Bryson DeChambeau believes staying out of the “diabolical” rough at Royal St George’s will be the key to improving his poor Open Championship record.
DeChambeau powered to a six-shot victory in the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot, but has missed the cut in two of this three Open appearances to date and could only finish 51st at Carnoustie in 2018.
However, the world number six did at least win two-and-a-half points from his three matches in the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham – albeit in a losing cause – and was quick to point out that this is his first Open since adding the 20lbs of muscle which has helped transform his game.
“It’s pretty interesting,” DeChambeau said after a first practice round. “There was a certain amount of holes that you can kind of go after it on, and there’s a couple that you can’t.
“If you hit it in the rough, in the hay, it’s not easy to get out of. I hope I can hit it far enough to where I can wedge it out onto the green if I get good enough lies, but there’s certain lies out there it’s going to be a pitch back to the fairway, and that’s including for everybody.
“On 15 I hit it left and it was in some pretty thick stuff. I tried to get a 7-iron out of it and just didn’t – I could barely get it out. It’s pretty diabolical.
“I think you’ve just got to weigh the risk-reward in those situations. If you get a good lie I’ll be able to get it out of there up next to the green and hopefully save par. But the key is driving it in the fairway this week.”
DeChambeau’s big hitting was a key factor in his US Open victory, the 27-year-old correctly surmising that on a course with narrow fairways and thick rough, being closer to the green would be a massive advantage.
But if Royal St George’s dries out as expected over the coming days, the PGA Tour’s longest hitter would consider copying Tiger Woods’ winning tactics in the 2006 Open at Royal Hoylake and take a far more conservative approach.
“The times I’ve played in the British Opens in the past, I think they’ve been a little wet and windy. I usually struggle on that in general,” he added.
“I think that hopefully if we get a little bit of a dry week, I can get the wind under control in my brain, hopefully I can have a good week.
“I love links golf. I’ve shot low numbers over here before, but it’s about putting it together for four rounds and making sure my game is pretty repeatable.
“I look at Tiger and what he did back in the early 2000s, hitting irons off every tee; that’s an interesting thought process that may come into play here soon.”