Bryson DeChambeau ready to grip it and rip it at Masters
Bryson DeChambeau had one eagle over 72 holes in last year’s Masters Tournament – and it came on a par-3 hole.
Expect that to change in the 84th Masters, where a bulked-up DeChambeau, now considered the longest hitter on the PGA Tour, plans to attack the par 5s at Augusta National, especially Nos. 13 and 15.
To add even more yardage off the tee, he plans to use a 48-inch driver in competition for the first time. He planned to work on that in the month he took off from competition before the Masters, he said. His last start was in Las Vegas on Oct. 11, where he tied for eighth with a closing 66.
“I'm looking forward to trying to put it (in play at Augusta National) and see what that can do for the golf course and what opportunities it will present for me,” DeChambeau said of the 48-inch driver, which is the longest length shaft allowed by the PGA Tour and rarely used.
“If you're in it past 320 (yards off the tee), I feel like there are a lot of opportunities to have a wider open fairway for me,” he said. “You look at No.13. That's the most exciting hole for me. If it's not into the wind, I feel like there is a tremendous advantage to be gained. Look at No. 15 even. That's going to be a tremendous advantage, 17, even 18. If I'm able to clear those bunkers (on the left side of the landing area) on the last, that would be pretty cool.”
In the 19 months since the 2019 Masters, DeChambeau has won twice, including the U.S. Open in September. He also tied for fourth in the PGA Championship in August, the other major played so far in 2020.
The 27-year-old, who has seven PGA Tour wins, was ranked sixth in the world in mid-October.
In late October, most betting services had placed him as the Masters favorite, ahead of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson. That’s unusual for a player who has never cracked the top 20 in his three previous Masters appearances (T21 in 2016, T38 in 2018 and T29 in 2019).
The new-look DeChambeau hopes to finish what he started in a 2019 Masters that seems so long ago. He shared the first-round lead with 66, but followed that with 75-73-70, nine shots behind winner Tiger Woods.
When last seen stalking the Augusta National fairways 18 months ago, DeChambeau weighed 195 pounds. He vowed after the 2019 season to come back looking like a different person, and he did, even before the three-month pandemic break started in mid-March. During that imposed time off, DeChambeau packed on even more pounds and was at 240 pounds when the tour resumed in early June. He’s also swinging harder to take advantage of his new upper body strength.
His goal one day, he has said, is to “get to 260 pounds and swing it upward of 210 mph and control the ball.”
At the 2019 Masters, DeChambeau finished 25th in driving distance at 299.25 yards per drive. As of Oct. 11, in his last event before the Masters, he led the tour at 344.4 yards per poke.
Though the 2019 Masters was disappointing to DeChambeau, he did leave with a smile after making his first-ever ace. on the 16th hole in the final round. DeChambeau had flirted with acing that hole in the first round, leaving his tee shot nine inches away. After the first round, he revealed he'd never made an ace.
"Finally. I mean you talked about it this week and here it was,” he said after the final round. “So I knew something was going to happen this week, I didn't know what it was going to be. Obviously shooting 66 the first round I thought it was going to be something even more special, but I was able to make a one, my first one."