SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A trusted driver is as cherished as an old friend to most golfers, whether they be weekend warriors at the local municipal course or hard-hitting PGA professionals like Bryson DeChambeau.
So when DeChambeau had to bid farewell to his old friend during Monday’s opening round of the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, it could have spelled disaster.
But DeChambeau managed to rally with a new club in his hand and finished the round at 2-under par — three shots before first-day leaders Jason Day and Brendon Todd.
It was on the par-4, 340-yard 7th hole, DeChambeau’s caddy handed him the faithful club he had nicknamed ‘The Kraken.’ It all seemed normal though the swing until DeChambeau watched the flight of the ball.
“I didn’t hear it (break),” he said. “Me, I’m in the moment, trying to hit the shot. Definitely, the ball didn’t react proper. I hit it out to the right, felt like I drew it and the ball went to the right and spun up like crazy. I’m like that’s not normal. I went over to pick up my tee and lean a little on it and the thing just snapped — see you later.”
Officials at the hole quickly determined that the break came in the natural course of play and DeChambeau was given a new driver by the time he was at the next tee box.
Still ‘The Kraken’ was gone and Mother Nature was whipping up the late afternoon winds.
“We were grinding to finish,” he said of the latter part of the round. “The golf course showed it’s teeth and we took the brunt of it.”
DeChambeau was at 2-under when the break took place, he would card 3 birdies and 3 bogeys on the remainig holes. One wonders if he would have finished stronger with ‘The Kraken.’
“It’s been over a year (since he started playing with the driver),” he said. “All my speed training and everything else. At some point. material is material. You keep wearing it and using it like that, you know, stuff is going break down. I’m just glad it lasted this long.”
Unlike Thursday, DeChambeau and his new driver will be among the group’s teeing off early Friday morning. By 7:15 a.m., the fog was already burning off and the winds were calm. Perfect scoring conditions for round two.