I’m just about to head off to the Masters at Augusta and ﬁngers crossed my Covid test doesn’t come back positive or I’m in isolation for 14 days at my own cost, watching the event from a hotel room down the road!
It’s going to be very different course in autumn and no roar from the patrons but it is still arguably the greatest Major of the season. All eyes will be on the big names as usual but Bryson DeChambeau has a taste for Majors now and is going all out to become world number one. I’ve recently seen a clip from him showing a ball speed of 211mph and a carry distance of 400 yards. Those numbers are just incomprehensible, even compared to the likes of Rory and Johnson. To put it in perspective, I know we go on about how the modern day big hitters are making courses like St Andrews play like a pitch and putt but using the current stats from Bryson no course is safe. He would be able to drive nine of the par fours and reach all the par ﬁves at Sawgrass in two.
Change of mind on the power game
I know last month I said we should introduce a high spinning ball. So players that produce more power will also generate more spin. I’ve given that more thought and hearing the kids at my range get excited by the distance Bryson and the other pros are smashing it I can see why they see that appealing. You’ve got to remember the world is full of driving ranges and not putting ranges. If Bryson wins the Masters and the television numbers are up, then the distance kings could be the saviour, as the game needs to appeal to the younger generation. Tiger has worn that crown for decades but today it needs to be a team effort.
Brooks video is impressive
To make things more interesting I’ve just received a video from Brooks Koepka and his swing is looking on point. He might need to blow off some competition rust in Houston prior to the Masters but he’s hungry for more Majors.
If you can’t putt then distance is pointless
The European threat this year might come from Tyrrell Hatton. He’s been playing great and doesn’t have a weakness to his game. Winning at Wentworth in cold conditions and then tying third at The CJ Cup on the PGA Tour the following week shows he can also adapt his game accordingly. I’ve always like the fact his straight up and down swing will rarely go wrong but having Mick Donaghy on the bag has made all the difference. Mick is not scared of voicing his opinion and with 30 years experience on Tour he’s seen it all. Tyrrell has certainly listened and the two are working well. So why could Tyrrell do well at Augusta you might think when I’m predicting the likes of Bryson and Brooks? Tyrrell’s swing gives him excellent distance control and he’s a great putter. Those two ingredients were key to why Zach Johnson won in 2007 and kept Tiger from a play-off.
Eyes on Dubai
Once the Masters is over all eyes will be on Dubai and the DP World Tour Championship to see who will win the European Tour’s season-ending event and the Race to Dubai. Tiger’s event has been cancelled so that might entice some of the big names to tee it up at Jumeirah Golf Estates in December.
More than ever the high ranked players are looking to base themselves on the PGA Tour. Not just for the huge amount of money that is on offer but those valuable Official World Ranking points. Though they can’t burn their bridges and keep their options open on the European Tour. Which is why the Middle East swing and season-ending DP World Tour Championship is vital to both the players and European Tour.