Otago Daily Times

DeCham­beau may un­leash his big gun

- Sports · Golf · United States of America · US Open · Nick Faldo · Rory McIlroy · Ernie Els · Championship · Augusta-Richmond · Georgia, VT · Greg Norman

AU­GUSTA, GE­OR­GIA: Bryson DeCham­beau is con­sid­er­ing us­ing the long­est driver al­lowed by law at this week’s Masters, he said yes­ter­day, a club with a 48 inch (122cm) shaft that could lead to the most fe­ro­cious dis­play of long driv­ing ever seen at a tour­na­ment.

Al­ready the big­gest hit­ter on tour by a con­sid­er­able mar­gin with his cur­rent 45.5­inch weapon, DeCham­beau has been tin­ker­ing with the long club with a goal of un­veil­ing it at Au­gusta Na­tional to­mor­row.

If he does, the game may never be the same.

‘‘I tested it yes­ter­day for the first time,’’ he said of the 48­inch driver.

‘‘And we’ve gone through at least three or four it­er­a­tions of the shaft, and this is the most promis­ing one yet. I did not ex­pect it to work yes­ter­day but it did, and I’m not 100% sure if I’ll put it in play yet just be­cause of the un­known,’’ he told a press con­fer­ence.

Two months re­moved from his six­shot de­mo­li­tion of the field at the US Open, DeCham­beau listed the clubs he used for his se­cond shot at the par­5 holes at Au­gusta dur­ing a prac­tice round on Tuesday.

These in­cluded a pitch­ing wedge no less at the fa­mous 13th, a hole where Nick Faldo struck a two­iron on his way to vic­tory in the fi­nal round in 1996.

A longer shaft al­lows a player to gen­er­ate more club­head speed, but few play­ers have even con­sid­ered us­ing a 48­inch shaft be­cause it is more dif­fi­cult to strike con­sis­tently and ac­cu­rately.

DeCham­beau said that he was gen­er­at­ing a club­head speed of more than 230kmh on the range, a hith­erto un­heard of fig­ure out­side of long driv­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

‘‘Ev­ery day I’m try­ing to get faster and stronger and I’m try­ing to hit it as far as pos­si­ble,’’ he said.

‘‘I re­ally don’t know where the end game is on this.’’

Mean­while, although Rory McIl­roy is fairly con­fi­dent of one day win­ning the Masters and com­plet­ing the ca­reer grand slam, he has been around the block of­ten enough to know that noth­ing is guar­an­teed in golf.

McIl­roy is all too aware that

Greg Nor­man and Ernie Els, among oth­ers, never took the fi­nal step to a Green Jacket.

Nine long years have passed since McIl­roy frit­tered away a four­shot fi­nal round lead at the tour­na­ment and he has com­peted in five Masters since first be­ing af­forded the chance to com­plete the ca­reer grand slam here.

With the 2011 US Open, 2012 and 2014 PGA Cham­pi­onship and 2014 Bri­tish Open un­der his belt, McIl­roy this week gets an­other chance to be­come the sixth player to com­plete the mod­ern grand slam. So does he have a date with des­tiny?

‘‘There are a lot of great peo­ple that have played this game that have never won a Green Jacket,’’ the 31­year­old said at a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

‘‘It’s not a fore­gone con­clu­sion, and I know that. I have to go out and earn it.’’

McIl­roy fielded an in­evitable ques­tion on his thoughts about DeCham­beau, whose un­prece­dented power is all the talk in golf cir­cles.

‘‘If tro­phies were handed out just for how far you hit it and how much ball speed you have, then I’d be wor­ried,’’ McIl­roy said.

‘‘But there’s still a lot of dif­fer­ent as­pects that you need to master in this game.’’ — Reuters

 ??  ?? Bryson DeCham­beau
Bryson DeCham­beau

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