AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Bryson DeChambeau’s power play didn’t do him much good at Augusta National.

Now the injuries have shrunk him to the waist.

DeChambeau has been limited by hip and hand ailments for the past few months, leaving him less than full and a bit of an afterthought heading into the Masters.

His doctors even urged him to consider missing the first major of the year, to give himself more time to heal.

DeChambeau wouldn’t think of it.

“They advised me not to come back for a while,” he said on Monday. “I’m like, ‘Man, this only happens once a year, and I have to try. “”

DeChambeau certainly has unfinished business at Augusta National.

In 2020, when the Masters was moved to November due to the coronavirus pandemic, DeChambeau confidently predicted that his massive volume and blinding swing would give him a huge advantage over the rest of the field.

Coming off a six-stroke run at the US Open, where he mastered Winged Foot with his prodigious workouts, DeChambeau raised a lot of eyebrows when he said one of golf’s most hallowed courses played like a par- 67 for him.

DeChambeau didn’t come close to backing up those bold words. More memorably, he lost a ball at No 3 – the shortest par 4 on the course and one of the holes where he considered par a birdie – and was out of action before he even got to the weekend.

A year ago, when the Masters returned to its usual spot in the spring, DeChambeau put in another lackluster performance. He posted a pair of 75s over the final two rounds to finish 5th for the week, 15 shots behind winner Hideki Matsuyama.

DeChambeau had plenty of monstrous shots. He just didn’t know where it led sometimes – a fatal flaw on a course that demands precision and finesse.

Injuries have humiliated DeChambeau, who threw an 80% figure when asked how close he was to being 100%.

“The last few weeks have been very, very tough for me, I wasn’t playing well and not hitting him where I know I should be hitting him as far as the straight line goes,” he said. “Shout ‘Forward!’ Coming off the tee every time just isn’t fun.”

After missing the cut at Torrey Pines in late January, DeChambeau headed to Saudi Arabia and retired after one round. He says he slipped on a marble floor while playing table tennis and landed on his left hand and left hip.

He didn’t play for almost two months. He only returned two weeks ago for the Match Play World Golf Championship, where he lost two games and tied another to finish last in his group.

DeChambeau did it again last week at the Texas Open. He again failed to make the cut with rounds of 72 and 76.

Clearly, he hasn’t generated the buzz and hype that has accompanied him to the last two Masters.

As always, DeChambeau hopes to turn adversity into advantage. He certainly isn’t changing his approach, which is always about hitting further than anyone else.

“Everyone has a difficult time in their career,” he said. “Your lowest moments are your best. Your worst failures are your best teachers. So for me, my greatest failures were my greatest learning moments, and so this is just another one of those.

He had to adjust his practice schedule, which is not an easy thing to do for a guy who would hit a million balls a day if he could.

“I can’t do everything,” DeChambeau said. “I can’t do speed workouts. I cannot practice for excessive hours (when) I have to understand things. But it also allowed me to become a little more – I guess you could say – a little smarter in the way I practice. I have to be careful with things and be really efficient and limit the number of golf balls I can hit.

Somehow, DeChambeau relishes his new reality. He’s not the center of attention at Augusta National, where all eyes are on the possible return of Tiger Woods and the guys playing well.

“When you don’t have everyone shouting your name or chanting anything, it can be almost relaxing in a way,” he said. “It was pretty nice getting into this year’s Masters, just quietly going about my business.”‘

DeChambeau was unable to win the green jacket as his health was good and his confidence skyrocketed.

Can he possibly win with his game in a state of disarray?

Just like that, DeChambeau’s bravado returns.

It never counts.

“We’re finally heading in a direction that I think is positive for me to be able to win again,” DeChambeau said. “I think I can win every time I play.”


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