We’re in an age of hard-hitting, long-driving golf. So often the golfers who now take the spoils of the game’s biggest events are those who can crank one 300 yards down the fairway without even breaking sweat. The latest exponent of this art (if art is the right word) is Bryson DeChambeau. The American – nicknamed ‘The Scientist’ due to the way he tinkers with his game – deliberately gained large amounts of weight in order to increase his driving power and length.
The results of this were clear for all to see at Winged Foot in September; DeChambeau bullying a difficult course to win the US Open. He was also the only player to record an under-par final score. It’s justification for a method that many of his fellow players had scoffed at; DeChambeau proving how the technical side of golf can be analysed and improved upon to yield results.
Can Koepka benefit from Bryson DeChambeau’s methods?
It’s easy to see why Bryson DeChambeau wanted to build up his drive speed. One of the reasons was undoubtedly the success of Brooks Koepka. For several seasons, he had to look on and watch Koepka thunder the ball down the fairway; picking up title after title in the process. DeChambeau found himself in a rut, while Koepka hit the top of his game.
Now the roles are reversed. It’s Koepka who finds himself out of form and forced to watch on as DeChambeau steals the trophies – and the headlines. The latter will be the favourite on betting exchange sites for the upcoming Masters. But Koepka’s goal will be to dethrone golf’s new king and take that status back for himself.
Koepka will be unhappy with his form and jealous of DeChambeau’s newfound glory. But the nature of the 27-year-old’s success at the US Open might just give him confidence. After all, Koepka’s game is already very similar to that of DeChambeau. Instead of bulking up to achieve such length on his drives, however, Koepka is blessed with natural raw power. It’s the reason why he has four major titles to his name; becoming a master of sending the ball down the fairway and making birdies left, right and centre as a result.
The problem for Koepka is that his form deserted him somewhat in 2020. Injuries played a part; the American struggling to find the level that saw him win the PGA Championship and US Open twice each. But they say that form is temporary and class is permanent. And you can bet that Koepka will be confident that he can hit top form once again.
What awaits us at the Masters?
The Masters offers a great chance to kick-start his return to the top. Koepka has never won the Augusta National event. But conditions this year may suit him. With the tournament taking place in the autumn rather than the spring, conditions are likely to be heavier than usual. This means that long, decisive drives could be the order of the day. As the last major of the year, Koepka will be doubly motivated to earn that maiden Masters title.
Both Koepka and DeChambeau now play similar games; a style very much in keeping with the modern ways of professional golf. It’s not a style welcomed by everyone linked with golf. Many feel increased driving lengths are spoiling the game. But it is a hugely effective way to do well in big events. And it’ll be fascinating to see which of Bryson DeChambeau or Brooks Koepka can master Augusta next week.