Try as Augusta National may, there’s nothing they (or anyone) can do to stop Bryson DeChambeau at the November Masters. In fact, the only reason why we might not see Bryson donning a green jacket on Veteran’s Day weekend is if he gets in his own way. Those are bold claims, but they belong to someone with the credentials to back them up: Jordan Spieth.
On this week’s episode of Subpar, the three-time major champion broke down all things Augusta with hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz, including why he feels Bryson is unequivocally the man to beat.
“I remember talking to Justin [Thomas] and Rory [McIlroy] about this at lunch one day,” he said. “We were sitting having lunch and watching the telecast and they were showing Bryson. I was like, this guy has to lose the Masters to not win the Masters.”
Not since Tiger Woods have we heard a single golfer’s chances at Augusta National spoken with such certainty, but is it fair to compare Bryson to the big cat? After watching DeChambeau slash his way through golf’s most penal conditions at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Spieth says there are some eerie similarities between both players’ approaches to Augusta National, and between Augusta National’s likely attempts to stop them.
“If you’re hitting it straight and you’re hitting it far, it obviously should be a massive advantage,” Spieth said. “[Augusta National has] done a lot to that golf course after Tiger won a number of times because of [distance]. He hit it that much further than other guys, and they lengthened a number of holes.”
But even the holes Augusta National lengthened (or “Tiger-proofed,” as it is colloquially referred) could be insufficient against the mean, clean, ball-speed generating machine that is Bryson. A problem caused by Augusta’s wide fairways and no-longer-beefy-enough length.
“His fairway on 9 goes from the scoreboard of 1, 90 yards left of the fairway, to the bunkers off no. 7,” Spieth laughed. “I mean, it’s a thousand yards wide.”
As Spieth sees it, the Masters’ solution isn’t a simple one. They can only make the course so much longer, and adjusting the tournament conditions would run counterintuitive to green jacket tradition. But there is one ace remaining up Augusta National’s sleeve.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they start to either put in more trees — they have a whole nursery of giant trees next door, they can just take and put it in,” he said. “It’s wild how quickly they can do that and make it look like it’s been in there for 50 years. It’s gonna be really interesting to see that tactic and to see how other people do it.”
To see the rest of Spieth’s Subpar interview, including the backstory behind his 2018 Ryder Cup pairings controversy with Patrick Reed, check out the video below.