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Bryson DeChambeau, of the United States, reacts after sinking a putt for par on the 18th hole to win the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Mamaroneck, N.Y.Charles Krupa/The Associated Press

If you break golf down to its basics, the attraction is that any slob can play it.

Generally speaking, “playing it” means “playing it poorly,” but that is also part of the appeal. Everyone’s bad at golf. At best, a lifetime’s practice will turn the typical player into one of average competence. Give it up for a year and you drop back to beginner levels.

There is no shame in this because basic proficiency at golf has little to do with athletic ability or physical fitness. A short, chunky person is just as likely to be good as a tall, chiselled one.

Shorn of this body stigma, regular golfers love telling you how bad they are at it. (This also happens to be a sneaky way of letting you know they have a bit of spare cash and a lot of free time.)

You wouldn’t tell anyone that you can’t dribble a basketball. Or are a horrible skater. Or that you can’t touch your toes.

You’re bad at those things because you’re old, overweight and under-co-ordinated. It’s not as though that’s a big secret, but you’re not going to go around advertising the fact.

But golf? “You should’ve seen me shank it off the fourth tee. Hit two cars. One was moving.”

Along with darts, billiards and bowling, golf remains (sort of) democratic because whatever John Daly can do without embarrassing himself, you can too.

Then Bryson DeChambeau shows up.

The 27-year-old American won the U.S. Open this past weekend. He is not exactly what you would call a finesse player.

DeChambeau is built like a brick plinth. His biceps bulge out of his polo shirts like wheels of cheese. He is the sort of man who has to turn sideways to squeeze through doorways.

Most pro golfers have been gym fit for a few years now. Blame Tiger Woods. Once the best golfer of all time decided to transform his physique from college freshman to college senior, every other serious young pro felt he had to do so as well.

(Woods’s body transformation coincided with a spate of back injuries. Now that he’s back to being better, he’s also a lot leaner.)

The buff Woods phenomenon eventually led us to Brooks Koepka, a beefy world No. 1 who likes his ensembles fitted like a body-sock.

But DeChambeau is of a different order.

Last season, he held 190 solid pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame. Big, but not huge. Koepka-sized.

DeChambeau announced his intention to “look like a different person” the next year. Post-COVID-19 shutdown, he showed up appearing less like Tiger Woods and more like Tiger Woods’s bodyguard.

He’d apparently added as much as 50 pounds of muscle to his frame. His strength coach says he’d eventually like to get up to 270.

The new DeChambeau doesn’t attack the course. He grievously assaults it. His approach off the tee doesn’t emphasize ball placement. Instead, DeChambeau hits the ball as hard as he can and with little care for where it lands. Then does the same thing until he gets to the green.

During this past weekend’s final two rounds, he hit only nine of 28 fairways.

It is an article of golfing faith that if you don’t hit fairways, you can’t win. DeChambeau just walked into golf’s temple and started flipping tables.

“I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a U.S. Open champion does,” Rory McIlroy said afterward. “Look, he’s found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know.”

I do. It’s bad.

Not for the current crop of top pros or their balance of power. The professional ecosystem of any sport is meant to be gamed.

If DeChambeau wants to replace his driver with a stainless-steel croquet mallet and address the ball with his back turned to it and from between his legs, that’s his business.

If long-ball golf isn’t as entertaining to watch (and it isn’t), seeing the likes of McIlroy trying to frame his own looming obsolescence as an affront to the game’s hallowed traditions certainly is.

Because when was the last time you said, “Whether X is good or bad …” and didn’t mean you thought it was bad?

So I’m all for chaotic disruption as it applies to the highest rungs of pro sports. I salute DeChambeau for figuring out how to maximize his particular gifts.

But watching him turn one of the last fields of play that celebrated shlubby weirdos into another branch of Gold’s Gym still depresses me.

Will the next generation of fans get to see a wobbling Weeble like Colin Montgomerie featured on the Sunday broadcast of a major? Or an Oompah Loompah like Ian Woosnam? Or a dad-bod pin-up like Vijay Singh? Or a chain-smoking lounge lizard like Miguel Angel Jimenez?

Obviously, none of these men were average. You don’t do any sporting thing professionally unless you are exceptional.

But they looked average – middle-aged, somewhere between paunchy and fat, bending over to fetch the ball like they feared they might end up face-first on the green.

There was and is something joyful about a sport that still featured a few people – not a lot, but a few – who looked like the great horde cheering them on.

There is never again going to be such a thing as the average-height NBA forward or the thick-hipped NFL quarterback. But there was hope for the pudgy golf pro.

DeChambeau is an existential threat to that possibility.

In fairness to him, DeChambeau is more than an especially thick slab of beef. He putts well and has a decent touch around the greens.

But the only message lesser aspiring golfers will receive from his success is: “Get big. Get good.” Prepare for a generation of bulging DeChambeau clones at the lower pro levels and in U.S. college programs. The swole bros will be arriving soon enough in the PGA.

Whether or not it sticks, the trend won’t filter down to the local course you play on. Who’s got the time? And, honestly, why would you care?

But in this future world of super-sized golfing giants, weekend hackers will no longer feel so free and easy telling people how mediocre they are at something they do for fun. They will have begun adding something to their golf game that has no place there – shame.