Bryson DeChambeau is bigger.
He is stronger.
And he’s still tinkering to crank up more power and speed.
The reigning U.S. Open champion who goes by many names these days – Bison Bryson, the Incredible Bulk, the Mad Scientist, DeSlambeau – has eyed the Masters since leaving Las Vegas on October 11 after tying for eighth in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Forgoing competitive reps to tune-up for Augusta National, DeChambeau instead opted to spend four weeks “boosting up” in the gym and on the range in Texas as he continues to chase distance and power in his quest for a green jacket.
“Just pushing the limits,” DeChambeau told Golfweek late Friday night as he drove to his Dallas home after spending most of the day and night with his swing coach, Chris Como, working on testing the boundaries. “I’ve been working and grinding as hard as I can for the Masters.”
The new Sports Illustrated cover boy only spent one night celebrating his victory in the U.S. Open, sharing an emotional dinner at Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse in Dallas with family, friends and members of his team.
Other than that, DeChambeau, 27, has followed a precise schedule that includes hours in the weight room, speed drills, recovery time, treatment and long range sessions keeping his form sharp and testing new shafts. And he’s still exceeding an intake of 5,000 calories per day and crushing six to seven protein shakes per day.
The winner of seven PGA Tour titles – two in 2020 – is ranked No. 6 in the world and has tied for fourth in the PGA Championship and won the U.S. Open by six shots in his past two majors.
But he wants more.
“I have put on a little bit of weight since Las Vegas,” said DeChambeau, who weighed 190 pounds in the fall of 2019 when he started packing on mass and gaining speed. “I’m at 240 and I’ll be pushing to get up a little bit more. And I’ve gained some strength. I’m more interested in gaining strength than gaining weight.
“I’m pumping more weight. I did a bench press today for the first time just to see what I could do. And now I understand why people lose range of motion and they get injured. You are not going through full triceps extension and you’re not going through full range of motion. So I won’t be doing that anymore because it’s not the greatest motion for golf, let’s just say that.
“But I will tell you I got up to 295 pounds, free weights. It was fun.”
As was the day he crashed the 400-yard barrier for the first time. DeChambeau, 27, who topped the PGA Tour in driving distance with an average of 322.1 yards last season, posted on Instagram a picture of his FlightScope X3 launch monitor screen that revealed eye-popping numbers – a ball carry of 403.1 yards and a ball speed of 211 mph. And he did so with a 45-½ inch shaft in his driver, not the 48-inch shaft he’s experimenting with.
“I was speed training, there was a lot of electricity in the air, a lot of music going on. I’m up there for 45 minutes swinging my butt off and the numbers go up and they go down and they go up and they go down,” he said. “And all of a sudden, I swung as hard as I could and caught one really good in the middle of the face.
“I turned around and saw 211 and I just went, ‘Oh, my god.’ I was jumping up and down and then I saw the carry distance over 400 and I went, ‘Oh, my god.’ I was going crazy. That was moving it. It was a bit of a draw but it was really good.”
That enormous power has some fearing DeChambeau will destroy Augusta National and pound his peers. DeChambeau, who tied for 21st as the low amateur in 2016, tied for 38th in 2018 and tied for 29th in 2019 in his three Masters starts, is one of the pre-tournament favorites.
Some of his colleagues have said, that depending on weather and course conditions, DeChambeau could reach each of the four par-5s with nothing more than a mid-iron and most likely with short irons. He could drive the par-4 third with a 3-wood, might reach the par-4 14th with driver. He’ll hit short irons into 7, 9, 17 and 18. And his strength allows him to hit the ball as high as anyone, which is a huge advantage going into Augusta National’s treacherous greens.
DeChambeau, who plans to arrive in Augusta next Saturday, played two rounds there earlier this week.
“The first day was warm, little wind, the second day it was raining, it was windy, very difficult to play in,” he said. “On 2, it was blowing 20 into us and the course was very soft, and I hit driver, 3-wood to the green. The day before I hit driver, 6-iron in. I won’t go into the rounds too much. I’ll give you that it is a different golf course than in April. I don’t want to alarm anybody. I don’t want to come off as bragging, but the golf course does play shorter now for me.”
And it might play even shorter if he figures out how to control a driver featuring a 48-inch shaft. DeChambeau hasn’t decided what driver he’ll take to the first tee in the first round. He could even use two or three different shafted drivers that week.
“It depends on the shafts that are still coming in,” he said. “I had a test run with the shafts. With the 48-inch driver shaft, unfortunately, at the moment of inertia, it’s just too high. It’s too heavy and too long, at that weight. We’re looking to go that length but lighten the shaft up a little bit and see what we can do with that.
“This is what it’s all about. I go down rabbit holes and try to figure it out.”
He does so with all aspects of his game. As he chases more speed and distance, he doesn’t neglect any part of his game. Proof was on display at Winged Foot in the U.S. Open, where he wedged and putted beautifully.
“I’ve been down so many roads with wedges. I’ve gone to short wedges, gone to softer shafts, tried different grins, different clubs, you name it. So I keep searching,” he said. “I’ve learned what doesn’t work. I was wedging it absolutely awful at East Lake in The Tour Championship and heading into the U.S. Open I knew I had a problem. But the week before I worked rigorously on it and found some golden nuggets that allowed be to wedge it as well as I did at Winged Foot.”
Three weeks are down in his month-long search for more golden nuggets that could lead to a green jacket. And he won’t be kicking back this coming week.
“It’s been all about the Masters,” DeChambeau said. “The results and this whole journey is a lot of fun for me. I enjoy trying different things. Now, the fatigue part of it is not so fun. But when that happens I go fix stuff. I make sure to recover the way I have to.
“But I just love going down rabbit holes.”