‘He can’t go for it today, can he?’ Bryson battles the Bay Hill 6th again
Bryson DeChambeau read over his Bay Hill yardage book with caddie Tim Tucker, took out his driver, removed its head cover and read over the book again with Tucker. During Saturday’s third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, DeChambeau took a line on the 565-yard, dogleg par-5 that carried about 340 yards to clear the water in front of him and gave him just 70 yards to the hole. But this wasn’t Saturday. This was Sunday. This was with DeChambeau tied for the lead.
“He can’t go for it today, can he? Tied for the lead?” analyst David Feherty said on NBC’s broadcast.
“If you’re going to pick a spot to change the game, this can be the one,” analyst Paul Azinger said. “It’s almost a game-changing decision.”
“He has to hit it right on the button,” analyst Roger Maltbie said. “Any kind of miss …”
DeChambeau went for it again. Tied for the lead. A game-changing decision. He hit it right on the button.
After four practice swings behind the ball, a deep exhale and a few club waggles, DeChambeau drove his tee shot 377 yards — with a 320-yard carry — over the water and into a bunker, 88 yards from the hole. When his ball cleared, he raised his arms, a little less triumphantly than his Saturday celebration, pumped his fist, handed his driver back to Tucker and fist-bumped him.
“What a drive,” Koch said.
Two months earlier, in an interview with GOLF.com, DeChambeau had called his shot on 6. “I think I can do some pretty cool things on it,” he said. He could potentially even drive the green, about a 340-yard carry. Then on Saturday, after taking a less risky route the first two rounds due to the wind, he hit his drive 370 yards — with a 344-yard carry, according to NBC — and had just 70 yards to the hole.
“I felt like a kid again, for sure,” DeChambeau said Saturday. “It was exciting. Especially when you pull it off and you know — it was almost like winning a tournament. I don’t know. It’s kind of the feeling I had, it was like, ‘Oh, I did it.’ I got the same chills and feeling when I saw it clear and there was no splash. It was like, ‘Yes, I gave the fans what they wanted.’”
On Sunday, two groups ahead of DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth turned back and watched. Then, a couple of minutes later, DeChambeau’s playing partner, Lee Westwood, who was also tied for the lead, hit his tee shot. His went 306 yards — or 168 yards behind DeChambeau based on the angle. Westwood, jokingly, raised his arms like DeChambeau.
Each player would birdie the hole. DeChambeau hit his second shot, from the bunker, right of the green, then pitched to 3 feet. Westwood rolled in a 13-footer.
“Bryson DeChambeau, entertaining as can be,” analyst Roger Maltbie said on the broadcast. “Boy, talk about a hard swing.”