It is often said that Bryson DeChambeau is playing a different game to the rest of the golfing world and that will be more stark than ever when he competes at the Masters this week. The biggest hitter in the game’s history has set himself a course par of 67 – five shots beneath the official scorecard’s 72 – as he seeks to tear up Augusta National and win a maiden Green Jacket.
DeChambeau has been in menacing form during practise, crushing drives close to 400 yards to leave himself shorter approach shots than anyone ever has before on the famous course’s four par-fives. If he makes birdie on those four holes then the fifth shot he has knocked off the scorecard to reach his 67 target is presumably at the shortest par-four, the 350-yard third hole which he flew with a three-wood earlier this week.
“I’m looking at it as a par 67 for me because I can reach all the par-fives in two, no problem,” DeChambeau said. “If the conditions stay the way they are, that’s what I feel like par is for me.
“That’s not me being big-headed. I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping out here. That is one of the things I think people sometimes struggle to see. As much as I can gain an advantage off the tee, I still have to putt it well and chip it well and wedge it well, and that’s what I did at the US Open.”
DeChambeau has never finished in the top 20 at Augusta, a course which demands far more skill than simply bludgeoning your way round, but he has also never arrived in such scintillating form, having dominated at Winged Foot to win his first major by six shots.
The 27-year-old American is the favourite among the bookies, but his brash style means he is not always a favourite among the patrons, although they will be absent this year of course. He is enjoying the spotlight nonetheless and says he will be “gracious” should he suffer defeat.
“The attention I’ve gained has been awesome – I love it,” DeChambeau said. “I’m going to give it my all here. If I don’t play well, I miss the cut, I’m going to be gracious and walk off and go, ‘you know what, I’ve still had a great year’, and try to come back better next year.”
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