Validated DeChambeau exploring more after US Open

The 27-year-old American defied conventional wisdom in the way he won his 1st major title, blasting drives to record lengths

NEW YORK • Bryson DeChambeau has only just started experimenting with golf after his scientific approach was validated with a US Open victory on Sunday at Winged Foot.

The 27-year-old American defied conventional wisdom in the way he won his first major title, blasting drives to record lengths and relying on wedges and putting skills to reduce the fear of escaping dense rough.

“I kept telling everybody it’s an advantage to hit it farther,” said Dechambeau. “It was a tremendous advantage this week.

“As difficult as this golf course was presented, I played it beautifully. Even through the rough, I was still able to manage my game and hit it to correct sides of the greens and kept plugging away.

“My putting was immaculate. My speed control, incredible. You see me out there on the greens with the device trying to control my speed. So many times I relied on science and it worked every single time.”

It’s no wonder, then, that DeChambeau is already working on more wonders ahead of the Masters in November.

“I’m not going to stop,” he said. “Next week, I’m going to be trying a 48-inch driver. We’re going to be messing with some head designs and do some amazing things with Cobra to make it feasible to hit these drives maybe 360, 370, maybe even farther. I don’t know.

“I’m just trying to figure out this very complex, multivariable game and multidimensional game as well. It’s very difficult.”

DeChambeau’s 325 yards (297.2m) off the tee set a record for any US Open champion even though he found only 23 of 56 fairways over four rounds. He was also the only player without an over-par round.

“It’s a lot of validation through science,” DeChambeau said. “It definitely is validating, I’m able to execute time and time again and have it be good enough to win an Open.

“It’s about the journey. Can I execute every shot more repeatedly than everybody else? I was able to do it this week. That’s why I won by six.” DeChambeau hopes he is inspiring a new generation of golfers the same way Tiger Woods sent golfers to the gym for better fitness after his 1997 Masters triumph.

“I’m definitely changing the way people think about the game,” said DeChambeau. “Whether you can do it, that’s a whole different situation.

“I hope I can inspire some people to say there’s a different way to do it. Not everybody has to do it my way. Hopefully, my way inspires people.”

Combating DeChambeau could be tough. Squeeze fairways thinner and his distance becomes a bigger edge with more people in the deep grass. Make them wider and length is an even greater advantage.

“I felt super comfortable out of the rough no matter the situation,” said DeChambeau.

One key area that has helped DeChambeau — in addition to the exercise and protein shakes to bulk up muscle mass — is his skill with the putter.

“The putting has gradually improved over the course of my career. I was dead last when I came out on tour,” he said.

Science, again, came to his rescue.

“(It) helped me understand how a ball needs to roll in order to give me the best chance to hole a putt,” he said.

“Over the course of these four years, every year I’ve gotten a little bit better. I’ve gotten in the top 10 now. I don’t know how much better I can get, but I’m going to keep trying every single week.” — AFP