Golf

Scientific approach pays off for ‘Incredible Bulk’ at the US Open

DeChambeau clinches US Open, his first Major, after putting on 14kg of muscle

Bryson DeChambeau's unorthodox style was validated yesterday morning (Singapore time), after the power-driving "mad scientist" of the PGA Tour claimed the US Open by a definitive six-stroke margin and silenced his sceptics.

The 27-year-old American, who began the day two shots back of overnight leader Matthew Wolff, clinched his first Major with a mix of jaw-dropping drives and clutch putts, shooting a virtually flawless three-under 67 to reach six under for the tournament at Winged Foot.

Wolff (75), appearing in his first US Open and second Major, was one shot back of DeChambeau at the turn, but the 21-year-old fell apart over a back nine that included two bogeys and a double-bogey.

A fearless DeChambeau, whose final round included the eagle, two birdies and a bogey, attacked at every chance and, for his efforts, was the only player to break par in the final round as he moved four rungs up the world ranking to No. 5.

Since he unveiled his single-length set of clubs at the start of his pro career, the former physics major has embarked on a one-man mission to revolutionise golf, facing plenty of doubts in a sport which values tradition.

His most recent experiment was perhaps his most ambitious yet: a physical transformation that saw DeChambeau pack on roughly 14kg of muscle with a high-protein diet and hours spent at the gym during the PGA Tour hiatus this year, in order to add velocity to his drive.

"I got a lot stronger, worked out every day, been working out every day and, all of a sudden, not because of clubs, but because of me, I was able to gain 20, 25 yards," said DeChambeau, who also earned the nickname "Incredible Bulk".

SCEPTICAL

Four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, who finished tied for eighth at Winged Foot Golf Club, told reporters he was initially sceptical that DeChambeau's hard-charging approach would work in the long term, after playing with him at Colonial in June.

"I sort of said, 'OK, wait until he gets to a proper golf course, he'll have to rein it back in'," McIlroy said.

"This is as proper as they come and look what's happened. Yeah, he's got full belief in what he's doing and it's pretty impressive."

Unlike some of his past experiments - including his now-banned on-course compass and the "side-saddle" putting technique he tried and quickly abandoned in 2017 - DeChambeau said this new approach was here to stay, as he aims to add at least another 4kg before the Masters in November.

"I'm definitely changing the way people think about the game. Now, whether you can do it, that's a whole different situation," he said.

"There are a lot of people that are going to be hitting it far," added DeChambeau, who plans to try out a 48-inch (1.2 metre) driver next week.

That's another 2.5 inches on a club that's already slightly above the average.

"There are a lot of young guns that are unbelievable players, and the next generation that's coming up into golf hopefully will see this and go, hey, I can do that too."

Asked if DeChambeau is revolutionising the sport, world No. 8 Xander Schauffele, who finished fifth at the US Open, said: "Maybe he's just exposing our game. If he keeps hitting it further and further, I don't see why he wouldn't be able to win many more US Opens." - REUTERS, AFP

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