Golf great pushes case for radical change
BRYSON DeChambeau's intimidating power has one former golfing great calling for change in the sport.
During last week's Charles Schwab Challenge, Colin Montgomerie said the PGA Tour should switch to a ball that goes 80 to 85 per cent as far as the top-of-the-line balls the players are currently using.
"I'm an advocate of what Jack Nicklaus proposes - a tournament ball for professionals, that goes only 80 to 85 per cent as far," Montgomerie, a top European golfer in the 1990s and 2000s, said. "The time has come, because we can't be building courses at 10,000 yards.
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"We haven't the money or the space and there are the obvious ecological reasons. A tournament ball would be a massive step, because of that term 'bifurcation' [professionals playing by different rules than amateurs]. Yet haven't we reached that stage, now? We've seen at Colonial that something has to be done or these classic courses cannot be used."
Length off the tee has long been an issue on the PGA Tour as club and ball technology has improved.
But DeChambeau's significant body transformation and stunning power have renewed concerns for some. DeChambeau said he bulked up 20 pounds during the three-month coronavirus lockdown and 45 pounds in the past nine months.
"The transformation has been amazing, I could not believe what I saw when I switched on in the first round - even Bryson's XL shirts are looking tight now," Montgomerie said.
"Bryson played with Dustin Johnson the first two days and he was giving him 25 yards off the tee - and Dustin is no slouch … Extraordinary. He is huge.
"It's great to see athleticism in the game, but to see him carrying 330 yards in the air and with the bounce you are up to 350, 360?
"This is getting unreal, something we haven't seen before, a whole new game we are beginning to witness.
"On Friday, Bryson had 10 holes on which he was within 100 yards of the green for his approach. And if you include the four par threes, that means there were only four holes on which Bryson was more than 100 yards away for his approach. The game has changed dramatically. It's now brute force and a sand-wedge."
DeChambeau, who finished in a tie for third at the Charles Schwab Challenge in last week's PGA Tour return, averaged 340 yards off the tee, which was only one yard more than Matthew Wolff.
"My ultimate goal is to get as strong as I can, applying some force and speed to the swing to see what it can handle," DeChambeau said this week.