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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Bryson DeChambeau, golf’s grand science experiment, was talking Tuesday about his current strategy to find new ways to try to win his first Masters.
“I'm still going down numerous rabbit holes, and I will never stop, not only to win golf tournaments but to definitely win this tournament,” the 27-year-old reigning U.S. Open champion said. “I mean, this has been on my radar since I was a kid, and now that I've accomplished winning the U.S. Open, this is the next goal for me.
“And I will not stop my pursuit of knowledge of the game, knowledge of the body, knowledge of the golf swing to give myself the best opportunity to win. At the end of the day, it comes down to execution. You have to be able to go out there and hit a great shot and execute when the pressure comes around. … I can give myself the most advantages all day long, but if I don't go out there and just execute, it doesn't really mean much.”
Since finishing in a very disappointing tie for 34th at the November 2020 Masters, DeChambeau won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and finished third at The Players last month. He is No. 1 in driving distance on the PGA Tour. His head is full of new ideas, his swing speed is still out of this world, his muscle-bound body is a bit leaner and meaner and he has a secret new club, a prototype Cobra driver that has been three years in the making.
How can you not pick this guy to win the Masters? So I will. He’s the one. He’ll win his first green jacket here this week.
When DeChambeau did not play well here five months ago, the course was soft. This week, it will be firm and fast, just to DeChambeau’s liking.
“I would say for the most part the golf course is going to play different,” he said. “It's going to be fun. It's going to be a great challenge. I love firm, fast golf courses. It's going to test every facet of your game. Greens are already firm and fast. I've never seen it this fast, this quick, this early, but I certainly love the challenge.”
As long as DeChambeau is talking like this and playing the way he has over the past year, he will be a favorite to win here. But he’s not alone. The 2015 Masters champion, Jordan Spieth, ended a nearly-four-year drought to win in Texas on Sunday. He almost always plays well here, finishing in the top three four of the first five times he played the Masters.
He is a sentimental choice. So too is Rory McIlroy, who has never won a Masters and is observing an anniversary he would like to forget. It has been 10 years since his final-round collapse in 2011 that led to a disastrous 80. A decade later, will it finally be his turn?
There’s sentiment. Then there’s science. Which brings us back to DeChambeau. As he looked ahead to this week, the game’s mad scientist was also musing about the future.
“I think as time goes on, there's not much more to gain from the technology side of golf club manufacturing,” he said. “There are little things we can do, but where the massive gains will be is in athletes. Once you get somebody out here that's a 7-foot-tall human being and they are able to swing a golf club at 145 miles an hour effortlessly, that's when things get a little interesting. That's when I'm going to become obsolete potentially even.”
That day is not this week, or anytime soon. Right now, DeChambeau is on top of his game, and that should be good enough to win this tournament. If he’s going down rabbit holes, we should definitely follow him.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2021 Masters: Why Bryson DeChambeau will win his first green jacket