In fact, the only reason why we might not see Bryson DeChambeau donning a green jacket on Veteran’s Day weekend at the November Masters at Augusta National, is if he gets in his own way. That is what Jordan Spieth firmly believes.
The three-time major champion recently explained all things Augusta according to him, including why he feels Bryson is unequivocally the man to beat. “I remember talking to Justin [Thomas] and Rory [McIlroy] about this at lunch one day,” he said.
“We were sitting having lunch and watching the telecast and they were showing Bryson. I was like, this guy has to lose the Masters to not win the Masters”. Not since Tiger Woods has a single golfer’s chances at Augusta National been spoken about with such certainty.
However, is it reasonable to liken DeChambeau to the legendary Woods yet?
After watching DeChambeau thundering his way through golf’s most punishing conditions at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Spieth says there are some uncanny comparisons between both players’ approaches to Augusta National, and between Augusta National’s likely attempts to stop them.
“If you’re hitting it straight and you’re hitting it far, it obviously should be a massive advantage,” Spieth said. “[Augusta National has] done a lot to that golf course after Tiger won a number of times because of [distance].
He hit it that much further than other guys, and they lengthened a number of holes”. But even the holes Augusta National “Tiger-proofed,” or lengthened could be insufficient against the powerful, clean, ball-speed machine that is DeChambeau at the moment.
A problem caused by Augusta’s wide fairways and no-longer-beefy-enough length. “His fairway on 9 goes from the scoreboard of 1, 90 yards left of the fairway, to the bunkers off no. 7,” Spieth laughed. “I mean, it’s a thousand yards wide”.
According to Spieth, the Masters’ solution isn’t simple. They can only do so much to make the course longer and adjusting the tournament conditions would run counterintuitive to green jacket tradition. But there is one trick remaining up Augusta National’s sleeve.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they start to either put in more trees — they have a whole nursery of giant trees next door, they can just take and put it in,” he said. “It’s wild how quickly they can do that and make it look like it’s been in there for 50 years. It’s gonna be really interesting to see that tactic and to see how other people do it”.