Pro explains why he ‘can’t afford’ to chase Bryson-like distance

Adam Long would very much like to match Bryson DeChambeau’s distance gains in his next PGA Tour season.

In spite of his name, Long is not one of the PGA Tour’s biggest bombers. The 33-year-old ranks 139th in driving distance through the early portion of the 2021 season, which presents a unique problem. If he’s unable to keep up with the pace — or rather, the length — of play, Long could find himself falling out of contention or worse, out of a Tour card.

The good news is that there’s no secret to DeChambeau’s success. Long can easily join the best players on tour by picking up Bryson’s swing speed program and chasing distance.

But as he explained on this week’s episode of GOLF Subpar, the distance race isn’t as simple as Bryson makes it seem.

“It was going to happen at some point, people were going to figure it out,” Long said. “More power to Bryson, it’s unbelievable what he’s done. He’s probably the most dedicated athlete in any sport.”

For Long and others, committing to a Bryson-esque rebuild would prove nearly impossible.

“For me, I’m in a way different position than [Bryson] is,” he said. “As far as gaining a bunch of weight and trying to pick up a crazy amount of swing speed and make these huge jumps, I’m not in a position to do that. I can’t afford to have a crappy year or two on Tour or I’ll lose my card. They’ll chew me up and spit me out.”

Instead of rebuilding his diet or his swing, Long sees his best option for remaining on Tour as doubling down on the game he’s got.

“I’m in a position where I feel like I just need to keep doing my thing and almost have blinders to that,” he said. “Yes, I’d like to hit it 30 or 40 yards further, of course, but that would take me some time, it would take some effort and some commitment and doing it the right way. I’m just not in a position or willing to do that right now. Maybe that will change in a few years.”

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And then there’s the other question: will searching for distance lead to any major improvements to Long’s standing on tour? Of course, DeChambeau’s first major championship victory at the U.S. Open in June was a resounding argument in favor of his growth, but he’s also struggled at times to refine his short game and putting.

Even if it works for Bryson, Long isn’t so sure it’ll work for him.

“I always wonder, if your driver speed gets that much faster, does it affect your iron play and your wedges and your touch around the greens?” Long asked. “I’m kinda hanging tight and sitting back and watching everyone else do it.”

For the time being, Adam Long is happy taking the bird-in-the-hand.

“Where I’m at right now, I feel like my results have been really good, my game is solid, I’m in a really good position and trending in the right direction,” he said. “Why would I start searching for something that may or may not breed success? There’s no guarantee that if I hit it further, all my other shots will be just as good or better either.”

To hear the rest of Long’s Subpar interview, check out the video below.

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James Colgan

Golf.com Editor