Arrested DeChambeau breaks golf club after monster hit during PGA Championship opening round

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DeChambeau may have unintentionally answered that first question after a new show of brute force from the tee during the PGA Championship opening round in San Francisco – an event taking place without fans in what is now the first major of 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But this was not a career-best remote drive from the physically transformed, enlarged US golfer. This was a broken club.

So what exactly happened to the club that DeChambeau had on the first day & # 39; The Kraken & # 39; calls at TPC Harding Park on Thursday?

Just seconds after crushing an ultimately erroneous seventh hole ride with his now signature lightning-fast swing, DeChambeau – who stacked 40 pounds of extra muscle during the Covid-19 shutdown on golf – went forward pick up his tee.

But that's when things started to fall apart. Literally.

The 26-year-old – who never had a top 10 finish in a major – apparently leaned so hard on his driver that the head of the club actually fell off the shaft, much to the surprise of his playing partners, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott.

World No. 7 – which ended its opening round three shots behind co-leader and 2015 champion Jason Day and flushed with four-time winner Woods – he later revealed that the driver had become a worn-out tool in his bag .

"This material won't last forever," he explained after finishing with a two under 68.

"It doesn't matter how strong you make it, but that thing has more lasted over a year at a ball speed of over 200 miles per hour. I'd say it's done pretty well. "

Meanwhile, Scott, the 2013 Masters winner, had a front row seat to the surreal series of events.

"It definitely made a funny sound and the ball had a funny flight and then he barely leaned on it and the shaft broke. He says it happens when you swing as hard as he does."

But things could have been much worse for DeChambeau.

He must have been greatly relieved to learn that according to the last local rules he was allowed to replace what is now his most powerful golf weapon – he is the greatest hitter of the PGA Tour, with an average riding distance of 324, 4 yards – because his accident was completely accidental.

It still meant a team member had to take a trip to DeChambeau's car to get a replacement axle for his club as he completed the hole himself and then had to do his own repair work on the new axle get it back on.

But the forced change didn't bother him too much. The next time he needed his driver, he was on the ninth hole, which he birdied.

In fact, DeChambeau responded well to adversity by hitting the ball an average of nearly 20 meters further after his club broke, averaging the most shy of 340 yards.

The Californian – who recently claimed his sixth PGA Tour title in Detroit at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, where his drives averaged over a record 350 yards – says he had even tested the replacement leading up to the tournament, revealing that he "knew it would work."

"To be able to put an axle back in and make that thing perform great, just show how great that company is."

READ: The golfer who drove over 4,000 miles across the US to play in tournaments

A return to form?

After five months away from golf due to a back injury and pandemic, Woods returned to competitive action last month, finishing 40th in the Memorial Tournament.

But he did better in his opening round on the first major of the year, as he was back on familiar ground at TPC Harding Park and played there as a junior and with Stanford Univer

He finished with a two-under 68, his lowest opening round in a major since 2012.

The 44-year-old is chasing a record equal to the fifth PGA Championship title, with Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus each five to win. He is also looking for an 83rd PGA Tour victory as he is currently mostly tied to Sam Snead.

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One of the most notable changes Woods has made to his game is that he switched to a longer putter, something that the has relieved pressure on his back.

And the switch showed positive signs on Thursday, when he made 114 feet, 9 inches of putts, his highest season in one round.

"I messed with this putter for over a year," explained the 15-time winner. "It is sometimes difficult for me to bend over, so by practicing putting, I don't spend the hours I used to do.

" It wasn't uncommon for me to spend four, five, six hours spent the wells every day. I certainly can't log that with my back fused. Most of the Champions Tour boys have gone to longer goldfinches because they got older because it is easier to bend over or not bend over. And so this putter is just a bit longer and I was able to spend a bit more time putting it. "

Brooks Koepka, looking for a third consecutive PGA Championship title, is one shot behind the co-leaders, Australian Day and Brendon Todd.

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