LAS VEGAS – On Tuesday of last week, Bryson DeChambeau’s one-week stay in America’s Playground got off to an unusual start when he was summoned to move back 40 yards on the TPC Summerlin range because his tee shots were clearing the fence protecting the surrounding neighborhood 350 yards away.
On Wednesday, he shot 59 on his own ball in the pro-am.
On Thursday, he took the lead in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at helpless TPC Summerlin with a 9-under-par 62.
On Friday, he defended himself against claims made by colleague Matt Fitzpatrick that his powerful ways were making a “mockery” of the game and that hitting the golf ball immense distances wasn’t a skill.
On Saturday, he tumbled down the leaderboard when he made two double-bogeys and two bogeys in the span of five holes.
On Sunday, he closed with a 66 that included a last-hole bogey that left a bitter taste in his mouth despite finishing in a tie for eighth at 18 under.
“Disappointed with the way I finished, but I know the potential and playing with my B game, maybe B game, if that, was still able to somewhat contend,” said DeChambeau, who made 22 birdies and 3 eagles during the week.
But after the eventful week, the game’s most talked about player these days will go silent and vanish from the PGA Tour. DeChambeau won’t play the next four weeks as the golf world anxiously awaits the second week in November when players turn onto Magnolia Lane for the November Masters.
Especially after he overpowered the beast that is Winged Foot in New York in winning the U.S. Open, where the thick, high rough, thin fairways and firm greens proved no match for him as he won by six shots. Now many in golf’s circles fear what DeChambeau could do to the sacred grounds of Augusta National.
Instead of playing a tune-up on the PGA Tour, DeChambeau will retreat to his Texas home and start beefing up for the Masters.
“Just trying to figure more stuff out as always,” he said after the final round of the Shriners. “I’m going to be working out like crazy. The first week back home, I’m not really going to touch a club too much and going to be training pretty hard and getting myself up to hopefully around 245, something like that, in weight. Be the first time I’ve ever done that, so I’m going to be consuming a lot and see and working out a lot and see what we can do from there.”
Loads of equipment will arrive at his home and he’ll do plenty of testing as he bulks up and tries to dial up swing and ball speed. Among the new clubs will be various drivers featuring a 48-inch shaft – about 2.5 inches longer than standard length. The extra length could produce even more eye-popping numbers than the ones he’s produced since golf returned from the COVID-19 break. In the Shriners, for instance, he hit 43 tee shots past the 300-yard mark – some with 3-woods and hybrids – with 18 exceeding 350 yards.
“From a speed training perspective I could probably (hit) upwards of over a thousand drives the next four weeks trying to get my speed up,” he said. “It takes around 100, 130 to have a good speed training session.
“The advantages I usually have could be much improved upon with the equipment. We don’t have it yet, but we’re diligently working on it behind the scenes. We’ll prototype and test it and see if it works, if it doesn’t we’ll go back and tool it and hopefully have it ready for Augusta.”
DeChambeau said he will make a reconnaissance trip to Augusta during his time away from the PGA Tour. He said he doesn’t need to play tournament golf to keep his game sharp. The 13-week break due to COVID-19 proved that. He rarely played a round of golf, instead spending his time bulking up and dialing up his speed at his home and the home of Chris Como, his swing coach, who turned his living room into a laboratory of sorts.
“I felt like I came back really well not playing any golf,” said DeChambeau, who reeled off four consecutive top-10s when golf returned in June, including a victory in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “I feel like my game is good enough right now to do that. I don’t feel like there is going to be a problem coming back.”
And he has no problem dealing with all the noise that has come his way since he added nearly 50 pounds of mass and started dropping jaws with his length.
“All I’m trying to do in this game is play my best golf, and as a consequence of that, I’ve figured out how to hit it a little bit further and hitting it a little straighter with how far I’m hitting it, for the most part,” DeChambeau said. “With my one-length irons, I was always trying to do something that would be a benefit to the game. And hitting it far, I think everybody can do it if they really want to.
“I just want to hopefully inspire people to do better things in life. Not even just golf. Just something in their business life if they want to figure out a distinct advantage that makes they can better. Go for it.”