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Mac Engel: Bryson DeChambeau is ruining golf, while lifting the PGA Tour

Mac Engel: Bryson DeChambeau is ruining golf, while lifting the PGA Tour

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Kids, don't listen to your parents. Drink chocolate milk with every meal. In fact, drink it with every snack.

When your mom or dad objects your request to down 18 ounces of chocolate milk with your baked chicken, just tell them one of the biggest stars in sports does it.

PGA Tour star, and human mountain, Bryson DeChambeau, is a chocolate milk-aholic. Not Muscle Milk with chocolate flavoring, but the chocolate milk kids crave.

"He loved chocolate milk, breakfast, lunch and dinner," said SMU golf coach Chris Parra, who was an assistant with the program when DeChambeau was on the team there. "We would go to a steakhouse, and he'd ask for chocolate milk. He thought it had protein and it was good for him."

DeChambeau is golf's latest love interest, with a game that is breathtaking to watch even while it ruins the sport. The man's drives are turning America's hallowed courses into pitch-and-putts.

DeChambeau and his game have a paradoxical effect on the sport; he's good, and bad.

The 27-year-old California native has people talking about golf, which, as Tiger Woods' loses his wattage, is something the sport desperately needs.

DeChambeau is minus-2 after the first round of the 2020 Masters at Augusta, easily the second-most discussed score of the first round, behind Tiger's minus-4.

"We are in the entertainment business and people like to see long bombs and birdies," said Jon Drago in a phone interview. Drago is the tournament director of the AT&T Byron Nelson PGA Tour, which is currently on schedule to be played in the spring of 2021 at the TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney. "I don't think that style has taken away from the tournament events at all."

DeChambeau's style is something that will drive interest in tournaments, so the PGA Tour and all of its events want him until he's bumped off by the new flavor of the day.

But the style, and the length, are so long he has the ability to embarrass a course.

"I grew up going to Colonial, and watching what these guys do to that course is unbelievable," Drago said of the Fort Worth course.

DeChambeau is bombing shots over trees that a bird could not clear. At the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial this year, he was hitting tee shots that turned a long par 5 into what looked like a makeable three.

He currently leads the PGA Tour in driving distance at 344 yards, which is 13 yards further than the second player.

"When he was at SMU, and this was before he bulked up, it was not uncommon for him to fly a shot 330 yards," Parra said. "I was still playing professionally then, and there were times we'd play together and we'd be 227 yards out and he'd fly the bunker with an iron.

"His goal is to beat the course, and he thinks he can with power and speed."

DeChambeau's strength almost looks NFL linebacker-ish, but the advanced technology in the clubs and the balls themselves allows an increasing number of players to power their way through courses.

"For the recreational golfer, the advancement in equipment is incredible," Drago said. "This has enabled people to enjoy the game for a longer period of time, and it's allowed players to be more successful which keeps them more interested in the game."

For the pro player, like a DeChambeau, the equipment is now so good that their power is helping them lower already low scores.

PGA Tour tournaments are birdie fests, and pars are insults.

When Jack Nicklaus won the 1972 Masters, he shot 68-71-73-74 for a total of minus-2.

At the 2019 Masters, a minus-2 was good for a 36th place tie; Tiger won with a minus-13.

Because no golfer wins every tournament, it's not as if DeChambeau is first or second every week. He has one win this year, the U.S. Open.

But every tour player now has power in his bag.

The power, and equipment, are now so common it should force modifications.

Golf has done this before. When Tiger was dominating in the late 90s, developers tried "Tigerfy" their courses against his power.

The fairways may now get a little tighter, and the rough a little rougher.

And, while it's not likely to happen, PGA Tour players should have some more restrictions on the equipment they are allowed to use. Some of these advancements are ridiculous.

Because he drives interest, ultimately Bryson DeChambeau is good for the PGA Tour, even as his drives mock the game itself.

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