Bryson DeChambeau channeling ‘Happy Gilmore’ in planning to break out 48-inch driver at 2020 Masters

It will take several years before the Bryson DeChambeau Effect is fully realized, but on Wednesday, he gave an indication of where he’s going after a 2020 U.S. Open win at Winged Foot Golf Club. That path includes a 48-inch driver (currently sitting at 45.5 inches) and some inspiration from “Happy Gilmore” ahead of the 2020 Masters.

DeChambeau returns this week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where he is a past champion. He said he’s going to try and drive four of the par-4 greens and was hitting 360-yard drives into the driving range net early in the week. And while what he does at TPC Summerlin is of some interest, what he does in five weeks at Augusta National Golf Club could be industry-shifting.

“I’m looking forward to trying to put in a 48-inch driver and see what that can do for the golf course and what opportunities it will present for me,” said DeChambeau of the Masters in November. “It’s going well. I think there is a lot of … I guess you could say advantages to having a 48-inch driver and being able to put it in play and keep it in play. So working on that. Still need to get some things worked out, but so far it’s been pretty amazing.”

Thus far, DeChambeau has leveraged several things — including, but not limited to, his body, his golf ball, his swing, his fitness and his eating — to become the longest player on the planet. Scarily (?), the actual apparatus he uses to bash the golf ball has to date not been one of those things. Now, it apparently will be.

DeChambeau said he will not implement the 48-inch driver before Augusta, which only ratchets up the intrigue around somebody who was already the most intriguing player in the field. 

He comes into this week at the Shriners averaging 325 yards off the tee this season, 3 more yards than last season, with plenty of room to increase that number in the months ahead. It’s not unreasonable to think he might average (average!) 330 yards or 335 yards off the tee in the 2020-21 PGA Tour season.

All of that is fine, of course, but long-drive champions don’t win PGA Tour events — great golfers do.

“At the same point in time it’s about putting, chipping, wedging,” said DeChambeau. “You still got to do everything else really well.”

Still, as was the case at the U.S. Open, DeChambeau has eliminated longer irons on every hole except potentially on the par-3s. On the par-4s and par-5s, though? He rarely (if ever) hits them. This is the whole point, of course, and it has become his ethos, his brand.

Nothing is off-limits, apparently. And that’s the scary thing as an arms race heats up. DeChambeau will stop at nothing — literally nothing — to continue to be the longest, brashest golfer on the planet. He won’t win every tournament this way, but he’ll win a lot as long as his short game is decently sharp.

Some of this will come to a head at Augusta as his cartoonish ways collide with the most classic tournament in the country. Maybe this will amount to nothing, but it won’t be because Bryson backed up or laid down. The future possibilities are endless, as DeChambeau indicated on Wednesday from Las Vegas, and I’m not sure we’re fully ready for the direction this entire thing is going to go.

“You know, I watched Happy Gilmore a little while ago and just re-inspired me to try and hit it as far as possible,” he said. “Yeah, it’s pretty good.”

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