A positive COVID-19 test knocked Bryson DeChambeau out of the Summer Games in Tokyo. It also seemingly knocked the wind out of his sails. Or so we thought…
Still, despite his dream of representing the U.S. in the Olympics suddenly turning into the unfortunate reality of handing his spot over to Patrick Reed, apparently DeChambeau doesn’t regret his decision to decline getting vaccinated earlier this year.
Young and Healthy
“The thing is, the vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent it from happening,” DeChambeau said Wednesday at TPC Southwind following his pro-am round ahead of the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. “I’m young enough. I’d rather give (the vaccine) to people who need it. I don’t need it. I’m healthy. I’m a young individual who will continue to be healthy and continue to work on my health.” Given the recent increase in cases due to the Delta variant and a shortage of vaccines, with almost 500,000 people a day initiating the vaccine, this position may hold a little weight. But we have to ask, is this just a posturing move from the brazen young “Bomb & Gouge” athlete?
DeChambeau seemingly stands firm on his position, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that currently 90 percent of all positive cases – and 95 percent of all hospitalizations due to COVID – are the result of unvaccinated individuals.
“I don’t think that taking the vaccine away from somebody who could need it is a good thing for me,” he said. “Like my dad. He got it early on because of his status, being a diabetic. Now, over the course of time, if they really, really mainstream (the vaccine) and everything is vetted out, I won’t have an issue.” Our position is with all the responsibility: travel, entourage, playing with random pairings, etc…it may make more sense for ther PGA to enforce that all PGA players need to be vaccinated by a certain date, say 2022.
DeChambeau, the reigning U.S. Open champion and ranked No. 7 in the world, tested positive twice just days before he was scheduled to fly to Tokyo. The love him or hate him Patrick Reed (most in category B) replaced DeChambeau on the roster. DeChambeau had tested negative three times before playing in the British Open in mid-July, where he tied for 33rd.
DeChambeau, 27, had also tested negative ahead of traveling to Tennessee.
‘Bound to happen’
“It was the first time I tested positive,” he said. “It was bound to happen. Unfortunately, it happened during that week. The odds are, you’re testing year-round, you’re traveling the world, it’s going to happen. Ironically, our position is that is precisely why you WOULD be pro active and get the shots. At least eliminate the majority of the variables…
“I tried to take all the necessary precautions to not get contracted. Unfortunately, I tested positive. We took a couple tests and tested negative both times and I couldn’t do anything about it.
“I didn’t feel (any symptoms) until two days after I tested positive. It was weird. I didn’t feel anything at all and then, all of a sudden, symptoms started coming on. I don’t know where I got it, how I got it, I was just home in Dallas and it was in the air. The day I tested positive I thought it was a false positive. That’s why I thought I was asymptomatic.”
Fatigue was his overriding symptom and DeChambeau said he slept “all the time.” He said he felt weaker as well. He initially felt it was more so because he was behind d on his workout schedule due to the fact he was sleeping much of the day and night. He also had a day full of “a few coughing spurts.” Because of his inactivity, he didn’t eat much, as well. All in all after the 7-10 days he was back to his usual self.
He said he’s lost 8-10 pounds and has been struggling with allergies since testing positive. He said he started feeling much better – “Where I could spend a full day outside,” he said – three days ago.
But How’s His Performance?
As for his power?
“I still hit golf balls in my stimulator. I don’t have as much speed coming back from it. I just didn’t practice for a week,” he said. “With my irons, nothing (speed wise has been lost). With driver, I can’t hit driver at home. My ceiling isn’t high enough. I’ve probably lost 5 mph with my driver.”
Despite losing his place on Team USA for the Olympics, DeChambeau did in fact watch the men’s golf competition.
“It was sad when I tested positive,” DeChambeau said about missing the Olympics. “After I tested positive, my brain just shifted to a place where I just wasn’t in the Olympics. I love the Olympic Games & I love my country. I hope I can be there in three years.”
DeChambeau has only played two 9-hole rounds since his positive COVID result – both here at TPC Southwind.
“I’m not really expecting much,” he said of this week. “I’m just going out here and trying to get through the week and feel comfortable and then do it again.
“Maybe lower expectations will help me this week.”