So much for that idea of growing up to be a policeman.

I watched Bryson DeChambeau bomb his way through most of Florida Sunday on the way to a smashing – literally – victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Now I want to be Bryson DeChambeau when I grow up.

DeChambeau is either an alien or a machine. There is no other explanation.

There are three amazing parts to his game, and I want all of them.

There are his space-age drives. To watch his pre-shot routine on the tee box is to worry about innocent children nearby possibly being swept up in the vortex as he rips through practice swings like a man about to invade Poland. This is a man who had the audacity to try to drive the green on a PAR FIVE last weekend. He hit the ball over a lake that looked bigger than Lake Superior – twice. He celebrated, and rightly so.

There are his robot-like putts. He holds the putter in a position that I can compare only to somebody with a broken leg trying to get support from a cane. But the putts go in. For a player who has built his reputation on sending drives into moon orbit, his putting is usually rather magical. After studying every angle – and then some – of the final five-foot putt that won the tournament Sunday, DeChambeau hammered it into the center of the cup with a strong stroke that probably would have carried it far beyond the hole if it had not gone in. Of course, it did.

Most impressive to me, however, is the third part of his game. And it happens in the rough, where he often resides. A side effect of DeChambeau’s aggressive drives is the fact that some of them don’t stay in the fairway. The course of Mr. Palmer, as DeChambeau appropriately called him, has brutally high and thick rough. No problem for DeChambeau. His irons powered through the cabbage like a hot knife through butter. If I tried something similar, I would break my arm and/or the club, and the ball would go nowhere. When I grow up, hopefully this will be different.

For all of the above reasons and more, DeChambeau’s popularity is growing. His personality is a bit quirky, and his analytical and physics-drenched approach to the game is strikingly unusual. But that’s OK. It makes him a novelty, and one that more and more fans seem to appreciate. Although fan numbers were limited by COVID restrictions at Bay Hill over the weekend, an impressive crowd gathered to watch him challenge the lake on the par-five sixth hole. His Saturday and Sunday drives covered 370 and 380 yards, and both were efforts that excited the crowd – and him. His emotional responses were appropriate, considering the audacity of his goal and the fact that he reached it.

Few golfers of this generation are as compelling as DeChambeau. His howling approach to the game isn’t for everyone, and his post-tournament listing of his sponsors can be annoying, but his attacking style is reminiscent of Palmer, the man whose red cardigan DeChambeau wore in victory Sunday.

I can’t wait to grow up.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.