Anyone involved in golf, whether you're an avid golf club member or a nomad, once-a-week golfer, will be aware of the transformation that Bryson Dechambeau has undergone over the past few months. While most of us have spent our mornings working out with Joe Wicks in our living rooms during the lockdown, DeChambeau has been crunching the numbers as only he can.
Ever since he burst on the scene, the 26 year old American has grabbed everyone's attention with his unique approach to the game we all love. In recent years, we've seen that as technology has advanced and and there is more information available to players, there is a lot of emphasis on knowing all the numbers related to both their golf game and their golf swing. Bryson, however, stood out by taking these numbers as far as possible.
He worked alongside his club manufacturer to develop a set of irons that all have shafts that are the same length, with the theory of keeping the golf swing exactly the same no matter what club is used. It doesn't seem to be something that caught on with the rest of the golfing world, which immediately makes you wonder if the numbers tell the whole truth - however, DeChambeau seems to have made it work, and it led him to 4 PGA Tour wins and an appearance at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris.
The worldwide pandemic and eventual cancellation of the PGA Tour during The Players at TPC Sawgrass meant a lot of time at home. Some players completely left the game alone and spent some valuable time with their families. Others worked on the basics and focused on staying safe and healthy. Bryson DeChambeau....he got his spreadsheets out. He wanted to work out how he could completely optimise his game and get as much of an advantage over everyone else as much as possible.
And his overall finding? The further you hit the ball the bigger advantage you have and the lower scores that should come with it.
This isn't the first time that a top golfer has done this. Tiger Woods dominated because his physical prowess simply made the game easier. In more recent times, there has been a shift in professional golfers enhancing their physique to better themselves, and this has shown in performances.....but DeChambeau has taken this even further.
He has turned himself into the golfing equivalent of the The Hulk.
He's eating like a bodybuilder, he looks like he should be entering into the world's strongest man, and he's hitting the golf ball further than anyone else on tour. After 4 weeks back on the PGA Tour of people questioning what he has done, he finally won his 5th PGA Tour event, in the process eclipsing a 15 year record held by Tiger Woods for the longest average measured driving distance on the course to winning.....with a staggering average of 350 yards.
Some people will say that he is ruining the game. There have already been calls for equipment restrictions to try and curb these obscene distances and prevent golf courses from having to keep on being extended further and further. Us mere mortals are beginning to suffer, so maybe restricting what the pros can do will make the game more realistic to the rest of us.
Mr. DeChambeau may not be the most popular guy on tour, whether that's with his fellow playing professionals or from people watching at home, but there's no denying what he's done has changed the game...for the time being.