So when DeChambeau asked Woods if they could have a hit on Wednesday at Muirfield Village, it brought together two big storylines. But it wasn’t really a surprise the answer was yes.
The pair have already shared a connection through Bridgestone, the brand of ball both use, and they share a kinship in their interest in product testing. DeChambeau and Woods have been bonding for some time, a thrill for the former.
“Back in the day, he was it. He was the golden star. He was the one everybody looked up to. Junior golfers that I played with were all inspired by Tiger and how far he hit it and how he dominated tournaments,” DeChambeau says.
“I watched in just complete awe, going, man, how is he doing this, especially when you’re young and you know you can’t hit it more than 250 or something like that, he’s hitting it 330 back in the day. Even now, he’s hitting it pretty long. There was a couple holes he hit 320, 325. I’m like, that’s pretty good for his age. It’s amazing for his age.”
How a 44-year-old Woods takes that last comment is yet to be seen but, in context, with multiple back surgeries behind him it isn’t far from fact. And DeChambeau stressed it is something the man himself says often. Woods was asked about DeChambeau earlier this week and had plenty of praise based on what he’d seen from afar.
“He’s figured out a way to increase distance and maximize his efficiency with not only his driver but all of his clubs,” Woods said on Tuesday.
“What Bryson has done is no easy task. He’s put in the time and has put in the reps, and he’s figured it out. He’s gotten stronger, faster, bigger, and has created more speed. But more importantly let’s look at the fact that he’s hitting it as straight as he is.
“That part of the most difficult thing to do. The further you hit it, the more the tangent goes crooked … the fact that he’s figured that out and has been able to rein in the foul balls to me has been equally as impressive as his gains off the tee distance-wise.”
Woods might not have been the one to ask for Wednesday’s round but he would have been happy to get an up close and personal look at DeChambeau 2.0. In turn, DeChambeau also got a sneak peek at Woods, who hasn’t played on TOUR for five months.
“Whenever we play, I usually ask kindly. That’s the way it kind of goes about,” DeChambeau admitted Wednesday. “It was more of me wanting to see what he was doing actually to be honest with you. I’m always interested to see what new things he’s doing. And I think it was mutual. Obviously he likes playing with me. We’ve had a great relationship. We have great conversations. So it was just mutually beneficial and we had a lot of fun.”
DeChambeau claimed there wasn’t much chatter about his newfound power game save a few jokes. Therein lies another key for Woods these days. Fun.
In his early years of heightened mental focus it wasn’t a word often associated with Woods from others. But the 82-time TOUR winner loves to inject humor into his life and enjoys finding good targets who can appreciate the give and take.
“First off, it’s amazing to get to play with Tiger. I respect him. I have the highest respect for him and what he’s done for the game and inspired a whole new generation and generations to come,” DeChambeau added. “He played a couple jokes on me today, just messing with me, I’ll keep it personal … but he’s worried about winning the tournament this week just like I am. I don’t feel like we talked too much about it.”
If they did talk about it, Woods wasn’t giving anything away either. After all, they say curiosity killed the cat.
“I never asked and we didn’t really talk about it. We talked about a lot of other different things and just had a normal practice round,” Woods said wryly as the pair split ways.
Normal practice round? There’s no such thing with either of these two.
Source: PGA tour