There was little doubt Bryson DeChambeau would attempt to reach the green at the driveable 347-yard, par-4 seventh hole at TPC Harding Park during the first round of the PGA Championship on Thursday in San Francisco.
So he was puzzled when he smashed his drive, only to see it flare right and land in the rough 296 yards away. That’s significantly shorter than the bulked-up DeChambeau’s average tee shot — he entered the week leading the PGA Tour with a driving average of 324.4 yards.
When he leaned on the driver while picking up his tee, the head of the club snapped off the shaft. It brought a quizzical look from DeChambeau and playing partner Rickie Fowler.
“I essentially hit the driver on 7 and went, ‘That didn’t feel right,'” DeChambeau said. “And the ball went the complete opposite direction than I thought it was going to, and it spun a little weird. And I went to bend over and it just broke.”
DeChambeau said he had been using that shaft for more than a year. He was also aware of the new rule that allows players to replace clubs if they are damaged during the normal course of play.
DeChambeau immediately consulted a rules official and had one of his team members hustle to the parking lot for a replacement shaft. It arrived before his next need for a driver on the ninth hole.
“If you’re doing it out of anger, that’s one thing,” DeChambeau said, “which I did not at all. I executed a shot, bent over to pick up the tee and it just happened to break.
“That’s one of those things that I don’t really know what to say, I don’t know how to explain it.”
He went on to birdie the ninth hole en route to a 2-under-par 68.
According to ESPN, DeChambeau’s average distance on his drives increased from 320.5 yards to 339.5 yards with the new shaft.
“It’s a material, it’s eventually going to go at some point in time,” he said. “I was able to stick (the club head) right back in play and play amazing golf.”
–Field Level Media