Patrick Reed predicts how golf courses will change to combat the Bryson effect

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Bryson DeChambeau is back making his first start since his U.S. Open victory at Winged Foot, and the hype train took no time building up speed — for good reason. He rolled into the event talking about a 48-inch driver that he may potentially unleash on Augusta National, he was hitting his driver so far on the driving range that he was hitting parked cars, and he quietly shot 59 during his practice round.

Patrick Reed, meanwhile, was over in England playing the BMW PGA Championship. He had a front row seat to Bryson’s game at Winged Foot during the third round, and when asked about Bryson’s game more generally, he gave some interesting insight into both the player and how the game might change because of him.

He stated by pushing back against the idea that what Bryson was doing was entirely unique:

“Every generation has seen guys get bigger, faster stronger. As we move forward, yes, guys are going to be get longer. I mean, that’s just how it’s always worked. Everyone always seems to get longer and longer.”

But he cautioned against overreacting along the way…

“I think you’re going to see guys come out that all of a sudden are having 200-mile-an-hour ball speeds, can carry it 370, 360, maybe very, very few.”

That led to some interesting comments about how he thinks golf courses will change. In short: courses will start getting tricked-up on a week-in, week-out basis.

“I feel like what’s going to happen is golf courses are going to start to change a little bit. If you’re going to try to hit it that far, you’re going to have it on a string, you’re going to have to hit that straight. There’s going to be penalty areas. The rough is going to get thicker and nastier, they’re going to put pin placements in spots.”

And in the meantime, will Bryson’s approach work at Augusta National?

“It all depends. But you look at golf courses, you look at guys who win every week, usually they’re inside the top 10 in putting that week and their ball striking is usually top 25, but their short game, they’re in the top of the field. He could go hit it 380 yards on every hole, but if he doesn’t have control or is hitting in the wrong spots or is not making putts, the guy who is hitting 280, hitting every green and making putts, he’s going to be the one that wins the golf tournament.”

Any closing thoughts, Patrick?

“So I think what he has exposed is he has exposed there’s now a complete different way to play the game of golf….Bryson has now figured out how to hit it a mile and hit a 60-yard wedge shot and putt. But I think that the old way is always going to work. The guy who has full control of their game, the guy who’s making putts is going to be the guy that wins a golf tournament.”

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Director of Game Improvement Content at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.