The PGA Tour’s return at the Charles Schwab Challenge had lots to purr about. If it wasn’t the stellar leaderboard, it was Jordan Spieth’s return to form, or another Sunday meltdown for Rory McIlroy. But it was the beefed-up Bryson DeChambeau that had most people talking.
The numbers are incredible. Before the PGA Tour was suspended, DeChambeau was averaging 321 yards off the tee – 19 yards more than in 2019.
In the three-month break, he put on 9kg and at Colonial averaged 344 yards with a 190mph ball speed – 15mph faster than the PGA Tour average.
It has, of course, reignited the golf-ball-going-too-far debate, and none have been more outspoken on the subject than Colin Montgomerie.
Speaking of DeChambeau, the Scot told BBC Sport: “He is huge. It’s great to see athleticism in the game but this is a whole new game we are beginning to witness.
“On Friday [at Colonial], Bryson had 10 holes on which he was within 100 yards of the green for his approach. And if you include the four par threes that means there were only four holes on which Bryson was more than 100 yards away for his approach.
“The game has changed dramatically. It’s now brute force and a sand wedge.”
The R&A and USGA released a report in February that said the increase in distance “is detrimental to the game’s long-term future”. And Montgomerie is a fully onboard with changes being made.
“I’m an advocate of what Jack Nicklaus proposes – a tournament ball for professionals, that goes only 80-85% as far,” he said.
“The time has come, because we can’t be building courses at 10,000 yards. We haven’t the money or the space and there are the obvious ecological reasons.
“A tournament ball would be a massive step, because of that term ‘bifurcation‘. Yet haven’t we reached that stage, now?”
Do you agree with Monty about Bryson DeChambeau?
I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again. Why is golf the only sport in which we don’t celebrate its players’ athleticism or pushing the boundaries of what is considered average?
It seems a little unfair to pick on DeChambeau here because, while he led the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and Tee to Green at Colonial, he was also 1st in Scrambling and 2nd in Putts per GIR. I don’t need to remind you that he didn’t win the tournament.
Of all the sticks to beat golf with, this always feels a bit unjust for me.
Anyway, it’s not like we’re short of opinion on the matter. My colleague Dan Murphy is in the same corner as Montgomerie and wrote about why golf should bifurcate three years ago. More recently, meanwhile, Sir Nick Faldo said it’s not the ball that’s the problem, it’s the tee pegs.
So which corner are you in – to bifurcate or not bifurcate? Let us know in the comments below or you can tweet us.
- Related: What is bifurcation?
- Related: Would you use a tournament ball if bifurcation comes in?
- Related: What the stars are saying about golf’s distance debate