Rory McIlroy: World number one not surprised by Bryson DeChambeau's power game

Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau
McIlroy first played with DeChambeau four years ago

Rory McIlroy has said he is not surprised by the big-hitting power game which Bryson DeChambeau has displayed since golf's return after lockdown.

The American has purposely gained 45lbs in weight in nine months and secured his first PGA Tour win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit last week.

He averaged 350 yards off the tee and McIlroy said he has long been aware of the 26-year-old's potential.

"More power to him," the world number one said.

"I've seen the videos Bryson has been putting up and it looks like he has turned his living room into a golf laboratory, but he is doing what he believes is the right path forward for him.

"Length will always be an advantage in golf - that's just the way it is. Even if some of the equipment or the balls are changed, the longest will still be the longest.

"What Bryson is doing is very impressive. He always had speed. I remember playing with him back in 2016 in Abu Dhabi when he had just turned pro and he had speed back then. When he wanted to, he could hit it long.

Bryson DeChambeau
DeChambeau won by three shots over compatriot Matthew Wolff in Detroit.

"At Portrush last year, when he was right in the infancy of this journey, I was checking the tracker on the range and his ball speeds were right up in the 190s then.

"So he has always had the speed, though maybe the mass that he has put on has helped him get a little bit more. But he is making golf interesting, is getting people to talk about him and he has already won."

McIlroy has not been in contention to win any of the three tournaments that he has played in since the return of golf after the coronavirus lockdown.

His position at the top of the world rankings could be under threat at this week's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, but the Northern Ireland man said he is just not focusing on the rankings.

He also revealed that he has recently had the chance to work with coach Michael Bannon for the first time since February, and that it has boosted his game.

"It was nice to spend some time with Michael and get some good work done. I feel a bit better about my swing and my game going into this week and the next few months," McIlroy continued.

"It might sound bad but I treated the first three events that I've played in as dipping my toe into the water again and seeing how things were, and how things felt in terms of no crowds.

"I'm not even thinking about the rankings. I played a little bit better at the Travelers and had a chance to finish better on the Sunday than I did. If I play well the rankings will look after themselves."

McIlroy has been grouped with Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka for the opening two rounds at Muirfield.

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