Why Bryson DeChambeau is OK with hitting it ‘where people are walking’
Bryson DeChambeau uncorked his drive, watched it for one second and grabbed his tee. He didn’t watch his ball land. Didn’t need to.
“Picks it up quickly,” announcer Dan Hicks said during NBC’s broadcast of Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Open. “Must like it.”
It was straight — straight right.
“No, no, nope,” analyst Paul Azinger said.
The drive on the 497-yard, par-4 4th hole at Torrey Pines dropped short of the cart path, it bounced, a few fans covered their heads, and the ball rolled into some yellowish, dead grass.
“That’s OK because he’s fine with it going way right,” Hicks said.
“I don’t think he ever intended to put that ball in the fairway,” Azinger said.
Sort of, DeChambeau explained after his round, where he shot a three-round 68 and is two shots out of the lead in defense of the title he won last year. He said he intends to hit it straight. He also intends to hit it deep, which will occasionally spray it not just left and right, but left and right all the way into some yellowish dead grass.
“For me when I miss it, because I hit it pretty far, I’m going to miss it off line quite a bit,” DeChambeau said. “So that plays kind of into my advantage a little bit more because where the people are walking, it’s trampled down and you get some good lies out of that. Four is a great example out here today. I was able to hit it close. I didn’t make the putt, but again I hit it over to the right, it’s trampled down, had a nice lie, and I was able to get it up on the top ridge.
“Again, that was all part of the strategy. I knew that there was going to be people walking and trampling, and if it was a bad lie, I can still run it to the front of the green and hit it out from there. That’s still the game plan, and hopefully I get lucky tomorrow again.”
That plan, after all, helped DeChambeau win his first major championship. While there were no spectators at Winged Foot at last year’s Open, he’d muscle it deep, then muscle shorter irons into greens. On Saturday, he’d hit to trampled grass on the 4th, where he hit his second shot to 13 feet and made a par; the 598-yard par-5 9th, where he hit his drive right, hit his second shot 231 yards and made a par; and the 513-yard par-4 12th, where he hit his approach to 55 feet and made another par.
“I think the Winged Foot play is kind of what’s going on this week so far,” DeChambeau said.