Bryson DeChambeau intent on bringing his power game to bear on the links

‘I hope I can hit it far enough to where I can wedge it out still on to the green’

Bryson DeChambeau plays from the rough on the 18th hole during a practice round ahead of the British Open at Royal St George’s. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau plays from the rough on the 18th hole during a practice round ahead of the British Open at Royal St George’s. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images

 

“Brutal,” he said.

“Diabolical,” he added.

Bryson DeChambeau wasn’t mincing his words when assessing the potential for hurt for any waywardness off the tee around Royal St George’s for this 149th Open Championship, his use of language reserved for the rough he’d encountered off the 15th fairway as a case in point of how penal it could be.

Yet, such words to assess the rough contrasted sharply with his response to a question about why he doesn’t appear inclined to shout “Fore!” for any errant tee shots; or, indeed, as it appeared during his play of the 13th hole at last month’s US Open at Torrey Pines where he played into the gallery and bent to pick up his tee peg rather than shout a warning.

Indeed, a suggestion that he was in the wrong clearly irked him: “I do shout fore. I don’t know what you’re talking about. There are plenty of people on the tee box that do shout fore. You’re bringing up a very controversial thing, which is unfortunate, but 99 per cent of the time I do, and unfortunately people think I don’t. But that’s okay, they can say whatever they want.”

DeChambeau’s reaction would indicate that his skin is not quite so thick after all, a little thinner perhaps. Still, in knocking about with Phil Mickelson in the practice round, the 2020 US Open champion professed to have “a great time” in formulating his strategic plan in how to conquer the Sandwich links.

And, again, his strategy is likely to entail brute force – with driver rather than conservative irons – in play: “There’s a certain amount of holes that you can go after it, and there’s a couple that you can’t. If you hit it in the rough, in the hay, it’s not easy to get out of. I hope I can hit it far enough to where I can wedge it out still on to the green if I get good enough lies.”

He added: “This is the first time I’ve taken my length to links golf. We’ll see how that plays. Maybe it plays out this week; maybe it doesn’t. I’ll keep trying to figure it out. I look at Tiger [Woods] and what he did back in the early-2000s, hitting 7- and 8-irons off every tee. That’s an interesting thought process that may come into play here soon, but there’s too many places out here where covering some of those bunkers is a huge advantage no matter what, so that’s kind of the game plan I’m going to take as of right now.

“The key is driving it in the fairway this week. No matter what, you’ve got to be in the fairway. If I get it in there more times than not, into the hay, I’m probably not going to have a good chance this week. So, you’ve got to make sure the driver is well.”

For the player with the moniker of The Scientist, who has a new caddie on his bag this week in Brian Ziegler, previous Open appearances have promised more than they have delivered. In fact, two missed cuts and a tied-51st from three appearances would suggest that the links have outsmarted him.

“It’s certainly throwing him in at the deep end,” agreed DeChambeau of starting a new working relationship with a first-time caddie at The Open. Hardly rocket science, for sure; but, clearly, a risk worth taking in DeChambeau’s own mind if he is to work out a way to make his power game work on the links.

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