DeChambeau is NOT the Only Show in Town at Augusta
IF YOU read the papers or tune in to the TV coverage you could be forgiven for thinking that Bryson DeChambeau is the only person taking part in the 84th Masters at Augusta National. His obsessive search for distance is dominating everything to do with the final major of the season.
The powers-that-be at Augusta are already talking about making their course Bryson-proof - even before a shot had been hit in anger. Why don’t we wait and see what happens when the action gets under way? I am ready to be proved wrong, but my gut feeling is that if DeChambeau chooses to wield his much-touted 48-inch driver he is not going to come close to winning his second major.
Much is made of the lack of thick rough at this masterpiece of a golf course but to score well you need to avoid the trees. And the fairways are wide. If DeChambeau chooses to open up his shoulders the chances are that he is going to have to hit an awful lot of shots out sideways. And nobody who does that is going to win The Masters.
DeChambeau has been testing a 48-inch driver for some weeks now and says that it has gone better than he ever imagined it would.
“Every day I’m trying to get faster and stronger and trying to hit it as far as possible,” said DeChambeau. “I have no idea where the end-game is on this, but I will say that I am hitting it further now than I was at the US Open and I’m trying a driver this week that may help me hit it even a little bit further.
“I did not expect it to work, I thought it was going to take more time but it did work. It looks really promising right now. I’m not 100 per cent sure if I’ll put it in play because of the unknown – it’s so close to The Masters. If it is an improvement in every facet of launch conditions, then I don’t see why not.”
The 27-year-old physics graduate has many theories on golf, life and the universe – he even believes he can live to 140 – but he has distilled golf into one simple equation, namely that distance equals success. If it were really that simple, he would win every tournament he plays. But he doesn’t - and he never will.
“I’m just trying to get it up there like I’m in a batter’s box swinging as hard as I can trying to hit a home run,” he said. “It’s not just about me being quirky and doing things in my own way, but it’s about the process of trying to be better each and every day and people are starting to understand that. There’s going to be times of failure and there’s going to be times of success and I’m going to fail a lot more than I succeed. If I go down a road and it doesn’t work, I’ll pull myself back out and try something else.”
The distance gain with a near standard length driver has been extraordinary enough since he piled on 42lb of muscle in just nine months. World No3 Justin Thomas played a practice round with DeChambeau and later said: "It’s a substantially easier golf course for him than it is for everybody else. He’s just eating everything in sight and he’s working out a lot. He’s absolutely jacked.”
It seems that everybody has an opinion about DeChambeau. His fellow pros all admire what he has done but the likes of Padraig Harrington has warned that in 10 years' time we will be witnessing an entire generation of Bryson DeChambeaus. Once again it brings the whole distance debate to the fore. But the jury is still out on what the American might achieve in the game. To date, he has still only won a solitary major, albeit in extraordinary fashion at Winged Foot. Many experts believe that no human body can sustain the sort of physical punishment to which he is subjecting himself. He only needs to look at what happened to Tiger Woods to realise what his endgame might be.
He could take Augusta apart. But it could also prove to be his undoing.
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