SANDWICH, England — A need for a break or a fresh start is often the reason why a golfer severs ties with a caddie.
That’s the mindset Bryson DeChambeau has after his well-documented split with looper Tim Tucker nearly two weeks ago and as he prepares for this week's British Open at Royal St. George’s.
On Monday, DeChambeau put his new caddie, 33-year-old Brian Zeigler, through his paces during a practice round with Open first-timers Nicholas Poppleton and Ricardo Celia, and friend Phil Mickelson.
Talking after his round, DeChambeau is unfazed from the split with Tucker and a caddie-player relationship that had clearly run its course.
While DeChambeau loses the normal day-to-day experience that an experienced caddie like Tucker brought to the table, the gain could be exponential with Zeigler, an instructor at Dallas National where DeChambeau routinely plays.
“We both had so many things going on in the background, our private lives … not willing to talk about that part of it, but just letting everyone know there is more than meets the eye,” DeChambeau said. “You can’t judge a book by its cover on what happened.
“So, what I gain out of Zeigler is somebody who has a fresh perspective on things. I think that’s a good thing for me because right now I’m at a point of time in my life where I think I needed a little bit of a change, something to be different.”
In talking to other experienced caddies, the belief is that DeChambeau is one of the most challenging bags on Tour. Tucker was actually in his second tour of duty with DeChambeau. The first go-round ended rather poorly as DeChambeau was new to professional golf and didn’t understand the importance of a good caddie.
When DeChambeau went back to Tucker a second time, both sides worked through their issues and were better as a result. DeChambeau has become one of the best players in the world and Tucker made money to start a luxury coach business at Bandon Dunes called The Loop. It's a venture that DeChambeau not only supports enthusiastically, but would be willing to invest if the opportunity came about.
“We came up with some amazing experiments that helped me understand how to be consistent on the golf course,” DeChambeau said of his second stint with Tucker. “For example, all the speed stuff we do, all of the air density stuff we do, that was Tim, wholeheartedly. That was him figuring a lot of this stuff out. Again, at those moments of times, it was amazing, everything was awesome.”
DeChambeau admittedly disagrees that he is a difficult employer and believes that most people don’t understand him or how much he and his caddie actually do in the background.
“Sometimes it looks like it’s not a lot of fun and I think that is misconstrued a lot and they’re going to be people that don’t understand it,” DeChambeau said. “Everybody lives their own lives, and they have perspective on things. I can tell you, with my heart or hearts, I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had on the golf course.”
DeChambeau said he is now more enlightened as to how caddies are treated. Before he turned professional, DeChambeau didn’t necessarily believe caddies were deserving, but he now views them to be as integral a part of the team as the player.
“We wanted to make it a good ending,” said DeChambeau of his split with Tucker. “We didn’t want it to be bad and even though it looked bad, in the end it worked out the best for everybody.”
DeChambeau said he would have Tucker back on the bag if, for whatever reason, Zeigler needed to take a break. As of now, though, it’s clear the bag belongs to Zeigler.
More Morning Read Coverage of 2021 British Open:
- Unfazed Bryson DeChambeau Turns Page on Caddie Saga
- Bettors' Roundtable: Favorites, Sleepers, Best Bets from Pool of Experts
- No Course Embraces Quirks Quite Like Royal St. George's'
- Shane Lowry Can Make Rare History This Week
- The Perfect Venue to Cap 2021 Major Season? It's Royal St. George's
- Americans Need to Man Up an Deal With British Open Travel Protocols
- Elements of Style: What Pros Will Wear This Week at British Open
- Gary Player Says St. George's is Easiest of Open Venues