|Date: 12-15 November Venue: Augusta National|
|Coverage: Radio and text commentary online with in-play clips. Daily highlights on BBC Two –full details here|
A “soft” Augusta National will greatly enhance Bryson DeChambeau’s chances of winning his first Masters this week, says the US Open champion’s coach.
Cooler, potentially wetter conditions than usual at Augusta this week could see the course play longer than normal.
“The course is going to be super soft, so Bryson carrying it 330 yards is a ginormous advantage,” said Mike Schy.
“When you look at Matthew Wolff, runner-up at the US Open, he was hitting it pretty far, but the fairways were hard and fast, whereas Bryson was carrying it 50 yards past him.
“The guy who can carry it the farthest will have a huge advantage.”
DeChambeau leads the PGA Tour in average driving distance at 344.4 yards this season – world number one Dustin Johnson hits 328.8 and Rory McIlroy 325.3 – and Schy says the absence of patrons and serious rough opens up the course to his advantage.
The world number six has hit a drive 403 yards in practice. Last week he was playing at Augusta with 1988 champion Sandy Lyle and the Scot said on Monday that the American reached the green on the 350-yard par-four third with a three-wood.
There are rumours that DeChambeau may look to clear the pine trees on the dog-leg par-five 13th to reach the 14th fairway, giving himself a better angle into the green.
“I don’t know how else to say it without giving the full deal away. I want it to be kind of a little bit of a surprise,” said DeChambeau.
“For the most part, it’s going to be definitely trying to hit as far out there as possible and give (myself) the best chance to have a wedge into the green, especially on the par fives. I can reach all of them.”
“I think it is doable, because nobody is there to block the ball and end up in a bad spot,” added Schy. “It’s going to be interesting if that’s available. If the ball is able to roll through there then that is definitely in play.”
This will be DeChambeau’s fourth appearance at the Masters, his best finish coming in 2016 when he tied for 21st as the low amateur.
Schy says the 27-year-old “knows and understands” Augusta and has tipped him to win a Green Jacket.
“Bryson loves that place,” he told BBC Sport. “It’s one thing to say ‘I love Augusta’, it’s another thing to say ‘I love it so much I want to know every square inch of it’.
“That’s how Bryson prepares for Augusta. He knows the greens extremely well, he knows the nuances of the golf course extremely well. It’s a place he loves entirely.
“I fully expect him to win a Masters sometime, if not more, because he is just made for that place and potentially more so now with the added length.”
However, Schy says DeChambeau has not become a major winner on brute force alone, with his added distance off the tee improving his confidence and overall game.
“The reality is, the reason Bryson is doing what he is doing is his putting has improved so dramatically in the past year and a half,” said Schy. “What the length has done and the fact he is hitting it so far, it has given him more confidence.
“Confidence translates to approach shots and certainly his putting and how he approaches the game. He is hitting it far and straight too, it has increased his confidence level exponentially.
“He has become a great putter, and in order to win at Augusta you have to be a great putter. He is a top-10 putter in the world right now, I would say probably number one.”