Thanks to Bryson DeChambeau, it was a sight the long-haul world had never seen before and may never see again.
Unexpectedly because he was up against guys with weird swings and ball speeds reaching 230 mph, DeChambeau almost scored a victory on Saturday that he probably would have coveted as much as his US Open title. The man who led the PGA Tour’s most recent driving distance hunt before defecting to LIV Golf this year has reached the final two of the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championships. And, in a daze, he came within a swing and 20 yards of holding the showy WWF-style title belt.
Head-to-head in the final against Germany’s Martin Borgmeier in Mesquite, Nevada, after the field was reduced from 16 to two on Saturday, DeChambeau found the grid with three of his six allowed drives and passed for 406 yards. But Borgmeier, whose thick beard, very short shorts and antics would make him perfect for pro wrestling, hammered his third ball 415 yards and followed it up with a 426 yards that proved to be the winner.
In the fading desert light, an exuberant Borgmeier hugged DeChambeau, accepted the belt and held it aloft as he raced a windy victory lap around the driving range. He kissed and hugged his wife and young son, then took the microphone and pointed to DeChambeau.
“There is one very, very important thing, and you all know it,” Borgmeier said. “I wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here with the technological improvements, if a guy hadn’t come over a year ago to do the sport what he is now. And I think he’s on a very good lead to come back in. And that guy is Bryson DeChambeau.
Shouting now, Borgmeier added: “He also came second! What’s going on! This guy is a pro golfer and he’s flaunting those ball speed numbers… he’s lighting it up in the finals, hitting over 400! No one has ever done this before! People don’t realize how crazy it is!
DeChambeau, who did not speak afterward on the YouTube show that aired the event, smiled and nodded appreciatively at Borgmeier.
A year ago, DeChambeau competed at the PLDA World Championships in what appeared to be a show number. But then he broke into the bottom eight and finished seventh – having played in the Ryder Cup – and it was no longer a joke.
This year, DeChambeau returned to Mesquite after a rather tumultuous year that started on the PGA Tour and ended with him taking huge sums of money guaranteed to defect to the Saudi-backed LIV Tour. saudi.
DeChambeau clearly didn’t care about the long ride’s $50,000 top prize. It was about bragging rights.
There were 128 competitors starting this week in the Open Division, and DeChambeau easily placed in the top 32 in the round robin which awards points for where golfers finish each session.
DeChambeau went down to his last ball to advance to the Round of 16, then finished fifth in the last eight with a top drive of 415 yards. Among those who didn’t make it that far was two-time defending champion Kyle Berkshire, who finished ninth upon his return from hand surgery just over three weeks ago.
There were still some of the biggest names in the sport, including last year’s runner-up Justin James and Zack Holton, who beat the day’s longest rush of 435 yards in the Round of 16. DeChambeau found himself up against those three in the final. four, and when he threw a 407 drive in the semis, he won the shot over Borgmeier, who advanced with a 418 effort.