How much did you earn in the first week of your first job? Chances are it was quite a bit less than the $259,000 cheque Bryson DeChambeau pocketed for finishing tied-fourth in the RBC Heritage, his first tournament as a professional.
“It’s tough to really sum up. What I can tell you is it’s been quite a journey so far these past couple of weeks,” said DeChambeau, who turned pro immediately after the Masters. “It’s an honor to be playing out here with these big boys, trying to do my best. Hopefully, I can keep competing out there, and hopefully, I can get a couple of wins out there.”
We’d be surprised if the 22-year-old has to wait long for his first victory. He finished just one shot outside the top-20 at the Masters, having shot three rounds of level-par in conditions that proved too challenging for many of the world’s top players. He’s already finished second in a professional tournament, finishing two shots behind Peter Senior at last year’s Australian Masters.
Last year, as an amateur, he became just the fifth golfer in history to win the NCAA Division 1 Championship and the US Amateur Championship in the same year. The four previous names to manage it show it’s not an easy feat: Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore.
Further comparison to some top names shows just how good DeChambeau’s pro debut really was. When Tiger Woods made his professional debut at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open he finished tied-60th. Current world number one Jason Day made his debut at the 2006 Deere Classic, finishing tied-67th. Rory McIlroy’s debut came at the 2007 British Masters, where he finished tied-42nd. And Jordan Spieth fared even worse in his professional debut, missing the cut at the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open.
DeChambeau clearly has a long way to go before he can be compared in earnest to those players, but he’s off to a very, very good start.