Bryson DeChambeau’s powerful Masters warning: ‘20 years ahead of everybody’

He, too, has surprised himself on how rapidly he’s ascended into one of the most compelling figures in the sport with his bulked-up frame, off-the-charts swing and ball speed and Herculean length off the tee.

At the Shriners tournament in Las Vegas last year, DeChambeau told reporters he was going to take a few months off from competition and, when he returned, he was going to look and play like a different person.

He was not lying.

Since he turned up at the Colonial in June, the PGA Tour’s first tournament of its restart following the COVID-19 pause, DeChambeau arrived looking like a different person, with more than 30 pounds of muscle added to his frame, and what has happened to him since then can be described only as a whirlwind.

He won in Detroit and then won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot by six shots.

Now he comes to the Masters as the prohibitive favorite and the player everyone is talking about.

“I did not think I would get this type of result this quickly,’’ DeChambeau said Tuesday in advance of this week’s Masters. “In the world of sports, stuff like that doesn’t happen unless there’s a super-dedicated individual that has figured out some unique things that have allowed me to have the gains, recovery and strength that I have been able to gain. We are 20 years ahead of everybody in the physical therapy and muscle therapy and training world.’’

DeChambeau, who leads the PGA Tour in driving distance with a 344.4-yard average, doesn’t want to stop there. He’s striving for more.

“Every day, I’m trying to get faster and stronger and I’m trying to hit it as far as possible,’’ he said. “I have no idea where the endgame is on this. I’ve only seen improvements in strength increase, I’ve obviously felt better every day, so I really don’t know where the endgame is on this.

“I am hitting it further now than I was at Shriners [his last tournament, last month] and I am hitting it further than [I was] the U.S. Open [in September]. And I’m trying a driver this week that may help me hit it even a little bit further, so we’ll see.’’

DeChambeau said he’s not yet sure whether he’s going to put the 48-inch driver into play this week, that he’s still tinkering with what shaft performs best.

This much is certain: Everyone in golf, most notably his peers on the PGA Tour, is interested in what DeChambeau is doing. He’s become must-see TV.

“It’s a substantially easier golf course for him than it is for everybody else,’’ Justin Thomas said Tuesday. “Once he starts messing with that longer driver and has a little bit more free time, then as crazy as it is, he might be able to hit it further. Pretty much every hole he’s going to have a pretty distinct advantage over everybody.’’

Phil Mickelson called DeChambeau, “a huge asset to the game of golf because we have a lot of people talking about what he’s doing.’’

“He’s thinking outside the box and he’s willing to put in the work to accomplish it. I’ve had a chance to see how hard he works in other areas — whether it’s brain waves and his mental and cognitive function or what he eats. He works as hard as anybody does and thinks outside of the box in what is possible within the rules to create an advantage, and I have a lot of respect for that.

“I mean, the guy has made some massive changes that has required a lot of work and scrutiny, and he’s putting himself out there and doing it. I hope it pays off for him at some point like it did at the U.S. Open. He’s going to end up winning here [at the Masters] at some point, whether it’s this week or in the future. He’s got the game and the brilliance, the work ethic, dedication.’’

Tiger Woods, who often plays practice rounds with DeChambeau, said he respects what he’s done because, “he’s put in the time, he’s put in the work.’’

“What Bryson has done has been absolutely incredible, and we have all been amazed at what he’s been able to do in such a short span of time,’’ Woods said. “It’s never been done before.’’

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