Golfer Bryson DeChambeau, who has hit the headlines recently for bulking up during quarantine and raging at a cameraman, has stunned fans again by asking tournament officials for help after his ball appeared to land on fire ants.
Viewers and experts offered sympathy and ridicule to DeChambeau when he aroused suspicions by summoning a PGA official at the St Jude Invitational in Memphis, where he claimed that his shot was unplayable because of an apparent colony of red ants at the base of a tree.
The world number seven was performing well on the seventh hole at the tournament, which has a top prize of $1.75 million, when his ball settled in an unpromising position between two twigs.
“It looks like an ant hole or ant area,” he was heard saying in a video that swiftly became the main topic of debate for disbelieving fans on social media.
PGA Tour referee Ken Tackett adjudged the situation to be safe, refusing DeChambeau a drop that would have allowed him to move his ball to the nearest spot deemed playable.
“Bryson is currently trying to convince a rules official he should get a drop because he’s in a dangerous situation because he saw a couple of fire ants,” boggled golf writer Kyle Porter. “This might be my favorite moment of 2020.”
Fellow sports writer Dan Katz, who has more than a million followers on Twitter, replied: “Is Bryson trolling us at this point? He can’t possibly be this lame, right?”
DeChambeau was lauded for sporting an unusually hulking physique for a golfer after packing on muscle while golf was suspended during lockdown in the US, helping him to hit huge shots on an impressive return to the tour that was blemished by an altercation when he accused a cameraman of “damaging” his “brand” by filiming an errant bunker shot.
“In case you were wondering – and I know you were – Bryson DeChambeau weighs as much as 405 million ants,” reported a golf host. “But since ants are so strong, it would only take 810,000 ants to lift Bryson.”
In case you were wondering, and I know you were, Bryson DeChambeau weighs as much as 405,000,000 ants.But – since ants are so strong, it would only take 810,000 ants to lift Bryson.Be careful out there! pic.twitter.com/nYeO7wpDry
— Rick Gehman (@RickRunGood) July 31, 2020
He 100% has a gripe if they are fire ants. Those things are hella hard to get off of you and attack in droves. When I lived in GA if I landed anywhere near one I’m 100% of the time moving that ball.
— Jeremy (@jlopez21887) July 30, 2020
If there is legit concern that his ball is sitting on top of an active fire ant colony, I 100% understand not wanting to take a hack at it with my wedge… Those little a-holes are not to be messed with! 🔥 🐜 ⛳
— Aaron Baillie 🔴🍁🔴 (@AaronGBaillie) July 31, 2020
Among the jokes, DeChambeau earned some sympathy from audiences familiar with his potential terrorizers on the course.
“He 100% has a gripe if they are fire ants,” explained one. “Those things are hella hard to get off of you and attack in droves.
“If I landed anywhere near one, I’m 100% of the time moving that ball.”
Another added: “If there is legitimate concern that his ball is sitting on top of an active fire ant colony, I 100% understand not wanting to take a hack at it with my wedge. Those little a-holes are not to be messed with.”
Bryson DeChambeau vs. the “Fire” Ant Hill is so 2020
— Amanda Rose (@amandagolf59) July 30, 2020
Ant area! Come on Bryson, I’ve heard it all now!
— Mike Miller, PGA (@mikemillertime) July 30, 2020
Talk about wasting all the goodwill you built up from becoming a physical phenomenon
— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) July 30, 2020
First time golfing in a year tomorrow and I’m stealing this. “That shot doesn’t count, there was a fire ant over here. I’m just gonna drop and hit another”
— Craig Szabo (@CSzabo83) July 31, 2020
Writer Peter Bukowski warned that DeChambeau had “wasted all the goodwill built up from becoming a physical phenomenon” and a podcast presenter said that the idea of ants posing a danger during a tournament made for an “iconic moment”.
Casual golfers were also encouraged by the idea, with one responding: “First time golfing in a year tomorrow and I’m stealing this. ‘That shot doesn’t count, there was a fire ant over here. I’m just gonna drop and hit another.'”
DeChambeau finished the round in ninth, admitting that he had been in a bad position by the tree irrespective of the intervention of hostile ants.
“I’m always going to respect the officials and go, OK, no issue, that’s fine,” said the 26-year-old American. “It didn’t help that I had a really, really bad lie, too.”