DeChambeau snaps driver at PGA Championship
August 06, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Bryson DeChambeau would go on to make par on the 7th hole after snapping his driver at Harding Park. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO – It was bound to happen.
So said Bryson DeChambeau after his incredible swing speed and power combined to snap his driver on the seventh hole of his opening round at the PGA Championship.
DeChambeau, who over the last six months has added 20 pounds of muscle to his frame and increased his driving distance to record efforts, could only look on in shock at first after the shaft of his driver shattered and the head fell off.
But because the club was not damaged through anger or abuse the six-time TOUR winner was able to get a new shaft from his car to ensure he wasn’t shortchanged for the remainder of the round.
“During the course of playing the stroke the club busted into pieces and we do have the local rule in effect when that happens, the player would be allowed to replace the club,” rules official Brad Gregory explained.
“Starting in 2019 this is a local rule that’s in effect for the Championship for when a club is significantly damaged… and breaking into pieces would meet that standard.”
The incident happened after DeChambeau had moved to 2 under after a birdie on the sixth hole and let rip with his driver on the short 347-yard seventh. There was a cracking sound at impact but the former U.S. Amateur winner had failed to notice until he lent down to pick up his tee and his weight saw the shaft shatter.
The head of the driver was left on its lonesome.
“I didn't really hear it because, me, I'm in the moment trying to hit the shot. Definitely the ball did not react proper. I hit it out to the right, felt like I drew it and the ball went to the right and spun up like crazy. I'm like, that's not normal,” DeChambeau said.
“So it was surprising, and then I just went over to pick up my tee, leaned on it a little, and the thing just, see ya later.”
There was some initial concern DeChambeau might not be able to replace the club because of how it broke but they were put to rest quickly. But playing partners Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler both agreed that it clearly was damaged by the shot before DeChambeau placed his weight on it, which allowed a replacement to be called for.
“If Bryson would have slammed it into the ground for instance that would be a different story but since it happened without abusing it he would be allowed to replace it,” Gregory explained.
DeChambeau sent a member of his team to grab a replacement shaft from his car while he continued to play the seventh hole and had it replaced before he reached the par-3 8th hole.
“The head is fine, it’s just the shaft. That was weird, swinging too hard. I guess it’s all those swings I put in. Glad I can replace it, that’s awesome. That’s a nice break,” DeChambeau said on course.
“I think it is so funny. It was bound to break. I’ve been using it for a long time. Got a lot of good use out of it.”
In fact afterwards DeChambeau said the shaft had lasted over a year and had been put through its paces a significant amount.
“This material isn't going to last forever, no matter how strong you make it, but that thing has lasted over a year swinging it over 200-mile-an-hour ball speeds. I'd say it's done pretty dang well and to be able to put another shaft right back in and have that thing perform amazing, it just shows how amazing that company is,” DeChambeau said of the Cobra SpeedZone driver.
On his first swing on the long par-4 ninth with the new shaft DeChambeau pounded his tee shot 327-yards into the fairway and would walk off the hole with a birdie to turn at three under, just two shots off the lead.
“The nice part about it is that I've used that shaft on the practice range this week, testing, just making sure I have backup shafts. I pretty much do that every week for the most part because I know I'm swinging it this fast, something is going to happen sometime,” DeChambeau added.
While he added two birdies on the back nine they were offset by three bogeys leaving the 26-year-old with a 2-under 68 that puts him three shots off the lead in a tie for 20th as he chases a maiden major championship.