AFP
3 minute read
20 May 2021
10:32 am

DeChambeau dials back on distance at windy Kiawah Island

AFP

"It's going to be somebody that has a lot of patience and resolve to fight back when things aren't going well," the big-hitter said about this week's test at Kiawah Island.

Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau played together in a practice round ahead of the PGA Championship that tees off on Thursday. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Reigning US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau is cutting back his distance above all approach at this week’s PGA Championship, a nod to the treacherous winds of Kiawah Island.

DeChambeau, who bulked up his body and tweaked his equipment to maximize distance above all else, realises that approach won’t work in such wind.

“In regards to the golf course and the wind, this is the most difficult test that I’ve been on since transforming my body,” DeChambeau said Wednesday. “It’s just to control it a little bit better. You can’t let it loose out here.”

He also realises that distance isn’t going to improve other elements of his game no matter how great an advantage it can produce.

“There are times where I recognise I can swing it softer and I have ball speeds that are way faster than everybody out here and that’s cool and comforting to have,” he said.

“But you’ve still got to make putts, you’ve still got to wedge it close and everything, and the difficulty is you can get all this distance but it doesn’t mean you’re going to play better.”

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DeChambeau says he still wants to boost swing speed and add length, but he’s finding physical limits to what he can achieve.

“I’m still trying to gain speed. It’s not like I’m not. It’s just I’m trying to find more efficient ways to do it,” he said.

“A lot of it is I’ve reached a physical limitation that I don’t know how to get past yet. I’m getting stronger. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, but it doesn’t produce swing speed, which is really interesting.

“May just be a timing thing. May also be I’ve played a lot of golf, not gotten enough rest.”

DeChambeau, a player who relies on data for many decisions in a round, has been forced to make his best guesses thanks to Kiawah’s winds.

“A lot of it is going to be dependent on luck this week,” he said. “It’s going to be somebody that has a lot of patience and resolve to fight back when things aren’t going well.

“I would say it’s more of a mental test than a physical test because we all are great golfers and we know how to swing the golf club, but it’s more about the mental fortitude that you have, and for some reason I do pretty well in these types of environments. It brings out the best in me.”

DeChambeau touched upon Super League Golf, the upstart group trying to lure away PGA talent with big-money offers. He said he would wait and see what others did before picking sides.

“I will never be anybody that goes first in something like that,” he said. “At this point in time, it just doesn’t seem like there’s enough players.”