Gary Player on Bryson DeChambeau and what he might do to Augusta: 'He is a step above them all'
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Gary Player flew to Philadelphia for a three-day stay with his daughter that turned into six months. He came out to Aronimink Golf Club on Saturday, site of his 1962 PGA Championship victory, and met with the media as leaders of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship made the turn.
Player, not surprisingly, had much to say.
“Coming back here now, 58 years later than when I won it, first of all, most people are dead,” said Player, looking trim in his signature all-black ensemble. “I’m 85 now and all my golfing friends are gone, so I’m very grateful to be standing here and very strong and fit.”
Player is gearing up for his ceremonial tee shot at the Masters next month alongside Jack Nicklaus by playing a bucket-list rota for the rest of us that includes Merion, Pine Valley and Aronimink, to name a few.
He also weighed in one of the hottest topics in golf, Bryson DeChambeau, predicting that if the recent U.S. Open champ teed it up at the Old Course tomorrow, he could drive almost nine greens at the Home of Golf.
When asked about Augusta National, Player said that if DeChambeau has a “reasonable week,” he should win.
“It’s going to be fascinating to watch him hit a 9-iron to the second hole at Augusta, if he hits that draw around the corner,” he said. “At 15, he’ll hit a 9-iron, a par-5. At 13, he’ll hit a 9-iron, a par-5. He’s going to drive over the green at No. 3. Think about that. Going to drive over the green. So I don’t know where we’re going.”
Augusta National, Player says, has no defense and golf leaders need to understand that the game is in its infancy when it comes to driving distance, talking about drives that might one day go 500 yards. He’d like to see the governing bodies cut the ball back 50 yards for professionals before golf courses become obsolete. (And please, he reiterates, don’t touch the trees.)
While Player can’t comment on DeChambeau’s diet – “I just hope that he watches that he doesn’t overeat” – he has mad respect for what DeChambeau has done.
“They all said, ‘Here comes the kook, here comes the scientist,’ but he’s been more brilliant than all of them,” said Player, “and there’s nothing worse than when you think you have a superior attitude to others, and they actually have a superior knowledge to you.
“He is a step above them all, and he has a phenomenally good golf swing. They all say … he has a strange swing. It might look strange, but basically in pieces, it’s one of the best swings a human being could have. This man, there’s no telling how well he can do.”