And now for his next trick. Any notion of Bryson DeChambeau toning down his approach to Augusta National will be dismissed within one Masters shot. DeChambeau used pre-tournament media duties to deliver his unique plans for the 1st: the US Open champion intends to blast his drive over the trees protecting the right side, thereby leaving just a flick to a hole which is 445 yards long. The beast is not for taming.
“I’m trying to see how far right I can go,” DeChambeau explained. “For the most part, that is the line. Just being comfortable off the 1st tee is a huge thing. If I can be comfortable, get my round started right and in a good direction and feel comfortable with the driver and everything, that’s kind of what sets me up for the rest of the round.”
You could almost feel the green jackets quiver. DeChambeau continued on the same theme; on how it could be possible to drive the par-four 3rd plus the potential for him to batter the tricky 5th, 9th and 11th into submission. It must be noted, though, that DeChambeau isn’t delusional. “I can give myself the most advantages all day long,” he said. “But if I don’t go out there and just execute, it doesn’t really mean much.”
DeChambeau hinted he will have a new driver in play for the first major of 2021. Speculation has suggested the loft on that could be as low as five degrees. “There’s something in the bag this week that’s very helpful,” he said. “I won’t go into specifics of it. But just know this has been a few years in the making and I’m very excited for it. Whether it helps me perform at a higher level, I’m not sure, because it’s golf and you never know what happens. Definitely from what I’ve seen on the driving range and the last week in practice, there’s some tremendous benefits to it.
“I’m still going down numerous rabbit holes and I will never stop, not only to win golf tournaments but to definitely win this tournament. This has been on my radar since I was a kid and now that I’ve accomplished winning the US Open, this is the next goal for me.”
Whether he realises that ambition on Sunday or not, DeChambeau is a continual source of fascination. His last Masters tilt, in November, was undermined by health problems which he says were subsequently traced to oxygen issues. DeChambeau “believes it to be the case” that his power plays should bear fruit at Augusta.
“There are certain holes out here where length does help tremendously,” he added. “As you look at it from a statistical point of view, there is a lot of advantages to be had with length for me.
“Length is only as good as you can hit your next shot, is what I always say. 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 the four-footer you’re trying to make for par.”
Rory McIlroy’s admission that he tried to emulate DeChambeau’s style turned heads. Partly, that is, because the Northern Irishman has encountered technical struggles on account of such tinkering. DeChambeau has never claimed that others must copy him but is clearly flattered by McIlroy’s attempt.
“I knew there was going to be people trying it,” DeChambeau said. “I didn’t know who was going to try it. But it’s not an easy task. You have to have four or five things go right in order for you to accomplish hitting it farther and hitting it straighter and implementing it on the course in a tournament round.
“From my perspective, I wasn’t trying to change anybody else’s game. I was just trying to play the best golf I could. I knew there would be people there to be influenced. I didn’t think it would be Rory. I think he’s a pretty smart, talented individual that knows how to play the game potentially better than me. It’s humbling hearing him say it’s a difficult task.”
DeChambeau will spend rounds one and two of the 85th Masters in the company of Adam Scott and Max Homa. McIlroy has been drawn alongside Xander Schauffele and Jon Rahm. Lee Westwood’s reward for some superb recent form is a place alongside Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, and the winner of the US Amateur Championship, Tyler Strafaci.