'It's sad': Big-hitting Bryson has Player worried for future of St Andrews

'It's sad': Big-hitting Bryson has Player worried for future of St Andrews

Gary Player has once again weighed into golf's distance debate, saying big hitters like Bryson DeChambeau are making St Andrews' Old Course "obsolete".

The South African legend said today's strongarm players could drive nine of the greens on the famous Home of Golf.

But Player, speaking in his new role as a Wentworth ambassador, added he admired DeChambeau's transformation over the last few months and reckons he will only be the tip of the iceberg.

"Bryson has put on 40 yards. I don't know where we are going," he said. "Right now, they are in gyms building their bodies. I don't know what the limit is to where a ball can go but we are going to see things we've never dreamed of. It's going to just ruin the game."

Bryson DeChambeau

Player continued: "Isn't it sad, when you think of the great Home of Golf, St Andrews, a place that we all love and adore? That is so obsolete. You've got people there who will drive eight or nine greens."

DeChambeau's extraordinary bulking up, and added distance, has been the talk of the golf world since the sport returned from lockdown, and Player, no stranger to advocating strength and conditioning training, hailed the American's discipline in transforming his body.

But he believes Bryson will just be the start.

"First of all, he has a very good golf swing – contrary to what people have been saying. If you look at his swing step-by-step it’s outstanding," Player declared. "He puts the club at the top of his backswing in the most perfect position.

"I admire him. A lot of people have been critical but I admire him because it takes tremendous discipline to have to go to that gym. I found, throughout my career, people go to the gym, they stop. If you go to that gym every day, as I have done for 70 years, let me tell you there are some days you just don’t want to go.

"You are tired, you don't want to go, but you have to go. To have built his body up, I admire that so much to have done that. He’s been rewarded.

"I have been saying, since I was nine, you’ve got to lift weights, you’ve got to build your body up if you want to have longevity."

And he warned: "Bryson is Mickey Mouse. This is the thing we've got to realise. This is Mickey Mouse compared to what’s coming along."

Player on his new Wentworth role

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Player, who won nine majors on both the regular and senior tours, claimed five World Matchplay titles at Wentworth between 1965 and 1973 and designed the Edinburgh course, along with John Jacobs and Bernard Gallacher.

On his new role with the club, he said: "I first arrived at Wentworth in 1955 and it is a place that holds a special place in both mine and my wife’s heart.

"Of particular fondness are the memories of the Match Play, of which I was able to win five.  I consider these wins to be some of the finest of my career.

"The courses are always in immaculate condition and the club continues to try find ways to improve and is consequently a brand that I am very proud to be associated with.”

Neil Coulson, Wentworth's general manager, added: "Gary’s relationship with the club has now spanned more than 60 years. During his playing career Gary was a regular visitor to Wentworth treating the golfing world to many special moments.

"In recent years, Gary’s visits have provided some wonderful opportunities for our members to listen to stories and learn from the great man. A true golfing legend."

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