Bryson DeChambeau wants to break golf at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Jay Busbee
·4 min read
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This is a column about golf, but it’ll take us a minute to get there. First, explosions.

It’s my steadfast belief that the greatest scene in movie history is the vault heist in Fast Five. Either that, or the portal scene at the end of Avengers: Endgame. My sole criterion for quality in a movie: an ECPM (Explosions and Curses Per Minute) rating of at least 10. I think “Appetite for Destruction,” an album that pummels you with a pool cue, is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. And I’m looking forward to “Godzilla vs. Kong,” where skyscraper-sized monsters punch each other in the face, more than I did the birth of at least one of my kids:

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

All of which is to say: I want to see Bryson DeChambeau drive a golf ball to the freaking moon.

Golf’s version of the strange neighbor who might be a genius and might also be mixing bootleg explosives, DeChambeau is back to talking about blasting drives beyond human comprehension again. You’ll remember it wasn’t so long ago that ol’ Golf Hulk was talking about carving up Augusta with a 48-inch driver. That didn’t go so well, but the fact that he’s still the reigning U.S. Open champion gives him more credibility.

Now, he’s casting a covetous eye on the green at Bay Hill’s 6th. In town for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, DeChambeau sits right now in third place, one stroke behind leaders Rory McIlroy and Corey Conners. And before the weekend’s out, DeChambeau might just try one of those previously-unthinkable golf shots that are starting to edge into the realm of possibility.

The par-5 6th at Bay Hill is 555 yards, but that’s if you play the hole like sane people do and work your way around the reverse-C-shaped hole via land. If you go over the water, it’s “only” 340 yards, tee to green:

Via Bay Hill Golf Club
Via Bay Hill Golf Club

DeChambeau gave it a run on Wednesday, though hitting into the wind made it just about impossible:

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Thing is, this idea isn’t completely barking mad. DeChambeau currently ranks first on Tour with an average driving distance of 323.9 yards. (He ranks 125th on Tour in driving accuracy, which means he’s very much of the “well, it’s down there somewhere, we’ll look for it when we get there” mindset. I too play golf this way, though my drives tend to stay in the same area code.)

Thursday, DeChambeau opted for a more conventional route, working his way around the outside of the lake en route to a birdie 4:

(PGA Tour)
(PGA Tour)

Standing on the tee, he reached into his bag and pulled out an iron — much to the disapproval of the crowd — then grinned and unleashed the big dog. That drive off the tee? A mere 309 yards.

What about the rest of the weekend? Well, winds are expected to run in the 10-15 mph range out of the northeast, which would be at DeChambeau’s back. (One caveat: John Daly tried to drive the green in 1998, but put six balls in the water en route to carding an 18. Yes, 18.)

“If it’s more downwind,” DeChambeau said of the 6th after the round, “I’ll be able to do it [Friday], hopefully, or some time during the weekend.”

Whether or not he reaches the green in one this weekend, DeChambeau remains the equivalent of Patrick Mahomes under center or Steph Curry outside the arc — you don’t know what’s going to happen next, you just know that you have to watch.

Now and for the foreseeable future, DeChambeau’s going to remain the most interesting player on Tour. At least until Godzilla and Kong take up the game.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 04: Bryson DeChambeau of the United States plays his shot from the 14th tee during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 04, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 04: Bryson DeChambeau of the United States plays his shot from the 14th tee during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 04, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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