Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau believes the length of Royal Greens Golf & Country Club tee-to-green puts him in prime position to pip world number one Dustin Johnson and claim victory at next month’s Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers.
The 2020 US Open champion – famed worldwide for his colossal tee-shots, the longest in Tour history – is King Abdullah Economic City-bound for his second crack at taking the Saudi crown that alluded him in 2019 despite four rounds in the 60s.
That time around he was pipped to the title by 2020 Masters champion and the current best golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson, who returns alongside DeChambeau and a who’s-who of the biggest names in golf for the third annual hosting of the European Tour event next month.
However, 27-year-old DeChambeau heads to the Kingdom a whole different golfer this year, having not only transformed his physique and game to out-drive all other professional players, but as a Major champion, after clinching the US Open back in September.
He believes these two factors could prove critical in his quest for his first place in two weeks’ time.
He said: “I feel like I have an even better advantage on the golf course because it is a bit of a bomber's paradise, and I love that opportunity.
“When I played there, I finished sixth. I have a lot of great memories about the golf course and the character of the holes and being on the Red Sea, it was pretty unique and something that I want to experience again.
“I will tell you, though, that hitting it far there will be an advantage with some of the par 5s and I think it will fit me well, a lot better than the other golf courses.”
Much of the build-up around November’s delayed hosting of the Masters was focused on DeChambeau and how the Augusta course suited his big-hitting style of play.
However, it was to be his 2018 Ryder Cup teammate Dustin Johnson who would eventually come out on top, further cementing his position as the world’s number one golfer. The fact that he will be teeing off against ‘DJ’ next month is something that only adds to the excitement for DeChambeau, as he continues on his own mission to one day achieve top spot in World Golf rankings.
“Having a world No. 1 playing puts a little fire my belly,” said DeChambeau. “I want to go over there and play and beat him. I was fortunate enough to clip him by one or two in Kapalua and if I keep doing that, if I keep beating him in every event, eventually the tables will turn.”
In his quest to be the world’s best, DeChambeau has famously reworked his entire game – and physique. In 2020 alone he gained 40 pounds to build his strength, and as a result extended his length off the tee by anywhere from 30 to 70 yards.
This will be the first time he is played in Saudi Arabia since, and although the tournament will be held without fans due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will be shown live on KSA Sports, and DeChambeau is gearing-up to show the Kingdom’s people exactly what he has been working towards.
He explained: “The biggest change is the size – my size has definitely increased, and also my speed has definitely increased. When you see me swing the golf club it a lot faster and it is a little different than the last time.
“And I play the game a little differently. I try and bomb it out there and wedge it close and still make a lot of putts. I am going to give myself a lot of opportunities for birdie. So when I get there, I think people will see these big drives that are going quite a way, and they will be like, “Whoa, that's really unique and different and pretty cool to see and I think people will appreciate that.”
Away from showing off his new look game, DeChambeau is also equally as thrilled about getting back to a part of the world he felt truly blessed to experience on his previous visit.
“I was incredibly excited to play in the inaugural event, and I really believe that [Saudi Arabia] is a growing place, and it is something that's going to be pretty special in years to come,” said DeChambeau.
“Saudi is a place where I really feel like if we bring a lot of great players and we keep trying to develop that place, we can grow the game of golf in a whole unique way. That's something I'm looking forward to try and keep doing.”