SAN FRANCISCO – As promised, Bryson DeChambeau had no backdown on Day 1 at the PGA Championship.
He hit driver at the par-4 first hole (325 yards). He hit driver at the par-4 second hole (331 yards). He hit driver at the par-5 fourth hole (342 yards). And he broke his driver at the par-4 seventh hole.
If there’s a snapshot of the PGA Tour in 2020 – beyond masks and awkward, socially distanced air-fives – it’ll be DeChambeau standing over his shattered driver with a sheepish grin pasted across his face.
DeChambeau has been flexing since he returned from quarantine 20 pounds heavier and swinging like he’s angry at his golf ball. He’s won (Rocket Mortgage Classic), he’s struggled (Memorial) and he’s repeatedly found himself in the middle of bizarre rules debates (Memorial and Memphis). And now he’s snapped a driver like a lumberjack.
On a perfect afternoon for golf in the Bay Area, DeChambeau finished with an eventful 2-under 68, but it was his drive at the seventh hole and the shattered aftermath that is the single most important highlight from Day 1.
“The ball did not react proper. I hit it out to the right, felt like I drew it and the ball went to the right and spun up like crazy. I'm like, that's not normal,” said DeChambeau, who had been using the same shaft for over a year. “I just went over to pick up my tee, leaned on it a little, and the thing just, see ya later.”
DeChambeau was allowed to replace the golf shaft because it broke during the normal course of play and on the ninth hole he launched a 327-yard drive to set up his third birdie of the day.
“Being able to switch it out and put a new one right back in play in a major championship and stripe one on 9, that's pretty impressive,” he said.