Bryson DeChambeau is living up to his nickname “mad scientist” these days. With the restart of the PGA Tour after the Corona compulsory break with golf tournaments without spectators, sports fans all over the world can watch on the TV screen whether the latest experiment by the 26-year-old American brings the desired success: Can strength muscles be strengthened and grown with strength training that you hit the ball further than all your competitors?
If he succeeds, he could revolutionize professional golf like Tiger Woods did with his first Masters victory in 1997. Woods dominated the tournament in Augusta when he often hit the ball more than 300 meters and about 30 to 50 meters further than all his competitors. He inspired a new generation of power players.
Meanwhile, many top players effortlessly reach these lengths from the tee. But DeChambeau hits the ball with such force that it often rolls beyond the 350-meter mark. For him it is all about hitting the ball almost as close as possible to the hole with wedges and then sinking it.
110 kilos, 1.85 meters
In the first three tournaments, DeChambeau lost the win either in the approaching shots on the green or in putting. He finished third, eight and sixth. With a total of 46 strokes under par for the twelve rounds, he was better in the overall ranking than the fully assembled world rankings. That is why the world ranked tenth is considered the top favorite at the tournament in Detroit (Michigan) starting on Thursday, especially since most world-class players take a break.
Even though the victories in the first three tournaments went to his American compatriots Daniel Berger, Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson, DeChambeau was always the focus with his gigantic gain in length and his new figure. He gained 18 kilograms of muscle in the past nine months, especially during the three-month breaks around the turn of the year and during the corona lockdown. With a height of 1.85 meters, he now weighs almost 110 kilos and had to change from shirt size medium to extra large.
For comparison: the Northern Irish world number one Rory McIlory weighs just 70 kilograms at 1.75 meters. DeChambeau, who likes to show himself on the internet with a free torso and presents his washboard belly, looks so muscular compared to almost all colleagues that he was given another nickname: “Hulk” (colossus, closet, giant) because he was on the cartoon character of this name reminds. He changed his body with the help of Greg Roskopf, who developed the so-called Muscle Activating Techniques (MAT), techniques that strengthen the muscles that are particularly important for golf, which enable a powerful torso rotation and stability in the swing. During the forced break, DeChambeau completed three training sessions a day – and put an advertising video for the training equipment on the net.
The competition kept short
DeChambeau proved that muscle mass, contrary to traditional belief, is useful in golf. In the current season of the PGA Tour, which started last fall, the Californian, who now lives in Dallas, is on average in season statistics with 320.1 yards (293 meters) only 64 centimeters behind the leader, his American compatriot Cameron Champ, a gain of around 20 meters compared to the previous year. But these numbers say little about how far the muscle man can really hit the ball.
With his driver, whom he calls “the octopus”, in direct comparison he has “left short” all the long hitters of the tour, as it is called in golf jargon. He now uses a driver that only has 5.5 degrees of loft (tilt angle of the face). Otherwise, only professionals who take part in long driving competitions can do that. For comparison: The two leaders in the world rankings, McIlroy and the Spaniard Jon Rahm, like most amateurs, play with drivers with a 10.5 degree loft. “It’s crazy, stupid, just incredible,” said McIlroy after completing the final round of the Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth with DeChambeau. “I hit the ball 288 meters in a headwind, and then Bryson comes and hits the thing 343 meters. My caddy and I just looked at each other in amazement and both said only two words: Heilige Sch … ”The competitors even had to experience how the tee shot from the golf hulk landed on a 356 meter long hole next to the green.
In training, he even managed to get his ball over the water directly into the green of a 388-meter par-4 hole. Its longest drive on the PGA Tour was measured in Hawaii in January: also 388 meters.
How does DeChambeau manage these incredible lengths for normal golfers? In a charity stream in April at the entrance of his villa, he hit a spell on the net and wrote a “ball speed” of 203 miles an hour. Converted to kilometers, it sounds even more impressive: 327. For comparison: the average on the PGA Tour is 170 miles (274 kilometers). Cameron Champ has led this statistic with 190 miles (306 kilometers). A good male amateur with a -10 handicap will only accelerate the golf ball to 138 miles.
The majority of amateurs therefore have trouble hitting the ball over 200 meters. DeChambeau is striving for completely different goals: As he told the “New York Times” in a telephone interview, he wants to build more muscle, increase his weight to 118 kg and reach a ball speed of 210 miles (338 km) per hour so that his drives Regularly reach over 400 yards (366 meters) in flight – and DeChambeau would really be in a class of its own.