HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – When it comes to the distance the modern professional hits the golf ball, Rory McIlroy is difficult to impress.
The 31-year-old has always ranked among the Tour’s longest players off the tee, but even he was impressed with Bryson DeChambeau’s performance last week at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
“He hit a couple drives on Sunday that [caddie Harry Diamond] and I just looked at each other, and we’re like, holy sh*t, that was unbelievable,” said McIlroy, who was paired with DeChambeau on Sunday at Colonial. “He hit one into the wind on 11. I hit a really good one and probably hit it like 315, 320. He must have flew my ball by 40 yards. He hit it like 370, 375 into the wind. It was crazy. It was nuts. It’s unbelievable.”
DeChambeau finished second in driving distance last week after gaining 20 pounds during quarantine that he said has translated into a ball speed of around 190 mph.
McIlroy said DeChambeau’s decision to gain weight in search of longer drives is not something he would be interested in doing – he said he plays his best when he feels “lighter” – but he added that he does respect DeChambeau’s commitment.
“It’s impressive. He’s big,” McIlroy said. “He’s sort of gone down a path, and he’s got a conviction, and he’s following it. He’s always thought outside the box and thought a little differently to most people. He’s really put his mind at wanting to get longer, and he’s definitely done that.”