07 Feb 2022

Move over Bryson, there’s a new kid in town.

Nicolai Hojgaard might have lifted his second DP World title at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship, but it was the way he overpowered Al Hamra Golf Club that drew global attention.

It’s well known on the circuit that the Hojgaard twins are the young rising stars on the DP World Tour, but to make it on the global stage you need power. It’s no different to other sports like football, where talent scouts are first attracted to speed. You can always improve a talented golfer’s short game, but you cannot teach them speed.

The need for speed
To see Nicolai drive the 372 yard par 4 opening hole at Al Hamra was just mind blowing. The 20-year-old Dane just opened his shoulders and carried the ball all the way on to the green. He was a good 40 yards longer than many players in the field all week, sometimes a great deal more.

 

On the attack
To be able to attack pins with a wedge while his playing partner, David Law, required two more clubs was not only a huge advantage, but must have been demoralising for the Scotsman. Law is no pee wee off the tee and averaged close to 300 yards, but Nicolai was just playing a different course.

Many might argue that Al Hamra’s lack of rough and length played into Nicolai’s hands and those critics are not wrong. But he was not carving it off-line and during the final round he lost the lead to Smith but composed himself and showed that he also contains the right mind set along with serious firepower.

 

So why should the likes of Bryson be worried about Nicolai?
Bryson has developed huge clubhead speed over recent years through a structured weight training programme and eating like an off-season body builder. He has taken his body to the limit. When you fine tune any athlete to the limit, it’s only a matter of time before something let’s go. So, it did not come as a shock to see the 2020 US Open champion withdraw from last week’s Asian Tour event.

 

“Yes, I hurt myself but not from hitting it far. I slipped and fell this week on Tuesday unfortunately. I know people probably won’t believe me, but that is the truth. I will be back stronger and better than ever in a few weeks,” explained Bryson.

 

It might have been a slip, but when you are pushing the body to the limit it does not take much for it to fail.

 

Age Advantage
Nicolai is seven years younger than Bryson and generates immense speed with long levers and blistering acceleration in the transition through impact. He can match Bryson in distance but looks like he could hit those bombs all day. Though Bryson’s style resembles a world long drive champion where nothing gets left behind.

 

Should Bryson be concerned of losing the crown?
In terms of distance there have been a number of professionals in recent years that can match Bryson for distance, mainly the South African Wilco Nienaber, who is probably longer. Though we can not forget that Bryson is more than a power hitter. He’s equally as useful with a wedge and putter. The distance gives you the advantage but that is just part of the equation. With Nicolai looking to break into the world’s top 50 ranked players he will be able to tee it up with the World’s best and that is where his flaws will be seen. It was evident to see at the events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi his trajectory control with the wedge needs work and I’m sure his team are working hard on that, as it’s an essential to be able to win on the big stage.

 

Talent waiting in the wings
What Nicolai has showed the golfing world isn’t just his distance off the tee, but new hungry talent is always waiting in the wings. As Saudi look to buy the loyalty of the old guard and the billboard players of today all it takes is someone like Nicolai to win a Major to turn the whole thing upside down

Share this article
Swing Sequence

Wyndham Clark Swing Sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy One of the...

Xander Schauffele swing sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy Xander Schauffele has...

Related articles

Upbeat McIlroy Ready for US Open After Marital Reconciliation

Rory McIlroy’s upbeat mindset ahead of this week’s US Open at...

U.S. Open Preview – Who will claim the year’s third Major?

The third Major of men’s schedule gets underway this month with...

Surviving Summer – How Courses Cope With The Heat

Words: Will Kent Photography: Provided by Stuart & Getty Images The...

Kiaan Keeps On Winning – UAE’s Latest Jnr Star

Photography & words by Will Kent Eight-year-old Kiaan Maharaj has become...

Gaudet rings the changes for women’s golf

Elisa Gaudet, Founder of Women’s Golf Day, talks exclusively to Rick...

Masters Green Jacket Thief Charged

A former warehouse assistant at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia...