The golfing world is on high alert after Bryson DeChambeau validated his obsession with distance and ‘exposed’ the sport in a frightening way.
DeChambeau, golf’s new must-watch star since the coronavirus pandemic break, reigned supreme after he captured his first major golf title after firing a three-under par 67 to win the 120th US Open and humble a relentless Winged Foot layout.
The 27-year-old, known for his scientific approach to golf and a bulked-up driving dominance, hit only 23 fairways for the week but finished 72 holes on six-under par 274 thanks to Sunday's only sub-par round at the formidable Mamaroneck, New York, layout.
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The Masters is coming up in November and, if there was ever a course ripe for DeChambeau's power game, it's Augusta National.
"If he can do it around here, I'm thinking of Augusta and thinking of the way you sort of play there," Rory McIlroy said.
If the future of golf was on display at Winged Foot, it's one a lot of people in the game can do without.
A beefed-up DeChambeau overwhelmed a venerable golf course in a way that was once as unimaginable as playing a US Open with no spectators.
The physics graduate came in vowing to hit it as far as he could for as long as he could.
Then he went out and did just that, with no apologies to the ankle-deep rough and slick greens that took a piece out of every other player in the field.
He may not have embarrassed the host USGA the way it likes to embarrass players at its championships, but DeChambeau understands what the stuffed shirts must be thinking.
"He's hitting it forever. That's why he won," he said.
"I mean, it was a tremendous advantage this week. I kept telling everybody it's an advantage to hit it farther."
Indeed, DeChambeau hit only 23 of 56 fairways off the tee, but it hardly mattered.
The ball flew so far that DeChambeau was often left with little more than a pitch out of the rough to the green.
DeChambeau baffles golf world with new formula
How good was he?
In the pressure of the final group in the final round, DeChambeau shot a nearly flawless three-under 67 - the only round under par by anyone at Winged Foot on Sunday.
He was the only player not to shoot over par in any round and the only man to finish in red figures.
"It's not about hitting fairways," Xander Schauffele said.
"It's about hitting on the correct side of the hole and hitting it far so you can kind of hit a wedge instead of a six iron out of the rough."
Schaeffele went one step further to claim DeChambeau could be ‘exposing’ the game better than anyone right now.
“Revolutionise? Maybe he’s just exposing our game,” American Xander Schauffele said.
“If he keeps hitting it further and further, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to win many more US Opens.”
That's not the kind of game that usually wins US Opens, which are set up to reward players who drive it in the fairway and keep their approaches below the hole.
But that formula may be outdated now that a player who set about to change the parameters of the game did just that in winning the national championship.
"Bryson is playing his own little golf course at the moment," Louis Oosthuizen said.
Turns out bulking up works in golf.
"This is validation on steroids for Bryson and the second guessers are going to have to rethink," NBC analyst and former major champion Paul Azinger said as DeChambeau made his way up the 18th fairway with a six-shot lead.
That there's a distance debate in golf is nothing new, of course.
It's been ongoing since John Daly overwhelmed the field to win the PGA Championship in 1991 and intensified with the arrival of Tiger Woods, who was so long that they lengthened Augusta National to try to make things fairer for everyone else.
The USGA and R&A are so concerned about the impact of long hitting on the game that they issued a report earlier this year that said, in part, that advances in distance off the tee were threatening to "undermine the core principle that the challenge of golf is about needing to demonstrate a broad range of skills to be successful."
Now they may have to update that report.
It was done before DeChambeau added 14 kilograms during the pandemic break and began belting golf balls further than he ever has.
It was impressive to some, worrying to others.
Golf has always evolved, from hickory shafted clubs and gutta percha balls to today's big headed drivers and balls that fly far and stop fast.
But the beat-down DeChambeau gave Winged Foot might have been a tipping point in the debate over just how far the evolution of the game is allowed to go.
"It's tough to rein in athleticism," DeChambeau said.
"We're always going to be trying to get fitter, stronger, more athletic, and Tiger inspired this whole generation to do this, and we're going to keep going after it.
"I don't think it's going to stop.
"Will they rein it back? I'm sure. I'm sure something might happen.
"But I don't know what it will be.
"I just know that length is always going to be an advantage."
That figures to be the case in November at the Masters, where DeChambeau is already the betting favourite in Las Vegas.
And the distance debate will get even louder if he starts adding major championships almost as quickly as he packed on the muscle.
His first major championship came in relative silence, applauded by only a smattering of workers and officials off the 18th green at Winged Foot.
But the way he won it sent a loud message through the sport.