After Bryson DeChambeau’s magnificent U.S Open win at Winged Foot last weekend, everybody is talking about the future of golf, in particular whether the player’s methods will revolutionize the sport, or just give some players a new edge.
Where others feared the deep rough, DeChambeau favored distance and fired a three-under par 67 to win his first major title by six strokes. With this feat, he jumped from ninth to fifth in world rankings. “Revolutionize? Maybe he is just exposing our game,” young American Xander Schauffele said.
“If he keeps hitting it further and further, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to win many more U.S Opens”. “He’s sort of trending in the new direction of golf,” Schauffele continued.
“Everyone talked about hitting fairways. It’s not about hitting fairways. It’s about hitting on the correct side of the hole and hitting it far so you can kind of hit a wedge instead of a 6-iron out of the rough.
The only way to make a golf course really hard is to firm up the greens and grow the rough . . . You’d rather be the guy in the rough with a lob wedge than with an 8-iron”.
“He’s got full belief in what he’s doing.”
DeChambeau, whose nickname is “the mad scientists” recently adopted an interesting approach towards his golf game which includes a bulked-up body bolstered by protein shakes and intense exercise during the three-month coronavirus layoff.
It is proving to be a winning formula – drive long, wedge from the rough, sink your putts. “I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a U.S Open champion does,” admitted Rory McIlroy, four-time major winner, who shared eight after a closing 75 left him 12 adrift.
“He has found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know, but it’s just not the way I saw this tournament being played. It’s kind of hard to really wrap my head around it”.
With the new club and ball technology to advance distance, and with big muscles to propel them, DeChambeau has “taken advantage of where the game is at the minute. Whether that’s good or bad, it’s just the way it is,” said McIlroy.
McIlroy, who is hoping to complete a career Grand Slam at the Masters in November, says DeChambeau’s strategy could even work at Augusta National. “I don’t shudder, but if he can do it around here, and I’m thinking of Augusta and thinking of the way you sort of play there, yeah .
. . The game has moved on a lot in the last 14 years since the U.S open has been played there and you’re seeing what the game has become, what he’s doing out there”. Someone who prefers to settle for the old-fashioned fairways, is two-time major winner Zach Johnson.
“If he’s not hitting fairways, the short game has been very good and this place is not easy around the greens,” Johnson said. “The proper way? I don’t know, but it’s a way to play. And it’s not wrong at all. It’s just very different, but also very effective”.