Bryson DeChambeau defies doctor’s advice because the Masters ‘only comes around once a year and I’ve got to give this a go’

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Add ignoring the recommendation of his doctor to the list of Bryson DeChambeau being, well, Bryson.

“I mean, you know me, guys, I always like kind of going against the grain a bit,” he said.

DeChambeau continues to deal with not one but two injuries – a torn left hip labrum and a hairline fracture in the hamate bone of his left hand – which sidelined him from late January until his return two weeks ago at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. DeChambeau boasted that normally a bone fracture takes four months to heal properly, but he was back in just two.

“I’ve learned a little bit more about my body and how to respond and how to recover in a better manner,” he said.

But DeChambeau conceded that by his estimation he’s only 80 percent. He’s here for one reason and one reason only: it’s the Masters.

“This only comes around once a year, and I’ve got to give this a go,” DeChambeau said.

The 28-year-old DeChambeau, who won the 2020 U.S. Open, detailed how he suffered his twin injuries. Two years ago, when he started speed training, DeChambeau slipped on concrete while cracking the 200-mile-per-hour mark for ball speed. He didn’t mention the injury, he explained, because it hadn’t bothered him much, but he re-aggravated the injury in January at Torrey Pines when he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. As for his hand, it began bothering him in November ahead of his exhibition match with Brooks Koepka.

“There was something on my hand that just kind of like popped, and was I like, ‘Ah, that’s not normal.’ That didn’t feel really good at all either. It was tough hitting balls. I just stopped,” he said. “The next day I came out, and I was fine. I was hitting golf balls, and it was like nothing happened. But that’s the day where I felt something happen in my left hand, and it got progressively worse.”

He blamed too many golf balls and too much stress as the main culprit for his struggles at Torrey Pines. He withdrew from the Sony Open before it began and then things took a turn for the worse when DeChambeau went to play in the Saudi International, an event played in February on the Asian Tour, and was playing ping-pong with Sergio Garcia and Joaquin Niemann.

“We were on some marble floors, and they just wiped it. And me not paying attention, I Charlie Brown’d myself and went horizontal and then hit my left hip and my hand at the same time, and that really just took me out,” he explained. “That’s really when it just got to the point where I couldn’t even grip the golf club. I tried to play that week, and it was impossible. I was not even gripping with my left hand that week. I was like, this is dumb, I have to go take care of my body first and get it right.”

DeChambeau withdrew and underwent a series of MRIs, CAT scans and X-rays that revealed the injuries. He has looked out of sorts since his return, first going winless and getting bounced out of pool play at the WGC Match Play and missing the cut last week at the Valero Texas Open. In both events, he sprayed the ball all over the lot, especially off the tee.

“Yelling ‘Fore’ off the tee every time is just not fun,” he said. “It’s very difficult on your mental psyche as well.”

But DeChambeau said that even at 80 percent, he can still reach around 190 mph ball speed, and he’s making steady progress even if his doctors prescribed rest as the best medicine for a full recovery.

“Hitting golf balls on the range today, I was able to sustain practice for a good amount of time,” he said. “I can’t go all-out. I can’t do any speed training sessions. I can’t practice for excessive hours like I have to figure stuff out. I’ve got to be careful with things and really be efficient and limit the amount of golf balls I can hit.”

And despite the questionable state of his health, DeChambeau hasn’t ruled out competing in a Long Drive Association competition next week.

“I’m reconsidering,” said DeChambeau, who termed himself day-to-day. “I’m trying, but it may not be the smartest thing.”

Neither is it for DeChambeau to be playing this week at Augusta National, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s determined to keep playing and to find a way to sustain his remarkable swing speed while avoiding the injury bug.

“It’s been a bit of unravelling this knot that I’ve had in my game for the past four years,” he said of his search for greater consistency with his swing. “We’re finally moving in a direction that I feel is positive for me being able to win again, hopefully, regularly like I did in 2018.”

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