In the weeks leading up to this year’s Masters, all of the talk was around Bryson DeChambeau and how his new found length was going to bring Augusta National to its knees.  In theory, his booming drives were going to allow him to drive greens that no one has ever seen before.  He was going to make this storied course look like a pitch and putt.  Masters week came and we were all prepared to be wowed by this new era of golf. 

Except then it didn’t. 

DeChambeau not only didn’t win the Masters and usher in the next golf savior, he barely made the cut.  Oh, and by the way, he also got beat by a 63-year-old man, Mr. Bernhard Langer.

How could this happen?  DeChambeau’s performance just shows that distance isn’t necessarily the end-all for golf success and performance.  Yes, it can give you an advantage in certain instances, but ultimately the other facets of the game, accuracy, short game, putting can make up for a lack of distance and then some.

In this instance, if we look at Bernhard Langer’s performance which is a feat to be admired.  The oldest player in history to make the cut at the Masters.  Langer has excelled his entire career at being a complete player from tee to green.  But, Langer’s story isn’t the only instance in history where a grizzled veteran has been able to best the younger up and coming talent. 

In 1967 Robert De Vincenzo defeated Jack Nicklaus in the Open Championship at the age of 44, quite the feat at the time considering Jack was the big bomber of the day.  Not to be bested in any aspect of golf, Jack famously won the Masters in 1986 at the age of 46, still a record to this day.  Langer managed to make the Masters cut at the age of 63 by focusing on other aspects of his game.

The point of all of this is that there is something we can all learn about how we approach the game.  We’re never going to hit the ball 400 yards but if we focus on the little things (chipping, putting, hitting fairways and greens) we can all be successful in our own way. That is one of the beautiful things about this game is we can all find our own version of success.  I recognize Bryson DeChambeau is going to have a long and successful career but we shouldn’t always be focused on driving distance as the only measure of what success can be in golf.  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m late for my Driver fitting.

Mike Ryan

Stick is a premier golfer with a 1.2 index and multiple victories of local tournaments that nobody cares about. He is the better half of the Stick/Hack duo but only on the course.