But that was no better career distance than a physically transformed American golfer. This was a rugged club.
So what exactly happened to the DeChambeau club that calls it ‘The Kraken’ its first day at TPC Harding Park on Thursday?
Just seconds after crushing an ultimately wrong car in the seventh hole with his trademark rapid activity, DeChambeau ̵1; who accumulated an extra 40 pounds of muscle while closing the Covid-19 golf course – moved forward to catch its top.
But that’s when things started to fall apart. Enough literally.
The 26-year-old – who has never had a top-10 finish in one size – then apparently leaned his driver to the extent that the club head actually fell off the shaft, much to the surprise of his partners game, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott.
World No. 7 – which ended its opening round three blows behind co-driver and 2015 champion Jason Day and level with four-time winner Woods – later discovering the driver had become a well-worn tool in his bag .
“This material will not last forever,” he explained after ending up with a two-under 68-year-old.
“No matter how strong it does, but it has lasted over a year accelerating it over 200 miles-hours at ball speed. I would say it has done very well.”
Meanwhile Scott, the 2013 Master winner, had a front row spot for the surreal chain of events.
“Obviously he made a funny sound and the ball had a funny flight and then he barely leaned on it and the shaft snapped. He says it happens when you shake as hard as he does.”
But things could have been much worse for DeChambeau.
He would have been easily relieved to learn that under local rules introduced last year, he was allowed to replace what is now his most powerful golf weapon – he is the PGA Tour’s biggest hitter, with a average distance of 324.4 yards – because his mistreatment was completely accidental.
Still meant that a team member had to make a trip to DeChambeau’s car to get a replacement shaft for his club as he himself went on to finish the hole, and then had to finish his repair work just for him return the new shaft.
But forced change did not deter him much. The next time his driver needed it was in the ninth hole, which the birds made.
In fact, DeChambeau responded extremely well to opponents, hitting the ball on average nearly 20 yards away after his club broke down, averaging just shy of 340 yards.
The Californian – who recently claimed his sixth PGA Tour title in Detroit at Rocket Mortgage Classic, where his drives averaged over a record 350 yards – says he would even have tested the replacement in the tournament build, discovered he “knew it would work”.
“Being able to put another axis behind it and do that great thing just shows how amazing that company is.”
A return to form?
After spending five months away from golf due to a back injury and pandemic, Woods returned to competitive action last month, tying for the 40th in the Memorial Tournament.
But he struggled better during his first round in the first grandeur of the year, as he was back on land known at TPC Harding Park after playing there as a teenager and at Stanford University.
He finished with a two-under 68-year-old, his lowest opening round in a major since 2012.
The 44-year-old is pursuing a fifth record-breaking PGA Championship title, with Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus winning five each. He is also looking for an 83rd PGA Tour win, as he is currently linked with Sam Snead for more time.
One of the most noticeable changes Woods has made to his game is that he has moved to a longer cutter, something that removes the tendon from his back.
This interface showed positive signs on Thursday, after making 114 feet, 9 inches of kisses, during the long season for a round.
“I’ve been messing with this kick for the best part of a year,” the 15-time big winner explained. “It’s hard for me to bend over from time to time, and so practicing placement, I do not spend the hours I once had.
“It was not uncommon for me to spend four, five, six hours putting in a day. I certainly can not register that my back is melted. Most of the boys in the Champions tournament have gone into longer storms as they have “I’m getting older because it ‘s easier to bend, or not to bend. And so, this dish is only a little longer and I’ve been able to spend a little more time putting it in.”
Brooks Koepka, looking for a third consecutive PGA Championship title, sits a hit behind co-hosts Australian Day and Brendon Todd.