Why Dustin Johnson says he isn’t afraid of bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau

Pro golfer Dustin Johnson and caddie laugh

Dustin Johnson pictured on his way to victory during the final round of the 2020 Travelers Championship.

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Bryson DeChambeau has been gobbling up an outsized share of the limelight since PGA Tour golf returned in June, and rightfully so. The 26-year-old is showing off outsized gains in the muscle department, and similar increases in his eye-opening driving distances.

DeChambeau backed up the stats with a win two weeks ago at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, his sixth on Tour. But another top pro ranked higher than Bryson in the OWGR, one who captured his 21st victory three weeks ago, isn’t shrinking in face of the hype. That player is 2016 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson.

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In his pre-tournament press conference for this week’s Memorial, the World No. 4 made it clear that he wasn’t intimidated by DeChambeau’s monster drivers, and that he thinks his best game still tops Bryon’s.

“I feel like my game and where it’s at and how far I hit it is far enough,” Johnson said on Tuesday at Muirfield Village. “Right now, I feel like if I’m playing my game, he can hit it as far as he wants to, and I don’t think he’s going to beat me.”

So we won’t be seeing DJ swinging all out on Tour anytime soon, but when asked what he thinks would happen if he did try, Johnson made a joke to illustrate his point: “I’d probably hurt something. That’s why I don’t do it. And I wouldn’t find half of them (laughing).”

However, Johnson did admit that he will occasionally let it fly on the range for kicks.

“When I’m on the range sometimes I’ll start hitting them hard just for fun, and I generally hit them pretty straight,” he said. “But it’s different when you’re on a wide driving range than when you’re on the golf course and you’ve got to hit it into a pretty narrow fairway.”

Comparing players’ performances in events is a fickle business because so many other players are in the field, but, for what it’s worth, Johnson held off DeChambeau, who finished T6, on the way to winning the Travelers Championship. DJ wasn’t in the field when Bryson stormed to victory in Detroit.

Both players are in Ohio this week for the Memorial, so we may get to see a face off between the two stars as soon as this weekend. They have back-to-back tee times for Thursday’s first round, with DeChambeau going off at 8:06 a.m. ET on the 10th tee, and Johnson following at 8:17 a.m. ET.

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.