BRYSON DeChambeau is hopeful a successful defence of his title at this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic can act as a springboard for glory in the 2020 Major Championships.
The American stormed to a dominant seven-shot victory at Emirates Golf Club in 2019, to claim his first European Tour title – and add to his growing list of career achievements.
The 26-year-old has won the US Amateur and lifted trophies as a professional on both sides of the Atlantic.
But the player dubbed the “Mad Scientist” has yet to make a splash in golf’s four biggest events – while four winners of the Dubai Desert Classic have won a Major in the same season, including Tiger Woods twice in 2006 and 2008, and Ernie Els, in 2002.
The Ryder Cup star’s best finish in 14 Majors has been a tie for 15th at the 2016 US Open Championship at Oakmont.
But he is determined to improve on that record this summer and knows that two of the winners of this week’s Dubai event have gone on to claim the Green Jacket at the Masters just a couple of months later.
DeChambeau said: “I’m honoured to be back. I love this city. I think it’s an incredible place, and desert golf has always suited my style of play.
“I’d say all in all, it’s one of my favourite places to be, just because of how technologically advanced I feel like the place is, and the golf course is in immaculate shape.
“The greens are perfect. The rough is longer this year, which is pretty interesting and I also just love hitting it off the fairways out here.
“It’s a lot of great fun, and a lot of scoring opportunities. So for me, it’s a great test of golf and I had a lot of fun last year. Let’s hopefully do it again.
“Last year, I didn’t drive it my absolute best but I was still able to get it done.
“It’s going to take great ball-striking, iron play, and making a lot of putts.
“My wedge game is much improved I feel like and personally I’m looking forward to the new test this week.
“The rough is a little bit longer, so being in the fairway is going to be key, and if you have a great wedge game, you can get up-and-down and fix those mistakes you have, it’s definitely a viable option to win.
“All of my mind is taken up for the need to do well in the Majors. That’s what I haven’t done well in particular in my career so far, and I am keen on changing that.”
Stenson and Garcia keen to join Lee Westwood in the Roaring Forties
MEANWHILE Major Champions Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia are looking to keep the flag flying for the over 40s following Lee Westwood’s impressive victory in Abu Dhabi last week.
The Nottinghamshire ace from Worksop secured his 25th European Tour title at the age of 46, and he is the latest player to prove that age is just a number after win number four in his 40s.
That win matched the number recorded by Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie in their final decade before moving over to the Seniors Tour.
Montgomerie is labelled with the tag of no victories in the Major Championships, while Langer won the Masters twice in 1985 and 1993.
Stenson was 40 when he won The Open Championship at Royal Troon and, now aged 43, returned to the winner’s circle with victory in the Bahamas in December.
The Swede arrives in the Middle East from Singapore and insists he has plenty more miles left on the clock at the top of the game as he seeks to add to his success in the Major Championships.
Stenson said: “The golf course doesn’t know if you’re 20, 30 or 40 when you’re teeing it up, right?
“It’s all about bringing as good a game as you can do and we know experience is a good part in this game, to have played it in different conditions over the years and different courses and all the rest.
“At times we can’t really compete with the longest players in the game but we can compete with other factors and, of course, that’s something we try to do as good as we can.
“We certainly keep the dreams alive of winning golf tournaments,” added Stenson.
“I don’t know if it’s down to possibly swing, if your swing is not taking too much toll on your body and not wearing your back down too much, you probably can keep it going.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on the physical side the last 10 years to try and buy myself some extra time – and for recovery and practice and everything else.”
Garcia, a winner of the event in 2017, only turned 40 earlier this month so is still looking for a first win of this decade and would also relish more success in the Major Championships.
But the Spaniard – who won in Dubai before claiming his first Green Jacket three months later in 2017, as did Danny Willett 12 months before that – is confident he can take on the young guns.
Garcia said: “We know it’s not easy as you keep adding on numbers to your ID, but we go out there and we practice hard and we try to stay fit and play the best we can.
“We believe in ourselves, we believe that we’re good enough. I feel like we show it pretty much week-in, week-out.
“It gets tougher every year because there’s a lot of good youngsters coming out both in Europe and on the PGA Tour.
“But we can still go out there and perform well. We are competitors and we love to compete and challenge ourselves and that’s what we try to do.’
•For live scoring in the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic click here.