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Bryson DeChambeau rips golf ball rollback proposal as 'most atrocious thing' for game's popularity

March 15, 2023

Gregory Shamus

Beefed up and swinging his driver with wild abandon, Bryson DeChambeau led the most recent charge to get the most distance possible out of a golf ball. So it will surprise exactly no one that he is vehemently opposed to the proposed rollback of the golf ball that was announced by the USGA and R&A.

The winner of the pandemic-delayed 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and now member of LIV Golf, DeChambeau told the Saudi-backed league’s website on Tuesday ahead of the circuit’s second event of the season in Tucson, “If you could say I’m the complete opposite times 1,000, that’s what I would be.

“It’s a great handicap for us guys that have worked really hard to learn how to hit it farther,” he added. “Look, if they want to do it in a way where it only affects the top end, I see the rationale. But I think it’s the most atrocious thing that you could possibly do to the game of golf, It’s not about rolling golf balls back; it’s about making courses more difficult.”

The rollback, which would take effect in 2026, does indeed just target elite competitive play and not average golfers.

DeChambeau, of course, did everything he could in recent years to increase his distance, including putting on significant weight and muscle to increase his speed and power. And the 29-year-old succeeded for a time, leading the PGA Tour in driving distance for two seasons while winning three events, including the U.S. Open, in an eight-month span in 2020-21. But he also suffered injuries to his arms, back and hips that kept him from playing at a high level before he left for LIV last June.

DeChambeau reportedly led LIV in driving distance last season, but he doesn’t have better than a T-10 finish in seven appearances on the 54-hole, no-cut circuit.

For the last two years, he also has competed in the World Long Drive Championship, in which he reached the two-man final in 2022.

Under the new proposal by the governing bodies, uniform golf balls for certain tournaments would be dialed back to travel 15 to 20 yarders shorter, and possibly more. DeChambeau contends that the move will take one of the most exciting—and controversial—parts away from the game.

“I think it’s the most unimaginative, uninspiring, game-cutting thing you could do,” he said. “Everybody wants to see people hit it farther. That’s part of the reason why a lot of people like what I do; it’s part of the reason a lot of people don’t like what I do.

“But again, it creates more conversation in a positive way than cutting it back and trying to make everybody equal. I’m all about equality. I’m not about equity on this front.”