After 19 months and one pandemic, the Masters at Augusta National is finally back. One player, in particular, has stolen the spotlight this week and shockingly, it’s not the most recent Masters champion, Tiger Woods. This week, all eyes are on the 6-foot-1, 240-pound, driver-crushing, protein-shake-drinking monster that is Bryson DeChambeau. 

Over the past year, DeChambeau has dedicated himself to achieving swing speeds and distance gains that are unheard of in golf by building muscle and mass and focusing on the science of the golf swing. He’s been known for his golf club tinkering ever since he began playing one-length irons, using a single plane swing, and even experimenting with side-saddle putting for some time. Most recently, his focus has been on the driver. 

DeChambeau led the tour last year in average driving distance at 322.1 yards, and he has been averaging a staggering 344.4 yards this season. During this week’s practice rounds, DeChambeau was hitting 350-yard drives with incredible accuracy, and if he’s able to achieve these numbers with any sort of accuracy this week, he’ll have a massive advantage over the field.

DeChambeau is even considering using the longest legal driver in golf at 48 inches. He claims that the 48-inch driver has allowed him to get up to 144 mph swing speeds and has decreased his spin rates significantly. According to launch monitor data, he recently recorded a drive with over 400 yards of carry — and that wasn’t even with the 48-inch driver. 

What to expect to see from DeChambeau

The combination of DeChambeau’s speed and distance gains with his recent U.S. Open win has made him the most intriguing player to watch going into Masters week, even though he’s only played in three previous Masters with his best finish being a T-21 (2016). 

Prior to the 2020 U.S. Open, which he won, his best finish in a previous U.S. Open was a T-15 (2016). That win was heavily attributed to his gains in driver distance since he was often able to pound it from the tee far enough to simply hit a wedge into the par fours, even when he missed the fairway.

With this playstyle, DeChambeau will be playing Augusta National in a completely different way than we’ve ever seen in the past by cutting corners on dog legs and having wedges into par fours. If he can keep it in the short stuff or even the rough, he will certainly be a threat all week.  

DeChambeau’s challenges at Augusta

The challenges for DeChambeau will stem from driving accuracy (52.68% driving accuracy: 203rd on PGA Tour this season) and putting (1.625 overall putting average: 174th on the PGA Tour). In order to win here, he needs to keep it out of the hazards and away from the towering pines so he can have a look into the greens. 

And of course, like any other tournament, he must putt well. Augusta National doesn’t allow players to use green-reading books, which will be a challenge for the science and statistic-based mind of DeChambeau, who once tried to use a protractor to read greens.

My Prediction

Is DeChambeau destined to turn Augusta National into a mini-golf course with monster drives, or is this an overhyped storyline? My prediction is that his driving accuracy could leave him out of position throughout his rounds, which would make it highly unlikely for him to go low enough to win but he has proven us all wrong over and over again. Why stop now?

Layne Gustafson

Layne Gustafson is a self-described golf fanatic from Green Bay, Wis. He’s been working in the golf industry since 2014, including at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits. He hovers between a single- and double-digit handicap is always working on improving.