Bryson DeChambeau could unveil new driver Thursday to open Masters
Bryson DeChambeau’s state of mind and overall good health are at tiptop levels following a battery of tests.
His confidence is unwavering.
And he has a new weapon in his golf bag.
“Definitely what I've seen on the driving range and what I've seen the last week in practice, there's some tremendous benefits to it,” DeChambeau said Tuesday at Augusta National.
What he’s been seeing will lead the reigning U.S. Open champion to more than likely go to the first tee on Thursday with a new driver – the latest version of Cobra’s Radspeed driver that hit the U.S. Golf Association’s conforming list earlier this week.
According to Cobra Tour rep Ben Schomin, it has a 5.5-degree face that DeChambeau will adjust to 4.5 degrees, which could provide the PGA Tour’s longest driver even more distance. DeChambeau already leads the Tour in driving distance (320.8 yards) and is No. 1 in strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained tee to green.
Photos: Tuesday at the Masters
The new driver, which DeChambeau and Cobra have been working on for several months, has a thicker face for durability – remember, DeChambeau cracked his 4-iron in the final round of The Players Championship on one swing – and a flatter toe radius which will help on mishits.
It is the latest result of another journey down a rabbit hole for DeChambeau in his search for victory. His workload intensified after he delivered a dud in the November Masters last year – the pre-tournament favorite who boasted his par at Augusta National was 67 faltered under the extreme spotlight and finished in a tie for 34th.
Since his Masters flop, DeChambeau won his eighth PGA Tour title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and tied for third in The Players Championship. He leads the PGA Tour with a 69.43 scoring average.
Now he gets his second crack at winning a green jacket since he transformed his physique.
“There are certain holes out here where length does help tremendously,” he said. “But you go up around those putting greens, and you just try to hit it into those areas of the green where the pins are, and it becomes very diabolical.
“Length is only as good as you can hit your next shot, is what I always say. And that's the most important thing about Augusta National, is it doesn't test just the driving. It tests your second shots, it tests the third shot, it tests making for your 4-footer you're trying to make for par.”
DeChambeau is confident he has his power dialed in, which is one reason most of his attention this week will be on the shorter same-length irons in his bag.
“I'm going to be focusing mainly on accomplishing how do I hit iron shots into greens to give myself the best chance to give myself the ability to make birdie,” he said. “There was a lot of times last year where I hit decent enough drives, but I just didn't feel like I was hitting shots in the correct quadrants of the greens or giving myself opportunities on par 5s like I should have.”
Bryson DeChambeau Masters Record
And DeChambeau doesn’t fear firmer and faster conditions Augusta National presents, compared to the soft and wet terrain in November. DeChambeau blasted the field at venerable Winged Foot in firm and fast conditions to win the U.S. Open in September. Bay Hill was very firm and fast when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, as was the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass when he contended in The Players.
“I think that plays into my hand nicely for what I'm comfortable with,” he said. “I know that hitting it as far as I am, having wedges into greens with firm greens, I'm going to be able to stop it on the greens a lot easier.”
Now, DeChambeau is focused on his swing and Augusta National instead of wondering about his health. In November, he dealt with bouts of dizziness and stomach inflammation.
After the Masters, he later determined the frontal lobe of his brain was working too hard during the Masters and in turn caused some of his symptoms. He visited multiple doctors and had infection checks, multiple CT scans, measurements of the blood vessels in his neck, ultrasounds on his heart, and ear, eye and sinus tests.
“You name it, we did it,” he said.
Nothing was found. Then he had his oxygen levels checked and “something was there,” he said. New breathing exercises and sleeping schedule were instituted. He also lost 10 pounds in light of his stomach inflammation.
“Ever since, I’ve been OK,” he said “Knock on-wood.”
No matter what happens, DeChambeau will continue going down rabbit holes.
“I will not stop my pursuit of knowledge of the game, knowledge of the body, knowledge of the golf swing to give myself the best opportunity to win,” he said. “That will never happen.”