Tiger Woods declared himself “impressed” with how Bryson DeChambeau has transformed himself into one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour without sacrificing accuracy.
DeChambeau is currently ranked top of the driving distance stats on the PGA Tour with a remarkable average of 323 yards per drive, the result of him adding almost three stone in weight – mainly muscle – over the last nine months.
The 26-year-old has taken to attempting to overpower golf courses, and his ploy has paid off as he has not finished lower than eighth in his last six starts, culminating in an impressive three-shot victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
DeChambeau has enjoyed a week off before returning to feature in a star-studded field at Muirfield Village this week, where five-time champion Woods makes his first appearance since hosting the Genesis Invitational in February.
“Bryson’s figured out a way to increase distance and maximise his efficiency with not only his driver but all of his clubs, but in particular the driver,” said Woods, whose huge hitting when he first appeared on Tour led to many venues to attempt to “Tiger proof” their courses.
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“If I just look back at when I first started playing the Tour or right before I started playing the Tour, we didn’t have TrackMans, we didn’t have launch monitors. Guys were learning how to bend clubs on their knee to try and take loft off of it.
“That’s now changed. Now you have all these different launch monitor technologies and you can send up a whole bunch of balls, figure out the shafts, the conditions that you want to optimise carry.
“So what Bryson has done is no easy task. He’s got to put in the time and he has put in the reps, and he’s figured it out. He’s gotten stronger, faster, bigger, and has created more speed.
“But more importantly, he’s hitting it further, but let’s look at the fact that he’s hitting it as straight as he is. That’s part of the most difficult thing to do. The further you hit it, the more the tangent goes more crooked, more along this line.
“So the fact that he’s figured that out and has been able to rein in the foul balls to me has been equally as impressive as his gains off the tee distance-wise.”
Woods, meanwhile, gave himself a clean bill of health ahead of his long-awaited return to competition having pulled out of both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship due to issues with his surgically-repaired back in March.
“Physically I was very stiff in LA,” added Woods following a practice round with fellow Medalist member Justin Thomas. “I was not moving that well, my back was just not quite loose and it was cold. I wasn’t hitting the ball very far, wasn’t playing very well, and consequently I finished dead last.
“Fast forward five months later, I’ve been able to train a lot. I’ve been able to do a lot of things that I hadn’t done in a very long time, which is spend a lot of time with my kids and be around with them.
“It’s been very different not to have sports, but we’ve been lucky enough to have had Medalist open at home for most of this quarantine period. So it’s been nice to get out on the golf course and be able to play and keep active that way.
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