Much excitement has surrounded Bryson DeChambeau’s likely approach to The 150th Open at St Andrews, but the big-hitting American insists his strategy will largely be determined by weather conditions at the Home of Golf.
Since bulking up considerably in 2020, DeChambeau has become one of the longest hitters around and many players and pundits have suggested his power from the tee will provide a significant advantage at the Old Course this July.
DeChambeau admits to being excited by talk of his game being ideally suited to St Andrews, where a number of par-4s can be driveable depending on wind speed and direction.
However, the world number nine is not sure how often he will actually be using his driver when The 150th Open gets under way.
“My strategy is gonna depend on the weather, first off,” DeChambeau told The Rick Shiels Golf Show.
“You know, it’s a golf course where maybe a lot of irons off the tee is the play. I don’t know. Maybe it is hitting it really far and bombing it up next to the greens and having a great wedge game. There’s a couple ways I could play the golf course.
“Sometimes people think about my driver, ‘oh, it gives him such an advantage’. What really gives me an advantage is my irons, being able to hit an 8-iron 210 yards, being able to hit a 9-iron 195, a 6-iron 240 yards.
“So this is where the conversation of strategy, what is my strategy? It’s gonna depend on the weather and conditions of the course and what I’m comfortable with as well, given my current game situation.”
Asked about repeated suggestions that the Old Course will match up to his strengths, DeChambeau added: “This will be my first time (playing the course) and I’m super excited.
“Everybody tells me that (it’s perfect for me) and I don’t want to hype it up, but people said that about Caves Valley as well. I’d never played Caves Valley and they were like ‘oh, this golf course is perfect for you’, and I went out and played pretty well there, so hopefully I have the same feelings going into St Andrews.
“For me, it’s always been an honour to play amazing golf courses and this is one I haven’t played. I’ve been to Australia and I’ve played Royal Melbourne and golf courses like that, but never St Andrews, the Home of Golf.
“To be able to play there, and play the game maybe a little differently than what has been seen there before, could be fun.”
“I love being an entertainer.” Bryson DeChambeau
DeChambeau is well aware all aspects of his game will need to be in top shape if he is to secure the Claret Jug, even if his driving naturally captures the most attention.
“I’m not trying to disrespect the game of golf one bit, that’s not my goal, My intent is to get the ball in the least amount of shots into the hole and that’s always what it’s been,” he said.
“As much as people think it’s a “bomb and gouge” thing, it’s like no, I still love the heritage of the game of golf. It’s why I wear the (flat) cap, for Ben Hogan, Payne Stewart and just the heritage of the game. I really appreciate that and that’s what I’ve tried to show as much as possible through these last couple of years. As much as I do like hitting it far, I still try and show respect.
“And hey, you’ve got to putt well, you’ve got to chip well, and to win the U.S. Open in 2020, I had to putt really well and I had to wedge it really well around the greens. And there’s no doubt about it, I’m not ever gonna for one bit say it was my driving that won me that tournament. So that’s the thing that people don’t realise.
“Yes, it can be very beneficial. When you’re going at those speeds you can miss it quite a bit offline and that can be very detrimental as well if you’re not hitting it straight. So there’s a huge balance there, but I love being an entertainer, I love showing a different side of myself.”
DeChambeau does not anticipate being able to visit St Andrews prior to The Open, meaning he is set to get his first in-person look at the Old Course in the week of the Championship.
However, he is not totally unfamiliar with the iconic layout that awaits him in mid-July.
“I played it on PGA TOUR 2004 plenty,” laughed DeChambeau, in reference to the EA Sports video game that featured St Andrews.
On his plans for The Open, he added: “I’m probably going to play the Scottish (Open) the week before, to get somewhat comfortable with links-style golf, and then head over there.”