Bryson DeChambeau unfazed by talk of limiting golf ball distance

Patrick Reed says he and Xander Schauffele are ‘all good’ after controversial ruling

Bryson DeChambeau in action during the pro-am event prior to the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau in action during the pro-am event prior to the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

 

Bryson DeChambeau says he has no plans to introduce a 48-inch driver to his bag despite declaring himself “flattered” at being the focus of the debate about setting a limit on the distance golf balls can be hit.

The US Open champion appeared completely at ease with the latest bulletin from golf’s ruling bodies when speaking from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

As part of lengthy consultation, the R&A and USGA this week issued equipment manufacturers with “topics of interest”. Among them is possibly restricting driver length to 46 inches as a local rule for “highly skilled players”. DeChambeau, already known for his power, floated the idea of using a 48-inch driver late last year.

“I welcome it as long as they don’t change the human element,” DeChambeau said. “I’m going to play with whatever they gave me. I’m not worried about it. I’m going to do what that they say is legal and I’ll just go from there and find the best way to play for me under the rules of golf.

“There’s no issues. It’s funny, I’m sure there’s a lot of excitement about me having a potentially controversial thought on it but I don’t. I think it’s a really cool thought process. It’s a little flattering in a sense, because I did talk about that 48-inch driver for so long. It just didn’t work for me the way I wanted it to.

“I’m still playing the 45-and-a-half-inch driver and it’s suiting me perfectly well. I’m not going to the 48.”

Equipment firms have been resistant to limitations on what they can produce. There has, though, been no comment from leading manufacturers on the new R&A and USGA missive.

DeChambeau smiled when the thought of his driving distance planting fear in the minds of golf’s administrators was floated. “I think I might be pushing them a little bit,” he added. “And I’m not really trying to push. I’m just trying to play my best golf and get the ball golf ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes possible in whatever way the rules allow me to do that. I think that I’m willing to try things that people are not okay with trying.

“So with that regard, when you go to the fringe limits of the rules, there will be conversations about it for sure. I’m okay with that, as long as I’m playing under the rules, which I will continue to do so. There’s never going to be an issue.”

DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are among the headline acts as the European Tour makes its now annual visit to Saudi Arabia. Reed was perhaps glad of a departure from the United States, given Sunday’s victory at the Farmers Insurance Open was overshadowed by a rules farrago. Xander Schauffele, the world No 4, claimed Reed is “protected” by the PGA Tour while adding he “would not put myself and create a situation like that”.

Reed said: “I’ve actually talked to Schauffele. Him and I talked earlier this week. I’m just going to leave it between him and I because, really, it’s one of those things that all you can do is try to do the right thing and from that point, move on.”

Reed added that Schauffele “texted me first” and that he expected no lingering bad feeling. The pair are likely to be Ryder Cup teammates later this year. “We’re good,” said Reed. “We’re all good.”

He was keen to emphasise that he operated entirely within official protocols at Torrey Pines, and received support from DeChambeau. “It’s unfortunate that things have happened that way for Patrick,” DeChambeau said. “He’s been a nice guy to me and I don’t have issues with him at all.

“Unfortunately there are just things that have happened in his life that hasn’t made it look great, but at the same point in time he’s just trying to play golf the best way he can under the rules of golf.” – Guardian

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