DETROIT – I don’t understand.
I understand a lot about Bryson DeShambeau.
I understand that he is trying to solve the golf problem with the sports science of crazy swing speeds and an even crazier 6,000 calorie a day diet.
I understand that he loves attention and loves to tell stories as much as he loves the speed of his golf balls.
But leaving the field at a large-scale sporting event for your sponsor without saying a word like the reigning champion after two rounds?
I don’t understand this.
Understandably, DeShambeau was upset when he finished the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic with a bet of 1 below par 143 and reassured himself he didn’t miss.
And yes, I’m sure he didn’t want to be confronted with questions about his poor play, or questions about his caddy suddenly leaving before the tournament.
DeChambaut finished the first round so late Thursday night that there were few reporters left to speak to him, and he did not give any interviews after that. On Friday, he refused an interview request. This means that DeShambo said absolutely nothing about the tournament during his first two rounds.
Nothing about the fans or Detroit, or how the tournament handled the double difficulty of meeting the fans again, despite the dire weather throughout the week.
This is simply unacceptable. And this is from a sportswriter and golf fanatic who loves DeShambo. He is a drug addict and not for everyone – probably something like a cross between a snail and caviar. The finer points of fine dining for some; disgusting slime for others.
When DeShambeau arrives at the British Open two weeks later, he will likely be asked about Caddy’s sudden breakup. But I bet no one at Royal St. George’s won’t ask him what he thinks about Detroit Golf and the Rocket Mortgage Classic program.
Simply put, DeShambeau owes more to the tournament and its fans than this – much more – as the reigning champion and sponsor representative.
Even Phil Mickelson, who knew he was about to hear some uncomfortable questions about the history of gambling, faced music and was interviewed after the first round. Willie Mac III, a local favorite from Flint, working a three-hour sleep and flirting with a missing haircut, answered questions with a smile.
I don’t expect athletes to be happy with interviews and questions. But they need to understand that reporters are the channel that connects them to fans.
Maybe DeShambeau has a reasonable explanation as to why he refused to perform on Friday. If he doesn’t, he has a year to think about it.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.