Jan 20th, 2022
Saudi International ‘Bryson-proofs’ its driving range
DeChambeau promises to go “even further” off the tee in 2022
Grounds staff were forced to step in at last year’s event after it was discovered that the 2020 US Open winner’s practice drives were landing beyond the back of the course’s 300-yard driving range, and onto the course’s 12th tee.
Organisers Golf Saudi has now erected a fence at the rear of the range to prevent the 28-year-old’s monster warm-up tee-shots – the longest on the PGA Tour, averaging 323.7 yards in 2021 – from interfering in live play when he returns to the tournament next month.
DeChambeau will be bringing his latest specially worked Cobra driver – a club in his hands capable of 200mph ball speed – for its debut outing when he plays in the Kingdom, February 3-6, promising his longest tee-shots yet.
“Yeah, this year will be even further,” said DeChambeau, who explained that he is awaiting delivery of the new lower lofted driver. “It's coming here this week or next – you'll be seeing a lot longer drives.
“Last week [playing in Hawaii] I couldn't really do that just because [the club] wasn’t on the conforming list yet. We were supposed to have something earlier, but all the shipping delays caused it to be moved back. But I still went out and tried to bomb it. I hit it as far, hit a couple of wayward drives, but hopefully, that will be corrected when I come to Royal Greens.”
The 2022 PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers will be DeChambeau’s third visit to the Kingdom’s flagship tournament, where he finished 18th last year.
It is an event he enjoys playing in, and in Royal Greens Golf & Country Club he has a course that he believes is well-suited to his style of play.
“The golf course is still pretty new,” said the world number eight. “I think the greens over the course of time have slowly gotten faster, which is awesome. The course layout and setup is a great test of championship golf. If they get that rough up, it can be pretty diabolical. It’s definitely a championship-style golf course, one that I like playing and one that I know a lot of top players like playing as well.”
He continued: “One of the most interesting things about that golf course for me is I think it fits a bomber pretty well. I feel like, for whatever reason, it just suits my eye. If I get hot and rolling, which I haven’t any of the times I've been there, hopefully, I can claim victory.”
PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers event director Mike Oliver said: “What Bryson DeChambeau has brought to the game of golf is incredible – none more so than his length off the tee, which brings huge fan interest and excitement whenever he steps up to the ball.
“Despite being at an uphill angle and around 300-yards long, our driving range at Royal Greens proved just a little short for Bryson last year, with a number of his drives peppering the tee box for the 12th hole behind the practice area. To counter that this year, we’ve installed a boundary fence, which will keep all players and fans safe as Bryson warms up!”
DeChambeau will be part of a star-studded field packed with Ryder Cup stars and Major winning golfers heading to compete in the PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, where he will be joined by the likes of defending champion Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton and Louis Oosthuizen.
All the action takes place at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), around an hour’s drive outside of Jeddah.
Fans can get up close with all the players – plus Saudi Arabian golfers Faisal Salhab, Saud AlSharif and Othman Almulla – live and in-person by securing tickets here.
For more information about the tournament, visit www.golfsaudi.com