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Eccentric DeChambeau is real quality.

BRYSON DeChambeau made a better professional debut than Tiger Woods.

He also outshone the world top three's first forays into the senior ranks.

Just let that sink in... While Tiger finished T60 on his debut at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open, DeChambeau recorded an eye catching T4 at last week's HBC Heritage. To place his achievement into further context, it's worth remembering Jordan Spieth missed the cut on his pro debut.

Rory McIlroy came in T42 when he first teed it up as a pro at the 2007 British Masters, while Jason Day finished T67 at the 2006 John Deere Classic.

Coming just a week after recording a notable T21 finish at the Masters in his final outing as an amateur, DeChambeau's, right, performance at the Heritage was hugely impressive.

I'm actually frustrated I didn't follow my instincts and tip him in last week's column, but caution got the better of me.

It's clear the buzz and hype around this unique talent is fully justified.

Not only is DeChambeau an eccentric character, he is also a deep thinker.

The 22-year-old physics major, who wears a Ben Hogan-style flat cap on the course, names Albert Einstein as an idol and holds a series of unconventional theories on the sport.

Some contend he is taking the emotion out of the game, but his ability to treat golf as a scientific art is to be admired.

His philosophy is also paying dividends. He appears unaffected by external pressures when he executes shots, while his one plane swing and single-length clubs are certainly a departure from the norm.

He has defined his own novel way of playing the game and it works for him.

Ulti-mately, he will be judged over an extended period of time in the pro ranks, but he looks like a genuine talent.

It isn't inconceivable to think this kid could be the next big thing; he could emerge to challenge McIlroy, Spieth and Day.

We really are fortunate the modern game is so open and competitive that any player in the top-50 can tee it up on any given week and win.

The days of Tiger having a choke hold on the leaderboard are gone. Woods was a game changer when he burst on to the scene two decades ago.

He was a one-off and DeChambeau has the potential to be another trailblazer for the sport.

His calculating approach is totally different to anything we have witnessed before and it will be fascinating to see what path his professional career takes.

Branden Grace may have won in trademark fashion at the RBC Heritage - he got a sniff and closed the deal - but it was DeChambeau who stole the headlines.

On current evidence, bright days lie ahead for the charismatic Californian.

It isn't inconceivable this kid could be the next big thing; he could emerge to challenge McIlroy, Spieth and Day.

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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 20, 2016
Words:480
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