AUGUSTA, GA. — As Bryson DeChambeau changed his body, adding weight to his frame and distance to his game, one lingering question always hung in the background: What is he going to do to Augusta National? “Every golf course you ever play, length is advantage, but I think what he could possibly do at Augusta National could be scary,” two-time U.S. Open champion and ESPN golf analyst Andy North said. “It really could be.” With the help of North, ESPN Stats & Information and data from last year’s Masters, we take a look at how DeChambeau could take on Augusta National in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades. Here’s how he got here — and how to watch this week on ESPN and ESPN+:
We looked at the five holes in which the new Bryson DeChambeau can destroy the rest of the field and render Augusta National defenseless. Note: We eliminated the four par 5s. Same with No. 3, the short par 4 , which at 350 yards is driveable for DeChambeau. It’s these five holes where he can distance himself from the field and win the Masters:
The common, most practical play, is a smooth drive between the trees on the left and the fairway bunker on the right. That was the plan last year, aiming left to avoid the bunkers and a sure opening bogey. Now, he can wave at those bunkers on the way by.
Never an easy hole, the folks at Augusta National made it a little harder in 2019, pushing the tees back 40 yards. In Woods’ victory last year, he walked away with bogey each and every day. In each of the first three rounds, he hit in the fairway way bunkers down the left side. DeChambeau might not have to worry about that problem.
The players stand on the back tee staring at a chute — trees left, trees right — as they finish their first nine. The line usually is down the right side, leaving a good angle but a treacherous second shot into one of the most severely sloped greens on the property. DeChambeau has the option to take all the trouble out of play.
Welcome to Amen Corner. Drives usually settle at the top of the hill, leaving an intimidating look down at a green with mounds right and a pond left. With a long iron in hand, it’s a scary shot. Thing is, DeChambeau won’t have a long iron in his hands.
In 2002, the club moved the tees back 55-60 yards and five yards to the players’ right. The idea? Force the players to find the fairway instead of just hammering it over the bunkers on the left. Well, somebody is about to bring us back to the old days and try to hammer over the bunkers on the left.
Gary Player recently said it would take nothing more than a “reasonable week” from DeChambeau for him to be wearing his first green jacket. Fellow Tour pro and former Masters champion Jordan Spieth told the “Subpar” podcast the only way DeChambeau doesn’t win the Masters is if he loses it himself.
So that’s it? It’s over, right? DeChambeau will close out this strange year at the first fall Masters with an emphatic win to add to his U.S. Open title in August?
“I think we are getting a little carried away,” North said. “In Vegas [at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open], they thought he was going to shoot 40 under par.” [Note: He shot 18-under and finished tied for eighth]
“You still have to get it on the green and make putts. And you have to make a whole bunch of 5- and 6-footers for par with crazy breakers with great speed. That’s still the most important part of [Masters] week.”
Photography from Getty Images, Associated Press, Imagn, EPA