How far can Bryson DeChambeau take the long balloon? Perhaps longer than many considered possible for a legitimate PGA Tour player, as he repeatedly exceeded 400 meters on Tuesday at the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championship.
Fresh off Sunday’s Ryder Cup victory for the United States, where DeChambeau flexed as he led the green on the first game of par 4 in his singles match en route to a record 2-0-1 at Whistling Straits, the longest hitter on the PGA Tour showed even more power at the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championship.
DeChambeau, who received a special invite to the World Championship in Mesquite, Nevada, qualified for the first round of group qualifying with a longer blast of 412 yards. With each competitor swinging in five sets of six balls each, DeChambeau finished second in his group to advance.
Despite some social media criticism that it was a publicity stunt, DeChambeau showed on Tuesday that he was legit against the best in the longball game. Most of the players in the event didn’t sniff the 400 yards on Tuesday.
Sixteen players each made up the five qualifying hopefuls groups, with 12 players qualifying for Wednesday’s competitive rounds. Those 60 players will combine with four others from a round robin to form Wednesday’s field of 64, who will face off in four groups to try to make it to the final tournament on Thursday and possibly Friday.
With his 30 total shots spread over five sets, DeChambeau hit five balls over 400 yards, the longest of 412 being in his fourth set. His shortest run that counted is 355, and 21 of his shots found the grid players need to hit for the shot to count.
DeChambeau led the PGA Tour in the recently completed 2021 season with a driving average of 323.7 yards. His longest run on the Tour this season was 414 yards. His measured average clubhead speed on workouts was 132.25 mph, but he said he could go faster in training when he didn’t have to worry about where the ball could land. The best players in elite long-distance competitions frequently exceed 140 mph at club head speed.
Perhaps DeChambeau’s most impressive shot of 2021 came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he cleared a lake with a 377-yard tee shot on the sixth par 5 hole at Bay Hill.
And all of those stats came with a driver designed for the Tour. He’s likely to use a pilot no more than 48 inches long for the world championship, where balls off the landing grid don’t lead to double bogeys. Details on his long-distance clubs were not yet available.
In DeChambeau’s 16-man squad on Tuesday, only four other players managed to send a ball over 400 yards, with Josh Cassaday leading with a 417-yard blast. DeChambeau managed to hit four of the group’s 11 total balls that traveled over 400 yards finishing second in group points, behind Scottie Pearman, whose longest shot was 413 yards.
With the last two groups still falling apart and the day’s results not complete, Zack Holton had the longest practice of the day, totaling 419 yards in a different group from DeChambeau. Kyle Berkshire, the defending champion after winning the event in 2019 and the 2020 competition being called off due to COVID-19, hit a 409-yard shot in the first set and had 24 balls left at the time of this report.