DeChambeau insists long drive competition won’t impact Ryder Cup

Fatiha Betscher
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DeChambeau insists long drive competition won’t impact Ryder Cup

Bryson DeChambeau (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

It’s a question many golf fans have long wondered: how would Bryson DeChambeau compare in a genuine ‘Long Drive’ contest? Well, we’re about to find out with the competition bizarrely beginning the day after the conclusion of this year’s Ryder Cup.

The current World No. 6 has accepted an invitation to compete in the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championship taking place from September 27th to October 1st in Mesquite, Nevada.

That’s the week following the hosting of the 2021 Ryder Cup with DeChambeau’s length off the tee sure to be a key if the USA is to win along the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. We learned of DeChambeau’s entry in the Long Driving World Championship after he posted on Instagram saying long-drive competitions are an opportunity to help grow the game of golf.

“I want to show the world how incredibly talented and hard working these athletes are,” DeChambeau said on his Instagram page.

“I’ve been working hard to get my game up to their speeds so I have a chance but will still continue to play my best golf with my regular day job.”

You can’t question DeChambeau wanting to try his hand given he’s ranked first on the PGA Tour in driving distance, averaging 321.5 yards per drive while his longest drive this 2020/21 season has been a rocket-like 414-yards on the 12th hole at January’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Since then, we’ve seen England’s Lee Westwood launch a 425-yard drive at the Byron Nelson, remarkably just a yard ahead of one by American Cameron Champ, who hit his drive 424 yards on the seventh hole at the Sentry in January.

When DeChambeau gets to Nevada he will be up against the likes of Kyle Berkshire, the present No. 1-ranked long driver in the men’s division who has a long competitive drive of 474 yards that he hit in March 2017. Berkshire has recorded a highest ball speed of 228.5 mph and a highest swing speed of 152.6 mph while DeChambeau has yet to break 200 mph in official PGA Tour competition.

DeChambeau sought out now close friend Berkshire in the offseason to ask advice on how to hit faster and, ultimately, further. Now DeChambeau will be competing against Berkshire in an attempt to surpass and supplant the No. 1-ranked long driver in the world.

So why is DeChambeau entering the competition?

“First and foremost, it’s to grow the game,” he said to Golf magazine.

“That’s something that’s really important to me. I really want to help bring more people into this great game and help them have fun playing it. This is just an amazing opportunity to showcase golf’s athleticism, and all the great things that are happening on that side of the sport that might not have a spotlight on them right now.

“It’s also been a goal of mine to compete in this for a long time. Kyle is a close friend of mine, and he’s been so helpful helping me train and share advice.

“Competing will be a good test for me, but I really want people to understand that I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it would be good for my game overall. I will do my best to compete with the best in the long driving world, and it gives me a goal to work for.

“But I know this will translate to me being able to swing at higher speeds on the course, which as I’ve said many times will make me a better golfer every time I tee it up on the PGA Tour. I’m so grateful the Tour has allowed me to do that.”

And as for the Ryder Cup finishing up on the Sunday prior, DeChambeau, who will make a second appearance as the Stars and Stripes side look to win back the golden trophy, insists the biennial tournament will have his undivided attention.

“It will not take any of my attention away from the Ryder Cup,” he said also to Golf magazine. 

“I am fully dedicated to the Ryder Cup, and it’s something I really care deeply about. Representing Team USA is something I’ve dreamed about since I was kid. It’s something I get really amped-up thinking about. I want to help bring home the trophy this year, and like I said, I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I didn’t truly believe it would make me a better golfer.”

For more on this Listen to this week’s Podcast

 

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