When he was an up-and-comer on the PGA Tour, Bryson DeChambeau was always tweaking his game and pushing normal boundaries.
He took a different approach than most. For example, all of his irons were the same length, an uncommon practice. He utilized physics equations and analytics on his way to eight wins and a 2020 U.S. Open title. And he finally pinpointed one tangible advantage over the competition: elite distance.
Vowing to go above and beyond to add distance off the tee, DeChambeau separated himself from shorter hitters and gave himself that much more of a competitive advantage over the field. He drastically altered his diet and workout routines, bulking up and adding around 40 pounds, and it paid off as he became the longest driver on the PGA Tour in 2020.
Bryson hypothesized that these physical changes would translate to increased yardage on the course and in this case, it turns out he was right.
On Saturday, Bryson took it down to the wire in the Professional Long Drive Association World Championships in Mesquite, Nevada.
Ultimately, he came up 20 yards short in the finals with his longest eligible drive settling at 406 yards, but it was nearly an upset for the ages.
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DeChambeau coasted through the Open Division of 128 contestants, as well as the round-robin portion against the top 32.
Eventually, Martin Borgmeier of Germany hoisted the championship belt after a drive of 426 yards to hold off DeChambeau. It’s a remarkable effort by Bryson after starting out as more of a side project, mostly secondary to his respective tour commitment.
“There is one very, very important thing, and all of you guys know,” Borgmeier said. “I would not be here, none of us would be here with the improvements in technology, if one guy wouldn’t have come in a year ago to make the sport what it is right now. And I think he’s on a very good track to come back. And that guy is Bryson DeChambeau.
“He also came in second! What is going on! That guy is a professional golfer and he’s putting up these ball speed numbers. He lights it up in the final, hitting 400 plus! No one has ever done that before! People don’t realize how crazy that is!”
This wasn’t Bryson’s first appearance in the increasingly popular PLDA event, an exciting byproduct of professional golf with vicious ball speeds and contorting backswings.
Following the Ryder Cup last year, he unexpectedly entered the PLDA World Championships and held up very well against the competition, finishing in 7th place. With environments closer to a scene out of ‘Happy Gilmore’, Bryson seems to be fitting in and enjoying his time on the PLDA circuit.
It’s been an interesting year for Bryson, to say the least. After denouncing the LIV Tour in February, he had wrist surgery and joined shortly thereafter. In the months following his jump to the LIV Tour, Bryson lost sponsors, publicly slammed and sued his former employer, and is now in the midst of a countersuit from the PGA Tour.
Never one to miss an opportunity to flex, it seems he’s cut out for hitting it hard in front of a crowd.