The Bryson DeChambeau muscle show began at Riviera even before the first round with his driver gaining new heights on the range

In Sports Illustrated top 50 fittest athletes, 25 men and 25 women, only one golfer made either list with Bryson DeChambeau slotting his new-found bulk in at No. 24.

The 26-year-old is looking to add something like two and a half stones in a bid to add some extra yards and, going by the evidence of the practice ground at Riviera, it’s paying off. According to some Golf Channel mathematics to carry the top of the range takes a 252-yard carry and DeChambeau was now able to pull it off.

“I couldn’t do that last year,” he said. “Max, probably middle of the net. It’s pretty crazy that I can do that now. The game changes when you’re doing that.”

With a slightly heavier headed driver, a bit of wind behind and a ball speed of 189mph at times DeChambeau was able to fly it out of the grounds.

On the course he is now up to 6th on the Driving Distance stats at 314.1 yards which is nearly 12 yards longer than last year on the PGA Tour.

In Phoenix he led the driving stats for combined distance and accuracy at 319.6 yards with nothing more than a 6-iron into the 577-yard 15th.

“There’s been a massive improvement in accuracy,” DeChambeau explained. “With that added length and accuracy, I’m going to be up there quite a bit.”

According to his Ryder Cup foursomes partner, a statement that still feels strange, Phil Mickelson explained this year that he believes there is a turning point at a certain speed with the driver, something that doesn’t tally with DeChambeau’s quest to go up and up and up.

“There is a point of diminishing return at about 182 miles-an-hour ball speed, which is going to equate to about 122 mph clubhead speed,” he said. “You usually have about a 1.5 smash factor, 150 per cent energy transfer. It’s a little bit less the faster you swing the ball.

“But 182 mile-an-hour ball speed with a driver, you start going faster than that, you start losing a little bit of control and it almost has a diminishing return and that’s why, that’s, you’ll find all the top guys right in that area. I was struggling to get 170. For me to hit 182, 183 now I can do it will. So that doesn’t hold me back.”

But DeChambeau and Mickelson were in agreement over the left-hander’s reaction to the recent driving distance report that it would be a shame to see athletes getting punished for their gains in distance.

“I agree with that statement,” DeChambeau said. “Whenever you’re trying to change the game because of 500 people in the world, that to me is a little unfortunate. I hope that they would look at it in a different light.”

But he did foresee a future where there would be “more of a Happy Gilmore setting, where you’re going to have guys hitting it that far and driving greens and you can’t do anything to protect it. Just hit it as hard as possible to get it as close as possible.

“But that depends on the course,” he added. “At Erin Hills, you can do that. Here [at Riviera], you can’t. But the courses that will stand the test of time are going to be the ones that have the longest rough and the tightest fairways and slopiest, fastest greens. If you build golf courses that are long and wide open, you’re going to have guys that bomb it.”

And we’ll have to extend all our driving ranges too.

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