Thanks to Bryson DeChambeau, it was a show the world of Long Drive had never seen before and might never experience again.
Against great odds as he was going up against guys with awkward swings and ball speeds reaching 230 mph, DeChambeau nearly pulled off a win on Saturday that he’ll probably be as coveted as his US Open title. . The man who scored the most recent PGA Tour driving distance chase before moving to LIV golf this year reached the two-man final of the Professional Long Drivers Association’s World Championship. And, in a stunner, he came within a swing and 20 yards holding a gaudy WWF-style title belt.
After going head-to-head in the final against German Martin Borgmeier in Mesquite, Nev., after the field was reduced from 16 to two on Saturday, DeChambeau found the grid with three of his six allotted drives and topped 406 yards. Stayed. But Borgmeier, whose heavy beard, very short shorts and antics made him perfect for professional wrestling, extended his third ball for 415 yards followed by 426 yards which proved to be the winner.
In the fading desert lights, a spirited Borgmier bear-hugging Dechambeau accepted the belt and held it aloft while driving a winding victory lap around the driving range. He kissed and hugged his wife and young son, and then took the mic and pointed at Dechambeau.
“A very important thing, and all of you guys know,” Borgmeier said. “I wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here with improving technology, if a guy hadn’t come a year ago to make the game what it is now. And I think he’s going to be back a lot.” is on a good track. And that man is Bryson DeChambeau.”
Now yelling, Borgmeier said, “He came in second too! What’s up! That guy is a professional golfer and he’s putting up these ball speed numbers… He hits over 400 in the final!” No one has ever done this before! People don’t know how crazy this is!”
DeChambeau, who did not speak until later on the YouTube broadcast that carried the event, smiled and nodded appreciating Borgmeier.
It was a year ago when DeChambeau entered the PLDA World Championships in what seemed like a sideshow act. But then he made the last eight and finished seventh – playing in the Ryder Cup – and it was no joke anymore.
This year, DeChambeau returned to Mesquite after a turbulent year that began on the PGA Tour and ended with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV circuit taking heavily guaranteed money for a defect.
DeChambeau clearly didn’t care about the $50,000 first prize in the long drive. It was about bragging rights.
There were 128 contestants in the Open division this week, and DeChambeau easily finished in the top 32 in the round-robin competition where golfers finish each season.
DeChambeau went down on his last ball to qualify for the Round of 16 and then finished fifth in the last eight with a top drive of 415 yards. Among those still unable to do so was two-time defending champion Kyle Berkshire, who had finished ninth on his return from hand surgery three weeks earlier.
Some of the biggest names in the game were still to come, including last year’s runners-up Justin James and Jack Holton, who clocked the day’s longest drive of 435 yards in the round of 16. DeChambeau finished against three of those four in the final, and when he blasted a drive 407 in the semifinals, he earned the shot to face Borgmeier, who went ahead with an effort of 418.