Bryson DeChambeau still seeking a formula to tame Augusta National

When Bryson DeChambeau bullied Winged Foot Golf Club to win the 2020 US Open, many felt that it was the beginning of a special period in his career. The man known as ‘the Scientist’ for his formulaic approach to golf had suddenly cracked the code, or so it seemed.

DeChambeau had piled on weight to increase his driving speed, and it yielded results in testing conditions at Winged Foot that summer. He was able to counter the wind and rain with sheer power, and ended up being the only man to card an under-par final score.

It was no surprise then that he was tipped as the favourite for the 2020 Masters, which was taking place that autumn as a result of the pandemic. However, DeChambeau just didn’t get going at Augusta, ultimately finishing tied for 34th. Things got worse last year, as the American could only manage a tied-for-46th finish.  

Now, as the golf Masters 2022 approaches, it’s difficult to know what to expect from DeChambeau. His past results at the Masters make for grim reading, and for some reason he has just never been able to come up with a formula to bring his A-game to Augusta. This year, he’ll be doing everything he can to try and make up for the poor performances of the past.

DeChambeau has struggled with some niggling injuries so far this year, and that has prevented him from producing his best stuff. But if could prove that the time he has spent away from the golf course could lead to a fresher version of the big hitter turning up at the majors. The nature of the modern PGA Tour is such that tournaments come thick and fast, week-in, week-out, and it can be hard to find a moment to breathe. Having a slightly less hectic schedule could ultimately benefit him.

The fact that the golfing world seems to have returned to something like normality will also help players like DeChambeau feel more settled. There has been a helter-skelter feel to many sports over the last couple of years, but now that capacity crowds are returning to events it should provide a more inspiring atmosphere for entertainers like DeChambeau.

It’s become clear in recent years that Augusta is not the kind of course that can be bullied into submission by long, powerful drive play. To win the Masters and don the green jacket requires a more measured approach, and a better sense of golf’s finer details. A Masters champion needs a well-stocked quiver of different shots, tailor-made to every hole.

This is perhaps where DeChambeau has let himself down. The tactics that landed him the US Open title at Winged Foot are not suited to Augusta, and if his last two appearances at the Masters have proved anything it’s that attempting to hit ‘bombs’ in that way will only leave him searching the azaleas for his ball.

If DeChambeau is to be successful at the Masters, he can’t adopt a one-size-fits-all style of play. Augusta is a course that demands the utmost attention, and only those who pay it maximum respect will get results.

Huynh Nguyen

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