Bryson DeChambeau’s game gets a lot of hype these days — and for good reason. Since he dedicated himself to a regimented bulk up, his game has been as good as anyone on the planet not named Dustin Johnson. With two wins, 11 top 10s and a U.S. Open win during the calendar year, the results speak for themselves.
His driver has been the catalyst to this success as he’s launched bomb after bomb, determined to beat courses into submission through brute force. The strategy paid off at the Winged Foot as he captured his first major championship and humbled a fierce U.S. Open layout.
The results were mixed at the Masters, but the blueprint looked sound. Bombing the ball past trouble is certainly not what course architects planned on being a possibility when they designed the tracks, but as technology has evolved, so too have strategies.
And while DeChambeau’s bombs get the most attention, Davis Love III thinks that’s not the secret to his success.
“Why is Bryson playing so well? Putting.,” Love said prior to the RSM Classic. “Go back and look at Bryson’s stats for the year. The weeks he putted great, he either won or finished in the top 10. Long driving is not the answer.”
DeChambeau’s game off the tee has been extremely beneficial this year as he ranked No. 1 on Tour in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee since golf’s restart. Lost in the long-ball hysteria is just how solid he’s been on the greens. During that same time frame, DeChambeau ranked 2nd on Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting.
Love also presented his case that distance isn’t Dustin Johnson’s biggest asset now, either. As he’s ascended to World No. 1, his game from 100 yards and in has shown the most marked improvement.
“I don’t think anybody should reign Dustin Johnson in because he hits it farther than 95 percent of the people in the world,” Love said. “And why is he playing so well? Putting … You can go ask Dustin, what’s the biggest difference in your game the last five years? Wedges and putting. He’s not going to say, ‘I hit it 20 yards farther than I used to.'”
In addition to the changes DeChambeau has seemingly forced the game to reckon with over the past year, Love credited the bomber’s commitment to the gym in showing him how to better take care of his own body.
“I love what Bryson’s doing. A lot of things he’s doing physically I need to do to protect my neck and my body, so I’m keeping an eye on him,” he said. “Bryson’s a big influence on me already.”
The things DeChambeau has done this year have been polarizing (to say the least), but no matter how you feel, his approach to the game is already forcing others to reexamine their own approaches.