- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
DETROIT – Frank Sinatra sang that luck be a lady tonight. Hall of Fame golfer Gary Player said that luck is the residue of design and film producer Samuel Goldwyn often is credited with saying that the harder he worked, the luckier he got.
Bryson DeChambeau apparently believes in the old saying it’s better to be lucky than good. Asked what went wrong when he shot a final-round 77 and blew a lead on the back nine on Sunday of the U.S. Open two weeks ago, DeChambeau, who was attempting to defend his title, chalked it up to bad luck.
“People don’t realize how much luck plays a big factor,” he said. “You can control a lot, but at the end of the day, still luck is a huge component of it.”
It begged the follow-up question: Is DeChambeau feeling lucky this week?
“I hope so,” he said. “Hope I get a little lucky, it would be awesome.”
DeChambeau is back at Detroit Golf Club this week to defend his title at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He bludgeoned the course last year, leading the field in driving distance with an eye-popping average of 329.8 yards en route to carding 23-under 265 to win by three strokes. Of all courses played on the PGA Tour, it was the longest average in four years (not counting events played at elevation), and more than 10 yards longer than the second-longest hitter, Cameron Champ.
DeChambeau’s final three drives? They traveled a combined 1,055 yards. It was a victory that validated DeChambeau’s decision to bulk up and train as if he were a long-drive contestant.
“It was very important. It was a milestone to show everybody that this is a different way that I can do it and still win, so I was pretty proud of that,” DeChambeau said. “It gave me the confidence to win the U.S. Open knowing that I can play a game that’s not normal or is a little unique and different.”
DeChambeau didn’t just outmuscle the field; he out-putted them too. He led the field at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Strokes Gained: Putting, becoming the first player in the ShotLink era (2004-present) to finish first in both SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Putting. Here’s the scary thing: DeChambeau claimed he’s hitting it even farther and straighter than a year ago.
“If I can take advantage of the wedges, I’ll give myself a good chance,” he said.
DeChambeau’s length could be an even more decisive advantage this year at a waterlogged Detroit Golf Club. The course has been soaked by nearly six inches of rain since June 21, with 4.25 inches falling on Friday night alone. Patrick Reed recounted seeing photos of the course the next day and marveled at the job the course superintendent and his staff has done to ready the course.
“When they showed me a picture off of 10 tee, you saw the tee box and it just looked like a lake. You couldn’t see the bunkers that you’re trying to carry on the left or the ones on the right. And 18, you saw a little bit of grass, but everything was under water,” he said. “To come out and play and just find a couple wet spots there in the rough, it was very impressive.”
Reed has played here all three years and noted that the fairways played like concrete with soft greens the first year when Nate Lashley shot 25-under 263. Last year, the course still played short, but the greens were firmer as DeChambeau won with a total two strokes higher. This year, drives won’t be bounding down the fairway, leading to longer approach shots, but the field will be throwing darts at soft greens. Expect another birdie barrage and for the conditions to play right into DeChambeau’s wheelhouse.
“It’s huge,” he said of his distance advantage to carry bunkers off the tee and potentially have short-iron approaches where others may need long irons or woods. Reed is counting on the setup to be tough but fair to neutralize the advantage of bombers.
“They don’t want to see another 25-under winning score,” Reed said. “They’re going to tuck some pins, put them closer to slopes.”
What he won’t be counting on is luck being a critical factor.
“The guy who wins golf tournaments is usually the guy who’s playing best that week and is out there doing everything a little better than everyone else,” Reed said. “That’s what it takes to win golf tournaments. Four days, 72 holes, you’re going to get good bounces, you’re going to get bad bounces. It’s the guy who’s playing consistently the best golf that week that’s going to win that golf tournament.”