Usually the Masters looks and sounds the same year after year. In normal times, the Masters is played in early April. The tournament is always at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. With the azalea bushes and dogwood trees blooming and the cheers of fans floating through the tall pine trees, the Masters is an annual sign that spring has arrived.
This year, of course, has been anything but normal because of the coronavirus pandemic. So the Masters will be different.
The course will not have spring flowers, and there will be no spectators allowed on the grounds. So there will be no roars of fans when a player sinks a long birdie putt, and the course will look strangely empty.
In addition, the tournament may be won by a different kind of golfer. Bryson DeChambeau won the United States Open in September and is one of the favorites to win the Masters. What’s different about DeChambeau? Let’s take a look:
First, DeChambeau doesn’t look like a typical golfer; he looks more like a pro football linebacker. The 27-year-old put on 20 pounds of muscle in the past year and now is the longest hitter on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour. DeChambeau blasts his drives more than 340 yards down the fairway.
DeChambeau majored in physics (the study of matter and energy and how the two relate) at Southern Methodist University. The major is an unusual choice for a professional athlete.
So DeChambeau, whose nickname is “the Scientist,” is a problem solver who likes to figure out new ways to play an old game.
DeChambeau has changed the clubs he uses to hit his golf ball — his irons and drivers — and made them different from the clubs of other pro golfers. For example, almost all golfers’ irons are slightly different lengths. His irons are specially made to be the same length.
DeChambeau also swings a driver that is longer and has a flatter club face than other golfers. He invented a new way of putting (that’s when you try to roll the ball into the hole). DeChambeau keeps his left arm so straight as he putts that he almost looks like he’s in pain.
The Masters will be different this year. And golf may different for years to come because of Bryson DeChambeau.