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Bryson DeChambeau offers to help critic measure up

Bryson DeChambeau during 2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Bryson DeChambeau, shown during the 2nd round of the past week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, offers to help Matthew Fitzpatrick hit the ball longer.

In response to Matthew Fitzpatrick, who said the long-driving American is ‘making a mockery of the game,’ DeChambeau suggests that he could help the Englishman add some yardage

Bryson DeChambeau absorbed a few transatlantic shots over the weekend, but he volleyed back long-distance like a champion.

When Matthew Fitzpatrick said that DeChambeau is making “a mockery of the game,” the American bomber offered to help the Englishman level the playing field by showing him how to improve his fitness and add some yardage.

Fitzpatrick was asked Friday after the second round of the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship about DeChambeau and how his 350-yard-plus drives are affecting the game. DeChambeau, 27, said he turned to a strict diet and workout regimen, adding 40 pounds and speed to his swing during the three-month suspension in play for the coronavirus pandemic and now stands 6 feet 1 inch and weighs about 235.

“I’m biased because I’m not quite the longest,” Fitzpatrick, a five-time European Tour winner and a former U.S. Amateur champion, said Friday at Wentworth Club near London. “But in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, fair play to Bryson; he won and shot 6 under. But the fairways were tight as hell. I drove it brilliantly and actually played pretty well [and missed the cut by one stroke], but I was miles behind. He’s in the rough and miles up, and he’s hitting wedges from everywhere. It just makes a bit of a mockery of the game.

“I looked at ShotTracker yesterday, to see some of the places Bryson hit it,” said Fitzpatrick, referring to DeChambeau’s first round of the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas. “He was cutting corners. And when he’s on, there’s no point. It doesn’t matter if I play my best. He’s going to be 50 yards in front of me off the tee, and the only thing where I can compete with him is putting, which is just ridiculous. But we’re going to see people going harder and harder at it. Look at the college kids coming out now, Matt Wolff, Viktor Hovland. They just smash it, basically. Matt is a great player, but it seems to me the game is smash it and get after it and play the next one from wherever it is.”

Matthew Fitzpatrick at 2020 Genesis Invitational at Riviera
Matthew Fitzpatrick, who ranked 12st in driving distance on the PGA Tour at 294.7 yards last season, finds himself 30-40 yards behind the game’s biggest hitters these days.

When he was asked whether the R&A and the USGA, the game’s governing bodies, should intervene, Fitzpatrick said, “I really hope they do. In my opinion, it’s not a skill to hit the ball a long way. I could put on 40 pounds,” said Fitzpatrick, 26, who is listed at 5 feet 10 inches and 155 pounds. “I could go and see a biomechanist. I could gain 40 yards; that’s actually a fact. I could put another 2 inches on my driver. But the skill is to hit the ball straight; that’s the skill. He’s just taking the skill out of it, in my opinion. I’m sure lots will disagree, but it’s just daft.”

DeChambeau, asked for his response at the PGA Tour's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, called Fitzpatrick’s comments “a compliment.”

“A year ago, I wasn't hitting it anywhere near as far as I am today,” said DeChambeau, who led the PGA Tour in driving distance in the 2019-20 season, at 322.1 yards. “It took a lot of work, a lot of hours to work through the night to figure out a lot of this stuff.

“I would say it actually takes more skill to do what I'm doing. My fairway percentages are a little bit down. I still believe I'm hitting it straighter than what I was last year with the distances that I was hitting back then. So, I actually appreciate those comments. I think he's looking out for certain set of players, and I appreciate that.

“I would love to have a conversation with him about it and say, ‘Hey, man, I would love to help out. Why couldn’t you do it, too?’ ”

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