This week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open will mark Bryson DeChambeau’s final start before the Masters.
But he won’t exactly be kicking back over the next month.
DeChambeau told reporters in Las Vegas that he’s taking the next month off to speed train and dial in a 48-inch driver that he’s hoping to put in play at Augusta National. A 48-inch driver is the maximum length allowed under the Rules of Golf; DeChambeau currently uses a 45 1/2-inch shaft.
Though he cautioned that he’s still tinkering with shafts and clubheads for the 48-inch model, DeChambeau said that the club should have similar launch and spin characteristics. “It’ll look like a missile coming off the face,” he said. “It’ll be going pretty fast.”
And how much farther it is going?
DeChambeau wouldn’t say.
“I won’t disclose that right now,” he said. “I don’t want to ruffle any feathers.”
DeChambeau led the PGA Tour last season in driving distance, averaging 322.1 yards off the tee. Even if he wouldn’t get into any specifics, he said that the numbers he’s producing with the 48-inch model are “staggering, way more than what I’m doing right now.”
“If I can get it dialed in and get the mis-hits working correctly,” he added, “I feel like I can easily put that in play at Augusta.”
Once again DeChambeau was coy about his strategy for the Masters, saying that he’ll need to test it during a practice round there. He did offer this, however: “If you hit it past 320, I feel like there are a lot of opportunities to have a wide-open fairway for me.” Then he mentioned the second-nine par 5s, Nos. 13 and 15, and how he should enjoy an even greater advantage on holes like 17 and 18.
As for the next month, DeChambeau is bypassing the strong fields next week in Las Vegas at the CJ Cup and the following week at the Zozo Championship outside Los Angeles. That’ll give the newly minted U.S. Open champ four weeks off to prepare for the final major of the year. He said he’ll practice, work out and speed train in Dallas, hoping to get his ball speed up to 200 mph on average.
“That’ll be the goal,” he said.