald, had led Arizona in receiving both games. He grabbed a career best 14 passes for 151 yards in the opening game.

The Cardinals play in the toughest division in the NFC, so they may have to wait their turn a bit. But maybe not. The Seahawks and Rams look strong, and the 49ers who reached the Super Bowl are trying to survive in the face of injuries to a few of their star players.

I have little doubt Kyler Murray, who thrilling to watch, is headed for stardom.

I get to see him again this Sunday against the Lions.

How can you not look forward to that?