Could Belgian Dumont de Chassart Be The Next Big Thing on The PGA Tour?

Adrien Dumont de Chassart - Sony Open in Hawaii
Adrien Dumont de Chassart - Sony Open in Hawaii / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

OK, I admit it. This youngster, Adrien Dumont De Chassart, might be my next new favorite golfer even though I’ve never seen him hit a shot. The reason is because he graduated from the school I attended, the University of Illinois. 

Face it. Illinois is not usually thought of as a golf power like Oklahoma State or UCLA or USC or Pepperdine or any school in Florida or Georgia. 

You see, Illinois has a lot of winter. In Champaign-Urbana, which is the main campus, the wind blows hard across the flat prairie. 

There’s always a January sleet storm which causes you to sort of shuffle along on sidewalks going to classes so you don’t fall down on the ice. The winters are about two months too long, and as the old Mommas and Papas’ song goes, “All the leaves are brown, and the skies are gray.”   

But my past geography has nothing to do with why Dumont de Chassart might be an up-and-comer. The reason is that he was one of five graduates of the PGA Tour University program from spring of 2023. He and four others earned Korn Ferry Tour cards.

We already know about Ludvig Aberg, the latest Swedish phenom who was No. 1 in the PGA Tour University ranking. He got exemptions in Europe over the summer, won a tournament, and made their Ryder Cup team. Then he played the fall events on the PGA Tour, and won the RSM Classic, the last official event of 2023.  

By comparison, Dumont de Chassart was third on the final PGA Tour U list.

As one of the top five, he earned Korn Ferry Tour membership for 2023 and 2024, and he joined that tour in June. In his first event, BMW Charity Pro-Am, he won.  

“My goal for that year (2023) was to just keep my card on the Korn Ferry, finish in the top 75 and maybe get my card on the PGA TOUR through final stage of Q-school,” Dumont de Chassart said before teeing it up at the Sony Open. “After my win that first tournament, that kind of changed everything. That goal after that win was just to try to get my card on the PGA TOUR.”

He overachieved. By the end of the season, he was the Korn Ferry Rookie of the Year. He finished 11th in Korn Ferry points and got the golden ticket: A PGA Tour Card. This week’s Sony Open is his first stop.

Between his finish in 2023 and his first 2024 start, Dumont de Chassart has been working on fixing some issues in his swing.

“I just kind of had bad tendencies in my downswing, kind of getting a little too much over the top,” he explained to media at the Sony. “Really kind of struggled with my wedging. Couldn't really hit the ball flight that I wanted to. So now I'm just trying to get a little more shallow.”

The other thing he discovered playing the Korn Ferry Tour is that he needed to be a little better in certain playing conditions.

“I've realized that I got to play really good golf in kind of softer conditions,” he said. “When the courses get firmer, greens get firmer, that's where I get to struggle a little bit, and that's why I needed to make some adjustment.”

In addition, he learned, by coming to the US, playing collegiately, and then on the Korn Ferry Tour, that while he thought he hit a long ball, he’s closer to average. 

Average on last year’s Korn Ferry circuit was 306.2 yards. The leader, Chris Gotterup, averaged over 324 yards on his drives. The Korn Ferry Tour is filled to the brim with bombers. The top 100 players in driving all hit 300 yards or better, on average.

“Everyone hits it far,” he admitted. “I've got a good short game. I think that's one of my strengths in general.”

In fact, Dumont de Chassart has other strong suits. He had the lowest scoring average, the highest birdie average, and the second-best putting average on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour.  So he has some game.

Just how will Dumont de Chassart do on the PGA Tour?  Nobody knows for sure. 

He’s just trying to follow in the footsteps of those Belgians who came before: Thomas Pieters, Thomas Detry, Nicolas Colsaerts. 

Of the group, he remembers playing with Detry when he was 14 and Detry was still in college.  Colsaerts was the idol of every junior golfer in Belgium for many years, but he is now 41. 

2024 Sony Open Top 10 Power Rankings. light. Next. 2024 Sony Open Top 10 Power Rankings

While Ludvig Aberg already won on the PGA Tour, Dumont de Chassart already achieved one big goal, and that was getting a PGA Tour card. 

He is exempt this year and hopes to replicate Aberg’s success or at least earn enough money to remain in the top 125, top 70, or, if he has a great season, the top 50 of the PGA Tour for 2025.

Could he be the next big thing? The fun is in finding out.