Having overpowered Winged Foot to win the US Open Bryson DeChambeau now heads the US Masters odds, but is he a good thing at Augusta? Steve Rawlings looks at the antepost Masters betting
"Bryson is going to experiment by extending his driver shaft to 48 inches and while the number of people that dislike him may not be trending down at much of a rate, the number of people that scoff at his innovations is falling rapidly."
Golf's latest major champion, Bryson DeChambeau, certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. His quirky style and innovative thinking aren't the norm but it's some of his on-course antics that really turn people off.
Whether it was his petulance when he lost the European Open two years ago, or his complaint that his brand was damaged when he was filmed hitting his club in anger in a bunker, at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July, or his ridiculous attempt to get a free drop from a stinker of a lie at the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational in August, because of the presence of fire ants, Bryson has undoubtedly irritated plenty of people at various times.
Add in his almost snail-like pace of play and the justification for the bad press is there, but a lot of the dislike comes from jealously and an aversion to change. Yes, he's slow, yes, he's been a sore loser and yes, he pushes the rules but then, he always pushes the boundaries, that's just what he does and he's already plotting the next positive incremental change.
"Length is going to be a big advantage there. I know that for a fact. It's always an advantage pretty much anywhere."
Bryson is going to experiment by extending his driver shaft to 48 inches and while the number of people that dislike him may not be trending down at much of a rate, the number of people that scoffed at his innovations is falling rapidly. DeChambeau is a game changer and once he's worked it all out and the science is applied, he usually gets it right.
DeChambeau averaged 325 yards off the tee at Winged Foot - the longest of any US Open winner in history. Only a fool would bet against him driving it even further at Augusta with his big new stick but whether that will be enough to see him win back-to-back majors is debatable.
It wasn't just his length that won him the title at Winged Foot - far from it. Merely bombing it miles is never going to be enough. DeChambeau won thanks to his length, his approach play (ranked first for Strokes Gained Approach), terrific scrambling (fifth for Scrambling) and a reasonable week with the flat-stick. Whether he can replicate that in November is debatable. His touch around the greens is very in-and-out and he ranks poorly for Scrambling more often that not. And Dechambeau's form figures at Augusta aren't particularly inspiring either. In three previous visits he's never finished inside the top-20 and he's only broken 70 there once.
Bryson was the low amateur in 2016, when he finished 21st, and that's his best performance to date. He was a never in-contention 38th in 2018, when he had a poor week with the putter, and although he fired 66 in round one to tie the lead with Brooks Koepka, he drifted away to finish 29th last year.
That 66 is obviously encouraging but one could easily put it down to a purple patch on the back-nine which saw him birdie six of his last seven holes and the fact that he was beaten so far when ranking as high as fourth for Putting Average, is a bit of a concern.
What Bryson and others do in the next couple of months will obviously determine whether his price moves up or down, but given his Augusta form, things will need to move quite radically in his favour to see his price contact much further. He was generally a 30.029/1 chance at Winged Foot and I'm inclined to think he's short enough right now at around 12.011/1.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter
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