Bryson DeChambeau has dropped a heavy hint that he will put his much-vaunted 48-inch driver into play during this week’s Masters Tournament.
Since winning the US Open in September, the big-hitting 27-year-old has been testing the longest shafts allowed by the rules of golf in a bid to hit the ball even further.
He says he is now on “the third or fourth” iteration of the 48-inch shaft – around three inches longer than his regular driver shaft – and says this is “the most promising one yet”.
“I can tell you I’m hitting it further now than I was at the US Open,” said DeChambeau, “and I’m trying a driver this week that may help me hit it even a little bit further, so we’ll see. I don’t know. Still up in the air.”
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Pressed for more information on his 48-inch driver, he added that he has picked up an extra four to five miles per hour in terms of ball speed with the latest version of the shaft. He was swinging it around 144mph on the range yesterday but, crucially, has kept his dispersion largely the same whilst bringing his spin rate down.
“It looks really promising right now. I did not expect it to work yesterday. I was like, this is going to take even more time, but it did work yesterday, and I’m not 100% sure if I’ll put it in play yet just because of the unknown. It’s so close to the Masters. But if it is an improvement on every facet of launch conditions, then I don’t see why not.”
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DeChambeau also expanded on the clubs and distances he has had for his second shots on some of the key holes on the course during practice.
On the first hole, for example, he’s leaving himself little more than a 60 or 70-yard pitch. He’s hitting 7-iron on the par-5 second, 8-iron – into the wind – on the par-X fifth and 6-iron on the par-5 eighth.
On the back nine, he has had “at worst” a 9-iron into the tenth, a pitching wedge into both 11 and 13, an 8-iron into the 15th and 17th, and just 110 yards into 18 after clearing the bunkers off the tee.
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On 13, specifically, he says that the absence of patrons this week should also play into his hands as he intends to hit the ball into areas where they would likely have been standing.
All very impressive but, by his own admission, completely meaningless if he doesn’t capitalise on the tremendous advantage his length is offering him.
“I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping out here,” added the world No.6. “That is one of the things that I think people sometimes struggle to see. As much as I can gain an advantage off the tee, I still have to putt it well and chip it well and wedge it well and even iron play it well.
“That’s what I did at the US Open. If I don’t putt it well at the [US] Open, if I don’t wedge it well, if I don’t hit my irons close, I don’t win that tournament.”
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The bookmakers’ favourite to win the Green Jacket, DeChambeau admits that he expects there will be some kind of reaction if he overpowers Augusta National.
However, he insists he’s not going to let that bother him.
“I’m sure people would react to it,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I’m only going to play under the rules of gol, and I will all try and do my best to play under those rules in the best way possible.
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