AP

Afterthought: DeChambeau looks to regain swagger at Masters

Apr 4, 2022, 12:37 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2022, 12:40 am

Bryson DeChambeau watches his shot from the sixth tee during the third round of the Dell Technologi...

Bryson DeChambeau watches his shot from the sixth tee during the third round of the Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Bryson DeChambeau’s power game hasn’t done him much good at Augusta National.

Now, injuries have cut him down to size.

DeChambeau has been limited by hip and hand ailments in recent months, which leaves him at less than full strength and a bit of an afterthought heading into the Masters.

His doctors even urged him to consider sitting out the first major of the year, to give himself more time to heal.

DeChambeau wouldn’t think of it.

“They recommended that I don’t come back for a while,” he said Monday. “I’m like, ‘Man, this only comes around once a year, and I’ve got to give this a go.'”

DeChambeau certainly has some unfinished business at Augusta National.

In 2020, when the Masters was shifted to November because of the coronavirus pandemic, DeChambeau confidently predicted that his massive bulk and blinding swing would give him a huge edge over the rest of the field.

Coming off a six-stroke romp at the U.S. Open, where he overpowered Winged Foot with his prodigious drives, DeChambeau raised plenty of eyebrows when he said one of golf’s most hallowed courses played like a par-67 for him.

DeChambeau didn’t come close to backing up those bold words. Most memorably, he lost a ball at No. 3 — the shortest par-4 on the course, and one of the holes where he considered par to be a birdie — and was out of contention before he even got to the weekend.

A year ago, when the Masters returned to its usual spot in the spring, DeChambeau turned in another lackluster showing. He posted a pair of 75s over the final two rounds to finish 5 over for the week, a whopping 15 strokes behind winner Hideki Matsuyama.

DeChambeau hit plenty of monstrous shots. He just didn’t know where it was going sometimes — a fatal flaw at a course that demands precision and finesse.

The injuries have humbled DeChambeau, who tossed out an 80% figure when asked how close he was to being 100%.

“The past few weeks have been very, very difficult on me, not playing well and not hitting it anywhere near where I know I should be hitting it in regards to straight,” he said. “Yelling ‘Fore!’ off the tee every time is just not fun.”

After missing the cut at Torrey Pines in late January, DeChambeau headed over to Saudi Arabia and withdrew after one round. He says he slipped on a marble floor playing table tennis and landed on his left hand and left hip.

He didn’t play for nearly two months. He only returned two weeks ago for the Match Play World Golf Championship, where he lost two matches and tied another to finish last in his group.

DeChambeau teed it up again last week at the Texas Open. He again failed to make the cut with rounds of 72 and 76.

Clearly, he’s generated none of the buzz and hype that accompanied him to the last two Masters.

As always, DeChambeau hopes to turn adversity into an advantage. He’s certainly not changing his approach, which still centers around hitting it farther than anyone.

“Everybody has a tough stretch in their career,” he said. “Your lowest moments are your best. Your worst failures are your best teachers. So for me, my greatest failures have been my best moments of learning, and so this is just another one of those.”

He’s had to adjust his practice schedule, not an easy thing to do for a guy who would hit a million balls a day if he could.

“I can’t go all-out,” DeChambeau said. “I can’t do any speed training sessions. I can’t practice for excessive hours (when) I have to figure stuff out. But it’s also allowed me to become a little more — I guess you could say — a little smarter in how I practice. I’ve got to be careful with things and really be efficient and limit the amount of golf balls I can hit.”

In a way, DeChambeau is relishing his new reality. He’s not the center of attention at Augusta National, where all eyes are on Tiger Woods’ possible comeback and the guys who are playing well.

“When you don’t have everybody yelling your name or chanting whatnot, it kind of can be almost relaxing in a sense,” he said. “It’s kind of been nice going into this year’s Masters just peacefully going about my business.”‘

DeChambeau wasn’t able to win the green jacket when his health was good and his confidence soaring.

Can he possibly win with his game in a state of disarray?

Just like that, DeChambeau’s bravado returns.

He never counts himself out.

“We’re finally moving in a direction that I feel is positive for me being able to win again,” DeChambeau said. “I think I can win every time I tee it up.”

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Afterthought: DeChambeau looks to regain swagger at Masters