Bryson DeChambeau: “I do appreciate Rory’s comments, it’s kind of a sentiment almost and something that keeps me going every day”; watch the final round of The Players Championship live on Sky Sports The Players from 1.30pm on Sunday

Last Updated: 14/03/21 12:07am











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Bryson DeChambeau reflects on a better ball-striking round at The Players and looks ahead to another final-day pairing with Lee Westwood

Bryson DeChambeau reflects on a better ball-striking round at The Players and looks ahead to another final-day pairing with Lee Westwood

Bryson DeChambeau has said he appreciates Rory McIlroy’s comments about trying to emulate him by increasing his speed and distance.

After missing the cut at The Players Championship, McIlroy revealed he had developed swing flaws during speed training sessions last autumn, a course of action he decided to take after watching the manner in which DeChambeau powered his way to a six-shot victory at the US Open.

DeChambeau was asked how he felt about McIlroy’s comments after carding a five-under 67 in the third round at TPC Sawgrass to trail Lee Westwood by two shots.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t anything to do with what Bryson did at the US Open. I think a lot of people saw that and were like, if this is the way they’re going to set golf courses up in the future, it helps. It really helps.
“The one thing that people don’t appreciate is how good Bryson is out of the rough. Not only because of how upright he is but because his short irons are longer than standard, so he can get a little more speed through the rough than us, than other guys.
“And I thought being able to get some more speed is a good thing, and maybe to the detriment of my swing, I got there, but I just need to maybe rein it back in a little bit.”

McIlroy on being inspired by DeChambeau

“I appreciate it, first off,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to influence anybody. I was just trying to play my own game and hit it as far as I possibly could. And I knew there was going to be an effect.

“I didn’t know what it would be or who would be affected by it, but again, golf is a weird game.

“This journey that I’m on is not taken lightly. I’ve tried to figure out a bunch of different variables that you have to in order to hit it straight, hitting it really far.

DeChambeau emerged from golf's break due to the pandemic with a new beefed-up physique

DeChambeau emerged from golf’s break due to the pandemic with a new beefed-up physique

“I knew that there would be some people that would try and some people it would potentially not work for them and some people it may help them. So I really don’t know that, but I do appreciate Rory’s comments, it’s kind of a sentiment almost and something that keeps me going every day.”

As for his own game this week, DeChambeau believes missing it in the right places has been the key for him so far.

DeChambeau reacts after holing a crucial putt for par from 15 feet at the 18th at TPC Sawgrass on Saturday

DeChambeau reacts after holing a crucial putt for par from 15 feet at the 18th at TPC Sawgrass on Saturday

“I think there’s been a couple of holes where I haven’t missed in the right place, but on average I’ve missed it in the correct places, and when I haven’t, for the most part, I’ve been able to get up-and-down. That’s what you need to do to win golf tournaments.

“Putting has always been pretty good and my driving was a little bit better today, I hope I can keep moving forward with that and working on it in the right way and giving myself a better feel for tomorrow.”

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DeChambeau and Westwood also went toe-to-toe in the final group at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, with the American turning a one-shot deficit into a one-shot victory.

“[Lee is] Mr Consistency,” said DeChambeau. “His driving is impeccable, his iron play is impeccable, and he makes putts when he needs to. Fortunately for me last week I was able to get the job done, and I think tomorrow is going to be an incredible battle.”

Spain’s Jon Rahm matched DeChambeau’s 67 on Saturday and is four behind Westwood going into the final round.

The Spaniard revealed, though, that he has no plans to try and change his swing to chase speed and distance as McIlroy has done.

Jon Rahm held the 54-hole lead at The Players in 2019

Jon Rahm held the 54-hole lead at The Players in 2019

“Not in a way where I’m going to go out of my way trying to gain a lot of muscle or change my body constitution in any way,” he replied, when asked if he had done anything to try and emulate DeChambeau.

“I’m already a good striker. Usually I’m up there in the rankings when it comes to strokes gained off the tee and tee to green. I feel like the way I can do it, and I started doing it recently, but not by much, is just slowly you’ve got to move the meter, that limit, just a little bit higher.

“So without trying to get too much muscle on me, just got to swing hard. Just go to the range, maybe 10, 15 drivers as hard as you can swing it, don’t care where it goes, and hopefully raise that limit. I feel like that’s what you can do.

“I think that’s what Rory told me he’s doing. I’ll see if I do it or not. I’m pretty comfortable where I am and feel like I hit it far enough already, but extra distance is never bad.”

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