A lesson from Langer as DJ Masters Augusta

Dustin Johnson completed a very impressive performance at The Masters to win with a new record low score. And, whilst Bryson DeChambeau gained the pre-tournament headlines with how far he hits the ball, he failed to live up to the hype.

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Here is what he (DeChambeau) said before the tournament started…

“I’m looking at it as a par 67 for me because I can reach all the par fives in two, no problem. If the conditions stay the way they are, that’s what I feel like par is for me.”

But DeChambeau swiftly added: “That’s not me being big-headed. I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping out here. That is one of the things I think people sometimes struggle to see.”

No player before this year had ever gone around Augusta in a total of 268 for four rounds.

The tournament record was 270 (-18) set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.

So, according to DeChambeau’s par rating; Dustin won with a score of level par, whereas Bryson finished on +18.

I don’t mean to take anything away from DeChambeau, I think he is great for the game. It’s wonderful to have such characters and to be honest, I enjoy seeing him push himself to hit the ball further and further. Tell me you wouldn’t go and watch him play if you had the chance?

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The distance game

It would be wrong to assume, based on the outcome of this Masters, that hitting the ball a long way is not so important. Dustin is very long too… just take a look at his ‘stock’ yardages as published recently by golf.tv in comparison to mine.

These are ‘carry’ distances and not total

All the more impressive is that Dustin is playing with a set of Taylormade P730 DJ Prototype irons, set at traditional lofts rather than the modern, stronger lofts, I have highlighted in the past.

His 7 iron is 35 degrees compared to a Callaway Mavrik Max 7 iron at 30 degrees.

There is no doubt that to compete on tour you need to hit the ball a long way these days.

Though don’t get me wrong it was great to see Bernard Langer become the oldest player to make the cut. The 1985 and 1993 Masters winner surpassed former record-holder Tommy Aaron by just over a month. Langer did it at 63 years, 2 months, 18 days old while Aaron was 63 years, 1 month, 16 days in 2000

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Cool stat….
In his Open Championship debut in 1976, Langer played with Gene Sarazen who was born in 1902. This week, he played with 18-year-old amateur Abel Gallegos, born in 2002, who missed the cut.

Langer is proof that it is not all about distance, but the truth is it would be highly unlikely, I’d say nearly impossible for Langer to win the event.

Having played with the big hitters of DeChambeau and McIlroy over the weekend, here is what Langer had to say…

“Every once in a while I had to tell myself, ‘Stop watching and play your game. Focus on what you want to do,’” Langer said. “I got to experience the longest guys in the world right now, and it’s quite amazing.”

And there is a lesson for all you golfers out there. You have to learn to play your own game, especially if you are playing with someone who hits it miles past you.

“Even though I’m bombing it by him, he’s still playing better than me,” DeChambeau said. “That’s the cool part about the game of golf. You can shoot a score whatever way you want, and he’s able to do it still at his age.”

DeChambeau added: “He’s an unbelievable iron player. He grinds over everything.”

Average Driving Distance at the Masters this year:
Bryson DeChambeau 328.88 yards
Rory McIlroy 314.75 yards
Dustin Johnson 306.5 yards
Bernhard Langer 259.62 yards

Summary…

It is not about how far you hit the ball but understanding your game and knowing how far you hit is extremely important.

Top tip…

Book a Gap Test on a launch monitor to get your distances with each club – this can be game-changing and is something you should do at least once a year.

Click here to check the next availability for a Gap Test at Dunes in Fraserburgh