- Bryson DeChambeau leads the PGA Tour in driving distance at 344.4 yards
- Brooks Koepka returns to the Tour after hip, knee injuries
- Tyrrell Hatton wins, starts golf fashion trend
Bryson DeChambeau said he’s not playing again until the Masters Nov. 12-15 at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Why, with four opportunities before that, starting this week with the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.
Believe it or not, the U.S. Open champion said it’s to work out more, eat more and get bigger — with the intention of trying to overpower Augusta National.
Apparently gaining weight up to 240 pounds during the time the PGA Tour was off for the coronavirus pandemic isn’t enough.
“As I look back at quarantine … I felt like I came back really well not playing any golf, not doing anything,” DeChambeau said after he tied for eighth last week at the TPC Summerlin in the Shriners Hospital Championship for Children. “I feel like my game is good enough right now to do that. I don’t feel like there is going to be a problem coming back.”
DeChambeau said he will be practicing, working out and “doing a lot of speed
But not foot speed — clubhead speed, as he said he will break out a 48-inch shaft in his driver, the longest allowable by the rules, and try to get his clubhead speed up to 200 mph.
“I’ve still got some equipment stuff coming in the next two months. That’s mainly why I’m taking it off,” he said. “I feel like the advantages that I usually have could be much improved upon with the equipment, and we don’t have it yet. But we’re diligently working on it behind the scenes.”
Other top players aren’t going DeChambeau’s route. Dustin Johnson, who had to withdraw from the CJ Cup on Tuesday after testing positive for the coronavirus, said earlier this summer that he felt he didn’t need more distance.
“I’m as long as I need to be,” he said, then went on to win the FedEx Cup.
On Tuesday, CJ Cup defending champion Justin Thomas said he would not be trying to add more weight.
“I’m going to look like a beach ball if I put on 40 pounds.”
Koepka returns — again
Brooks Koepka is playing this week at the tournament where he first injured his left knee.
Except that was when the tournament was played in South Korea.
“Hopefully, that won’t happen again,” Koepka said Tuesday.
Koepka slipped on a piece of wet concrete and tore a tendon in his left kneecap. He missed three months and after the Tour returned in June, he played eight times in 10 weeks to try and catch up in the FedEx Cup standings.
He then injured his left hip and has been out since August. Koepka underwent stem cell treatment on his left knee and said he feels “a million times better.”
“I didn’t know how bad I felt until I actually feel good,” he said. “It’s nice to be back.”
After this week, Koepka will take two weeks off and play in the Houston Open the week before the Masters.
Hatton realizes a dream
Tyrrell Hatton made an unconventional golf fashion statement and reached a goal of his since childhood when he won the European PGA Tour’s BMW PGA Championship by four strokes over Victor Perez last week at Wentworth, in Virginia Water, England.
Hatton, who shot 67 in the final round, won his first professional tournament in his native country.
The BMW is to the European PGA Tour what The Players Championship is to the PGA Tour — not a major but the next best thing. And Hatton had attended the event since he was 5 years old and once almost got nailed with an errant shot hit by Vijay Singh.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Hatton, who made a breakthrough by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March at Bay Hill. “This was a goal of mine, to win this tournament in my career.”
Hatton also raised eyebrows when he wore a hooded sweatshirt during the rounds, protection against cold and rainy weather.
The break with standard golf gear, even in bad weather, stirred some attention. One private English club, Wearside, anticipated Hatton starting a fashion trend and sent out a letter to its members reminding them hoodies were not acceptable garb.
Wolfe earns Tour spots
It was a foregone conclusion once he won his second Korn Ferry Tour event of the season but Jared Wolfe of Nocatee made it official after last week’s Orange County National Championship — he is fifth on the Korn Ferry points list at the end of the 2020 calendar season and along with the players among the top-10, will get exemptions next year into PGA Tour events played opposite World Golf Championships.
Wolfe tied for 52nd at Orange County to give him 16 of 20 cuts made. He earned $303,547 and had a scoring average of 69.75.
Wolfe won in the Bahamas and Wichita. If he remains among the top-25 on the points list through next year’s events, he will earn a PGA Tour card for the 2021-22 season.
It was an odd statistical season for the Louisville, Ky., native but proof that what counts is on the greens. Wolfe was 76th in driving accuracy and 85th in greens in regulation, but was 12th in putting per greens in regulation (1.72), 10th in birdies per round (4.43) and led the Korn Ferry Tour with 22 eagles — opportunities set up by being 12th in driving distance, averaging 313.9 yards per measured drive.
This report contained material from the Associated Press, golfweek.com
Event: CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, Thursday-Sunday, Shadow Creek Golf Course, Las Vegas.
At stake: $9.75 million purse ($1,755,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Justin Thomas.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 5-8 p.m.).
Area players entered: Tyler Duncan, Harris English, Lanto Griffin, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar, Cameron Smith.
Notable: Thomas shot 63 in the second round at Jeju Island, South Korea, and went on to win the tournament for the second time in three years, topping Danny Lee by two shots. … The tournament was moved to Las Vegas because of COVID-19 restrictions in Korea. … Also playing in the limited-field event are Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Bubba Watson.
PGA Tour Champions
Event: Dominion Energy Charity Classic, Friday-Sunday, Country Club of Virginia, Richmond.
At stake: $2 million purse ($300,000 to the winner).
Defending champion: Miquel Angel Jimenez.
TV: Golf Channel (Friday, 2-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2:30-5 p.m.).
Area players entered: Fred Funk, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh.
Notable: Jimenez defeated Tommy Tolles by two shots. … Also playing are Phil Mickelson, John Daly, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen, Colin Montgomerie and Ernie Els. … Els won last week in Cary, N.C., on a 40-foot birdie putt on the final hole.