Bryson DeChambeau, ahead of the Masters earlier this month, described how he, as the longest hitter on the PGA Tour, could “become obsolete potentially.”
“I think as time goes on, there’s not much more to gain from the technology side of golf club manufacturing, building,” DeChambeau said. “There are little things we can do, but where the massive gains will be is in athletes. Once you get somebody out here that’s a 7-foot-tall human being and they are able to swing a golf club at 145 miles an hour effortlessly, that’s when things get a little interesting.”
A player who is a gimme putt away from being a 7-footer is playing this week’s Valspar Championship.
Jordan Hahn, all 6-foot-8 of him, became the tallest player to start a PGA Tour event on Thursday when he teed off on No. 1 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort. The previous tallest player to play a Tour event, 6-7 Phil Blackmar, now has someone to look up to. (For comparison sake, the shortest player to start a Tour event is believed to be Tadd Fujikawa, who played the 2006 U.S. Open as a 5-1, 15-year-old amateur.)
“I’m just going to go out there and have fun,” Hahn told Wisconsin Golf earlier this week after Monday-qualifying for the event. “(I’m) going to get a good game plan for the track these next couple days and stick to it. I know I can compete out there.”
Hahn, during Thursday’s first round, parred 1, bogeyed 2, then birdied 4 and 5 before shooting eight over from there and finishing with a seven-over 78. He also got 30 seconds of airtime on Golf Channel’s broadcast as he set up to chip his second shot on the par-3 13th.
“Our colleague, Phil Blackmar, who we call ‘Big’ is a little bit less big today,” announcer Whit Watson said.
Before Thursday, the 24-year-old from Spring Grove, Ill., had played four years at the University of Wisconsin, where he set the program average scoring record, at 73.08, and he was named first-team All-Big Ten his senior year. Since graduating, according to Wisconsin Golf, Hahn advanced to the final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School in November of 2019.
Back to DeChambeau’s declaration.
In a video on the University of Wisconsin’s website entitled “Can I Do That?” a host hits balls with Hahn in 2016 at the Badgers practice facility. Hahn was just 6-6 and a freshman then, but he was asked how his height helps him.
“Really unique, really unique,” he said. “Not a lot of guys are tall. There’s a lot more room for error, but then again, you get a lot more speed and power, so …”