Nick Faldo could breathe a sigh of relief when Bryson DeChambeau’s drive sailed left on the first hole in the 2020 Masters opening round.
The No. 1 hole at Augusta National Golf Club is 445 yards to the pin, but the burgeoning legend of DeChambeau’s drives had Faldo feeling bold. The three-time Masters champion-turned-broadcaster told reporters earlier in the week that if DeChambeau drove the green on the first hole, he would “run around naked around Augusta National.”
DeChambeau played the back-nine first, so his tee shot on No. 1 was his 10th hole of the day. He did pull driver out of his bag, but the right-handed swinging DeChambeau pulled the drive left into the rough. Faldo could keep his clothes on.
DeChambeau entered the Masters driving the ball an average of more than 344 yards per drive since the “2021” season began in September. That’s more than 10 yards clear of the next closest golfer, and it’s the longest anyone has consistently driven in the PGA Tour’s history.
It’s bombed drives from DeChambeau that helped him win the 2020 U.S. Open by simply making the course smaller than anyone else could. Faldo was willing to bet DeChambeau couldn’t quite make the first hole at Augusta that small.
Faldo, 63, was slated to set up in the tower near the 18th green, which prompted fellow CBS commentator Jim Nantz to remark that they’d have to set up a special camera near that tower, just in case. It turns into a win on a number of levels for Faldo that DeChambeau didn’t reach the first green, because it’s also a wet and soggy Thursday in Augusta, Georgia.
Driving the green was a talking point because Jack Nicklaus recently said he thought DeChambeau could do it. Faldo tweeted that he asked DeChambeau about it Wednesday, and DeChambeau referenced a need for the course to be dry to allow the ball to run to reach the green. Thanks to the rain and DeChambeau’s poor aim, golf fans everywhere were denied the chance to see whether Faldo would follow through on his bold plan.
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