The images immediately went around the world. Golfer Bryson DeChambeau hit the ball over a huge water hazard on the green a month ago during the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a stroke of 338 meters. The 27-year-old American nicknamed The Scientist would also win the tournament.
DeChambeau appears to be revolutionizing golf with his power and club speed built up through weight shifting through his hip twist and the strength of his arms. This aspect is becoming increasingly important.
Thursday The Masters starts on the golf course of the Augusta National, the annual battle for the green jacket. DeChambeau is one of the absolute favorites, although he never made the top 10 in previous editions. Last year he did win the US Open, his first major. And ever since, he has been the talk of the town golfing world, along with Tiger Woods, the chunky pilot who is recovering from his injuries after a car crash near Los Angeles.
Everyone is mainly fixated on the weight of De Chambeau. The American gained 20 kilos last year, not only by gaining more muscle mass in the weight room, but mainly by eating more, about 5,000 calories a day. His midsize golf shirts had to make way for extra large.
The 1.85 meter long DeChambeau then weighed 109 kilos. But it was not ballast. He managed to convert that weight into a faster swing. By the time the club head hit the ball, the speed had increased to 214 kilometers per hour. That is almost 30 kilometers more than what other top golfers achieve.
These other players are now convinced that they must keep up with that trend. Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irishman who won all majors except The Masters, was one of the longhitters before DeChambeau’s rise. In 2017 and 2018, he hit the furthest of all players overall. But when he saw that his balls were 20 meters further in a head-to-head duel with DeChambeau, he also decided to increase his club speed. “I started training specifically for that and I would be lying to say it had nothing to do with DeChambeau’s success.”
He has been able to increase his club speed by almost 5 kilometers per hour. “And it helps,” said the Northern Irishman, who has not won a major in seven years. Dustin Johnson, the current number one in the world, is also increasing his club speed.
DeChambeau is an outsider anyway. From childhood he approaches golf with scientific precision. While in the competition the length of the irons increases with the required length of the strokes, all his irons have only one length: that of the iron 7.
Dutchman Joost Luiten, who has dropped to number 184 in the world rankings and is no longer eligible for participation in the majors, recently said that golf is increasingly becoming a power game. ‘Nowadays, when a young talent with tour bities asks me for a tip, I say: make sure you can hit the ball at least 280 meters. Distance is not everything, but you have a great advantage if you go far. ‘ Ten years ago it was thought that someone weighing 110 kilos would not be athletic enough to hit the ball not only far but also accurately and with sufficient feeling. But DeChambeau belies that thought.
From Thursday, DeChambeau will be able to fire its missiles between the blooming rhododendrons and azaleas of the Augusta National. It is certainly not a guarantee of profit. At the previous Masters, which could only be held in the autumn due to corona, he finished disappointingly in 34th place after some horrific rejections. Later he turned out to have problems with dizziness and an inflammation of the stomach. A long tour of doctors followed, but in the end nothing could be found. He did lose five kilos of weight. Breathing exercises and a different sleep schedule had to provide the solution.
“I will continue my quest for knowledge of the game, knowledge of the body, knowledge of the golf swing to give myself the best chance of winning,” he said on Tuesday before The Masters. His new weapon is a 5.5-degree lofted Cobra driver, which should enable him to hit even further. The angle of inclination of the club face has been specially adjusted for him to 4.5 degrees, including a thickening of the club face, the part that hits the ball.