Don’t give Bryson DeChambeau Masters green jacket quite yet

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Maybe they should just cancel the 2020 Masters.

Not because of COVID-19 concerns.

Not because of the soggy weather in the forecast.

Not because the azaleas aren’t in bloom in November.

Not because defending champion and five-time winner Tiger Woods has little chance of winning his sixth this week based on his sporadic and spotty play this year.


If you subscribe to the hysteria surrounding Bryson DeChambeau — with his 30-plus pounds of muscle weight gain, his 200-mph swing speed and preposterous length off the tee — then you would understand if tournament officials simply slipped the green jacket over his broad shoulders before Thursday’s opening round and called it a week before he trashes the place.

If you believe the hype — and DeChambeau is worthy of it with his two wins this year (including the U.S. Open) — then it leads you to believe that no one else has a chance to win the Masters this week.

Here’s the thing, though: Golf doesn’t work that way.

In fact, more often than not, the obvious, presumed winner is not the player hoisting the chalice at the end of the week.

Think back to what Brooks Koepka was doing from 2017 to 2019, winning four major championships in that short span, and ask yourself this: Did you think he was ever going to lose another major?

Same thing for Dustin Johnson, the current No. 1 ranked player in the world. There have been times in the past few years when it looked like he was unbeatable.

Jordan Spieth had a run in 2015-16 when it looked like he was going to dominate the sport because there wasn’t a putt he looked at that didn’t look like it was going in. Spieth is now ranked 80th in the world and hasn’t won since the 2017 British Open.

So many great players make their run, whether for a year, 18 months, even two years. But no one sustains it. This cycle only accentuates the greatness of Woods for the decade-and-a-half that he dominated, winning his first 14 major championships.

DeChambeau is the flavor of the month — and this is not in any way meant to be disrespectful to what he’s doing, because it’s remarkable. But no one solves golf. No one. Not even Woods.

No amount of scientific research guarantees an overcrowded trophy case. No amount of weight training or elevated swing and ball speed guarantees a green jacket and a locker with your name on it inside the fabled Champions Locker Room at Augusta National.

All the power to DeChambeau — and he has a lot of it — but he won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot by being the best putter in the field as much as he did for how far he hit the ball off the tee. And that can be said of almost every player at the major championships they win. Putting wins.

DeChambeau’s assault on the sport — Rory McIlroy called it a “disrupting of the game over the last few months’’ — has drawn a lot of attention, as it should.

Alarmists are concerned his length is going to break courses like Augusta National, make them look like 5,200-yard executive courses, and that the next generation will follow, making some great golf courses obsolete.

“I don’t share that concern,’’ McIlroy said. “If trophies were handed out just for how far you hit it and how much ball speed you have, then I’d be worried. But there’s still a lot of different aspects that you need to master in this game.’’

Justin Thomas called Augusta National “a substantially easier golf course for him than it is for everybody else,’’ because of DeChambeau’s new-found length.

To his credit, though, DeChambeau himself diffused the notion that he can just toss his 47 ½-inch driver out onto the first tee, watch the rest of the field cower in fear and walk away with the green jacket this week.

“Anybody can win this week,’’ DeChambeau said. “You have plenty of unbelievable players that can beat [me] this week. I could be the favorite. [But] I will never look at myself as someone that is better than anyone out here until the scores are written in stone afterwards.

“The attention that I’ve gained has been awesome. I love it. I think it’s fun. But I’ve got to set myself back and go, ‘Look, anybody can win this week.’ I have to keep normalizing to that because that’s what I know is fact.’’

So, the tournament shouldn’t be canceled after all. Play away.

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