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DeChambeau has grand plan to cut Masters course down to size

Bryson DeChambeau is golf’s newest litmus check, hammering drives that sound and soar like mortar fireplace and cut corners in methods golf-course designers and his fellow professionals by no means dreamed.

By the time the Masters ends Sunday, followers would possibly nonetheless be debating whether or not that’s good for the sport. Either means, although, actual property brokers might be thrilled.

DeChambeau, in simply his fifth season on tour, is on a mission to show that programs worldwide – even championship venues now routinely stretching virtually 7,800 yards – have run out of room. Last month, he overwhelmed a legendarily robust Winged Foot course and gained the U.S. Open by six strokes. This week, he plans to cut even-more commemorated Augusta National down to size.

“I’m just trying to get up there like I’m in a batter’s box swinging as hard as I can, trying to hit a home run,” DeChambeau defined this week. “I don’t know if there’s a better way to say it.”

The pandemic already assured a Masters in contrast to some other. There might be no followers – strike that, patrons – on the grounds, and pomp and circumstance have been diminished to a minimal. But DeChambeau took benefit of the day off to add bulk to his body and velocity to his swing; with a couple of tournaments underneath his belt, he’s far sufficient alongside in his quest to harness that added energy with growing effectiveness. That’s as well as to a championship-caliber quick recreation.

Earlier within the week, DeChambeau was out on the apply vary experimenting with a 48-inch-long driver – proper up in opposition to golf’s rulebook and almost two inches longer than most gamers use. The cart drivers who retrieve balls off the apply vary ended up plucking a few of these tee pictures from bushes in the back of the vary the place they usually solely discover de-ad leaves. That didn’t augur nicely for the competitors.

“It’s a substantially easier golf course for him than it is for everybody else,” stated Justin Thomas, an extended hitter himself who joined DeChambeau, defending champion Tiger Woods and former champ Fred Couples for a apply spherical. “I think once he starts messing with that longer driver and has a little bit more free time, then as crazy as it is, he might be able to hit it further.”

Golf has seen lengthy hitters earlier than, of course, and has a lot within the present ranks as nicely – Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy. Woods’ first Masters title in 1997 wrapped up at 18 underneath – nonetheless a report – and launched a course-expansion effort that was dubbed “Tiger-proofing.”

Half the holes at Augusta National have been lengthened in 2001. In subsequent years, timber have been added as sentinels to a handful of holes, a second cut of tough materialized and fairways have been narrowed. About 500 yards have been added all instructed.

In one memorable episode, the Masters match committee shelled out a number of million {dollars} to purchase a chunk of land in regards to the size of 4 parking areas from the nation membership subsequent door to transfer again the thirteenth tee. All that costly landscaping purchased the inexperienced jackets much less time than they imagined.

Nearly a decade in the past, Woods lastly conceded these modifications had narrowed his edge.

“I used to hit driver and iron to every par-5. That’s what Freddie (Couples) used to do. … And back when Jack (Nicklaus) played in his day, that’s what he used to do,” Woods recalled. “That’s not the case anymore.”

Except it’s, not less than in DeChambeau’s case. During his apply spherical with Woods, they started evaluating notes. At the 505-yard, par-4 eleventh, DeChambeau hit a pitching wedge and requested Woods, “What did you hit in ’97?”

Woods replied: pitching wedge.

“I’m like, ‘That’s cool, all right,’” DeChambeau stated.

Pushing again the match from April to November means much less daylight and sure decrease temperatures. Rain was forecast for the opening spherical. None of that has dampened spirits, nonetheless, even amongst these professionals who anticipate to watch the DeChambeau present from farther again within the fairway.

“If trophies were handed out just for how far you hit it and how much ball speed you have, then I’d be worried,” McIlroy stated. “But there’s still a lot of different aspects that you need to master in this game.”

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