AUGUSTA, Ga. – Bryson DeChambeau will bring the noise.
The big bruiser from Texas will shatter the silence that has blanketed the majestic arena that is Augusta National Golf Club for this week’s patron-less Masters. The reigning U.S. Open champion did just that Monday on a windswept, quiet day during a practice round with defending champion Tiger Woods, 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples and 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas.
A gathering of those four would have produced thunderous roars if patrons had been lining the emerald fairways. Instead, without straining, the few lucky souls allowed on the grounds – media members, players’ significant others, a few marshals – could listen in on the four exchange jokes, give each other the needle, talk about equipment, discuss various chip shots and putting lines.
And hear DeChambeau crank up the volume with his driver.
“It’s been fun taking some unique lines, for sure,” DeChambeau said after playing the back nine. “I’ve had to relearn the golf course. There are just so many holes that play so differently for me.”
Which isn’t surprising, since the man has added slightly more than 50 pounds of mass to his already large frame the past 13 months. Last season he led the PGA Tour in driving distance at 322.1 yards and this season is averaging 344.4.
Recently, DeChambeau, 27, who is still inhaling more than 5,000 calories per day and crushing six to seven protein shakes per day, crashed the 400-yard barrier for the first time. A photo posted to his Instagram story of his FlightScope X3 launch monitor screen revealed a ball carry of 403.1 yards and a ball speed of 211 mph he uncorked during speed drills.
He’s crushing it at Augusta National, too.
“(Hitting) pitching wedge into 13 today, which was kind of fun,” he smiled. “I asked Tiger what he hit into 11 back in 1997 and he said pitching wedge and I hit the same thing today.”
Yes, pitching wedge into the green at the 505-yard par-4 11th. On 13, he hit it over the trees with draw and had 150 yards in on the 510-yard par 5. He also hit pitching wedge at the par-3 12th from 160 yards. At the 440-yard uphill par-4 14th, he had 130 yards in – another pitching wedge. At the 530-yard par-5 15th, he hit a 7-iron from 185. At the 440-yard uphill 17th, he hit 8-iron into the green. At 18, he blew his tee shot over the two bunkers on the left side of the fairway and had but a 7-iron to the green.
And he’s still not completely dialed in.
The winner of seven PGA Tour titles (two in 2020), who is ranked No. 6 in the world and has tied for fourth in the PGA Championship and won the U.S. Open by six shots in his past two majors, said he’s spinning the ball too much with the driver he has in the bag right now.
It’s got a 45½-inch shaft with 3.5-degrees of loft, but DeChambeau said he has time to keep on tinkering before Thursday’s first round. On one hand, while he’s losing distance because the ball is spinning too much, he is hitting the driver straight. He said he’d likely go to a 4.5-degree face, too.
As for using a 48-inch shaft, that seems unlikely this week.
“This is the final push to see if it works, and if not, there’s always the next Masters, there’s always other tournaments where I can use it,” he said. “Not every rabbit hole I go down works. The nice part is I’ve become really good learning to pull myself out of those rabbit holes.
“I will not use it until it’s right.”
And DeChambeau isn’t all drive for show.
“Length is great, guys, but it’s still about wedging and putting around here,” said DeChambeau, who tied for 21st as the low amateur in 2016, tied for 38th in 2018 and tied for 29th in 2019 in his three Masters starts. “I’m getting comfortable with my putting and I’ll keep working on my wedges. I like how I’m wedging it right now. I’ll just keep working on it.”
And keep bringing the noise.