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Masters organisers plan revenge over bullish Bryson DeChambeau

For Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 Masters quickly became the Schadenfreude Open as his tie for 34th – five places behind 63-year-old Bernhard Langer – fell so laughably short of his grand pronouncements. So, will it be a humbler, more circumspect American who shows up here this week? Erm, sort of. “I was wrong to say that Augusta is a par 67 for me,” DeChambeau said. “It is a 68.” As climb-downs go, this is not quite in the league of Goliath acknowledging that David was, as it turned out, not a cocky little lout with a dodgy catapult sponsorship, but, in fact, a fearsome warrior. And this not entirely committed retreat might lend his legion of detractors further ammunition only five months on from using that devastating social-media slingshot to fire DeChambeau’s words back at him. Because Lee Westwood has already played a few practice rounds here this year and was stunned by the “firmest and fastest conditions I ever have encountered at Augusta”, and, with no rain forecast, the green jackets’ arduous stage has been set. “Put it this way,” Westwood told me on Thursday. “I don’t think they want 20 under to win.” Of course, that was the record mark set by Dustin Johnson in that strange autumnal Masters when, in the eerie silence, the world No 1’s languid, unfettered stroll through the cathedral pines seemed so appropriate for the occasion. The organisers were not impressed, although whether their ire was raised by Johnson’s rout or DeChambeau’s rant is, intriguingly, a moot point. “D J did what D J does, quietly and modestly crushing the field,” a Masters insider told The Sunday Telegraph. “The notable green jackets I spoke to were more riled by what DeChambeau said in the build-up. They felt he was mocking the National and a fast, firm and treacherous Masters could be their response.” Typical DeChambeau. The man could unwittingly cause offence in a locked-up clubhouse. It is the great paradox of the 27-year-old that he is either the best thing to happen to golf in this burgeoning post-Tiger Woods era, or the worst thing ever to happen to it, period. Or, in some quarters, both; at the same time. Andrew Coltart, the former Ryder Cup player and current analyst for Sky Sports, sums up the incongruity perfectly: “He’s turning golf into a one-dimensional, power-hitting game. There’s little doubt that watching Bryson over a traditional fairways and greens merchant such as Webb Simpson will attract more youngsters to the game. “It’s a similar situation to 30 years ago when John Daly appeared on the scene, hitting it miles and everyone going ‘wow!’ But, at the same time, that’s not what golf is all about, is it?”


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