Padraig Harrington has an alternative theory about Bryson DeChambeau’s power game

Bryson Dechambeau Padraig Harrington

The man is dividing the golf world.

Love him or hate him, everyone can agree that Bryson DeChambeau played some incredible golf over the weekend as he won the US Open in what was his maiden major title.

(Originally published on September 21, 2020).


The California native won by six strokes on a final score of -6. He was the only player to shoot under par on the notoriously difficult Winged Foot course in New York.

DeChambeau has divided the golf world with his approach to the sport. Dubbed ‘The Scientist’, he is renowned for his analytical and scientific methods around his game.

The 27-year-old uses thicker than normal grips while his irons are all the same length. Recently, DeChambeau has piled on more than 40lbs of mostly muscle in the last year.

It is this extra strength that golf commentators believe has resulted in his huge drives from the tee which has seen him become the longest hitter on the PGA Tour in 2020.

Padraig Harrington: Bryson DeChambeau hasn’t gained any speed

However, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington offers an alternative theory to Bryson DeChambeau’s power game.

The Dubliner believes that DeChambeau always had the ability to produce top ball speed in the past but now he has simply decided to use it.

“Ok, I’m going to let you in,” Harrington told Off The Ball.

“This is your inside track here. He has you all fooled! I played The Open at Royal Portrush last year. On the range, there are three people. There’s a young German kid, skinny tall lad, he’s probably 6’2″ or 6’3”.

“He’s cracking the ball out on a cold day, into the wind, on the range into 191mph ball speed and he’s in rainwear.

“So, everything is against you hitting at speed. So I’m on the range and I’m looking at this and I’m going, ‘Wow, that’s impressive.’

“Between me and him is Bryson DeChambeau standing on the range. The kid goads Bryson to have a go.

“I helped him too because I wanted to see Bryson have a go. So on a cold day with a normal driver in heavy gear, Bryson knocked out 189mph ball speed.

“That would be the equivalent of mid 190s and even you put in five-and-a-half degrees loft, it would easily be 195. So Bryson had the speed, he just wasn’t using it. So he hasn’t gained any speed.”

On DeChambeau’s added bulk, Harrington believes that it may make his shots more stable.

“The bulking up, maybe it makes him more stable. But, look, I saw him on the range a year ago before all this happened. He always had it.”

Padraig Harrington: “In 10 years time, you’re going to have 20 or 30 of these guys.”

Harrington then goes onto describe how there are more players on the tour who have a greater ball speed than Dechambeau but have refrained from using it.

He expects that many players will now follow DeChambeau’s approach in what would be a titanic shift in how the game is played at an elite level.

“Remember with DeChambeau, there are several players on the tour who have more speed than DeChambeau who don’t use it. Tony Finau is over 200mph and he’s trying to play at low 180s.

“Gary Woodland was seemingly over 200mph. He was even worse at that for years but at least he’s now going at it a bit.

“So what DeChambeau has done is that he’s definitely broken the mould of ‘You know what? I’m going to play maxed out.’

“Now, I’m amazed at how straight he is. It’s very impressive. But let’s be realistic here, he’s still about 15% short of what is humanly possible at the moment. He’s a super long hitter on the tour but even on the tour, Cameron Champ, Finau, Woodland – they have more ball speed but they don’t use it.

“Once you have one guy do it, then you’ll have four guys, five guys, 10 guys. And in 10 years time, I’m just so happy I won’t be there. In 10 years time, you’re going to have 20 or 30 of these guys.”

You can watch Harrington speak about DeChambeau from 58:30 below.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter