Bryson DeChambeau says ‘Happy Gilmore’ inspired his distance
LAS VEGAS – We’re going to need a bigger range.
Brawny Bryson DeChambeau is shaking up the golf world by knocking the cover off the ball since adding 40 pounds of mass to his already large frame and increasing his ball and clubhead speeds to ridiculous levels. Regularly cranking out drives in excess of 400 yards, DeChambeau has many in golf’s circles wondering if there’s a golf course that can contain him.
Well, in addition to possibly forcing golf clubs to Bryson proof their courses by adding hundreds of yards of length, DeChambeau might move the same clubs to make their driving ranges bigger.
On Tuesday afternoon at TPC Summerlin, home to this week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, DeChambeau was clearing the fence at the back of the range nearly 360 yards away. And he wasn’t swinging full-bore. He put a dent in one car and forced officials to ask him to move back on the range. So he moved 40 yards back – nearly off the range completely – to be safe.
In a city known for its headliners, DeChambeau, 27, might be the biggest name on the marquee this week. He’s playing for the first time since he bludgeoned venerable and rugged Winged Foot to win the U.S. Open by six shots. He’s the clear cut favorite. Won here in 2018. And he thinks he can drive multiple par-4s.
“I would say four holes out here that I think I can go for,” DeChambeau said Wednesday before the pro-am.
With his power, the No. 6-ranked player in the world with seven PGA Tour titles can turn the 7,255-yard course playing to a par of 71 into a putt-putt by hitting it longer than anybody and higher than anybody. He’ll easily reach the three par-5s in two – likely with short irons. In the pro-am, he didn’t hit more than a 7-iron into the three par-5s on his second shot. He also hit his drive on the par-5 13th 421 yards.
“There will be holes where I’m going to try and drive them, get it up as close to the green as possible,” said DeChambeau, who led the PGA Tour in driving distance last season at 322.1 yards a pop. “It’s just fun having a 7-iron go 220. That’s unique. And 4-iron, 265. There will be holes where I had to hit 3-wood and now I’m hitting 4-iron off the tees.
“Kind of like I would say Atlanta (for The Tour Championship) a little bit where I was hitting 3-woods in the past and now hitting 4-irons off the tee, and just hitting it as far as everybody else.”
And he’s working as hard as he can to get even longer, inspired by another bomber who shook up the golf world and blasted golf courses into submission.
“I watched ‘Happy Gilmore’ a little while ago and just re-inspired me to try and hit it as far as possible,” said DeChambeau, who is even bigger now since he left Winged Foot. Eight pounds bigger.
That means possibly introducing a 48-inch driver shaft – 2.5 inches longer than standard length. He’s been working with the longer clubs since the U.S. Open but said he won’t put it in play until possibly the Masters in November.
“I’m looking forward to trying to put in a 48-inch driver and see what that can do to the golf course and what opportunities it will present for me,” he said. “It’s going well. I think there is a lot of, I don’t know, I guess you could say advantages to having a 48-inch driver and being able to put it in play and keep it in play.
“Still need to get some things worked out, but so far it’s been pretty amazing. There are speed improvements, speed gains, and it’s exciting. It really is something crazy that I never thought was even possible. The numbers that it’s producing are staggering, way more than what I’m doing right now.”
And while everyone knows DeChambeau can certainly drive for show, his eye-opening length isn’t the only part of his act.
“People forget how good of a putter he is,” Shriners defending champion Kevin Na said. “People don’t give him enough credit for how good of a putter he is and how good he reads the greens.
“You can’t win golf tournaments without making putts. You got to realize that this guy makes a lot of putts. Not only does he hit bombs, he makes bombs.”
DeChambeau knows this all too well and will keep working on not only getting longer but getting better in every aspect of his game.
“At the same point in time it’s about putting, chipping, wedging,” he said. “You still got to do everything else really well. So if I play well, ball strike it well, and putt well, I think I’ll have a good chance again.
“Love this golf course.”
And he has affection for Augusta National. After this week, DeChambeau won’t play again until after he rolls down Magnolia Lane for the November Masters. He said he’ll use the four-week break to add another “boost,” meaning he’ll likely add a few more pounds and a few more miles of speed as he works to get bigger, faster and stronger.
“It’ll mainly be me being home testing shafts and driver heads trying to find the exact right combo for this 48-inch driver,” he said. “So if I can get it dialed in and get the miss-hits working correctly, I feel like I can easily put that in play at Augusta. It’s a golf course I can definitely put that in play.
“Every other day I’ll do like a speed training sessions trying to get my swing speed, at least with a 48-inch driver up to 200 on average.
“That’ll be the goal.”