Bryson DeChambeau says he was flattered by Rory McIlroy’s admission that recent swing changes he has made have been influenced by the US Open champion.
After missing the cut at The PLAYERS Championship last month, four-time major champion McIlroy conceded that he had followed DeChambeau down a distance-focussed rabbit hole to the detriment of his game.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t anything to do with what Bryson did at the US Open,” said the Northern Irishman. “I think a lot of people saw that and were like, ‘Whoa, if this is the way they’re going to set golf courses up in the future, it helps. It really helps’.”
Speaking ahead of this week’s Masters Tournament, world No.5 DeChambeau admitted he was surprised by McIlroy’s revelation.
“I knew there was going to be people trying it,” he said. “I didn't know who was going to try it. But it's not an easy task. You have to have four or five things go right in order for you to accomplish hitting it farther and hitting it straighter and implementing it on the golf course in a tournament round. And I appreciate Rory's words.
“From my perspective, I wasn't trying to change anybody else's game. I was just trying to play the best golf I could. I knew there would be people there to be influenced. I didn't think it would be Rory. I think he's a pretty smart, talented individual that knows how to play the game potentially better than me. It's honouring and humbling hearing him say it's a difficult task. Not everybody can do it all the time, and from my perspective, I don't know what else to say other than it's pretty cool.”
As has, in very short order, become customary, there is a great deal of fascination and speculation over how DeChambeau might tackle Augusta National this week. He admits that he’s expecting a far different proposition to the one he and his fellow players faced in November.
He said: “I would say for the most part the golf course is going to play different, but there's opportunity where the ball will roll out, one of them being No 2, if you can hit a drive down that hill with spin, it's going to roll pretty far.
“Everybody has been talking about 13. No.13 is pitched in, so if I'm going to fly it into that slope, it's not going to run out that much, even from last November.
"A few other examples. No.9, everybody is going to be rolling down the hill for the most part. No.8, it's still into the hill, you can land it into the hill, but you'll get some more roll out. No.7, you can hit a shorter club and have it roll out, which would be great.
“There's numerous instances on the golf course. Even No.3, you're going to be able to bounce and almost roll it up the hill, at least from my driver, instead of just hitting it and stopping like it did last November. And yeah, there's going to be numerous instances where it's playing a lot differently.
“But it's going to be fun. It's going to be a great challenge. I love firm, fast golf courses.”
DeChambeau is also testing a brand new prototype driver that he intends to put into play this week. You can read more about that here.