Bryson DeChambeau takes Matthew Fitzpatrick comments 'as a compliment'

DeChambeau won his first major at the US Open last month
DeChambeau won his first major at the US Open last month
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open second-round leaderboard
-14 M Laird (Sco), P Cantlay (US), B Harman (US), P Malnati (US), A Cook (US); -13 B DeChambeau (US)
Selected others: -12 S Garcia (Spa); -9 L Oosthuizen (SA); -8 T Lewis (Eng); -7 L Donald (Eng)

Bryson DeChambeau says he takes Matthew Fitzpatrick's comments that his big-hitting approach is taking the skill out of the game "as a compliment".

DeChambeau is currently one shot off the lead at the halfway stage at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

But Englishman Fitzpatrick, who is playing at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, says the American is "making a bit of a mockery" of the game.

"I appreciate that comment," said the 27-year-old US Open champion.

"A year ago I wasn't hitting it anywhere near as far as I am today. It took a lot of work, a lot of hours to work through the night to figure out a lot of this stuff.

"I would say it actually takes more skill to do what I'm doing."

Earlier, Fitzpatrick said of the American: "He's just taking the skill out of it in my opinion. I'm sure lots will disagree. It's just daft."

DeChambeau claimed his first major last month in dominant fashion, winning by six shots as the only player to finish under par at Winged Foot.

The American has added more than 40lbs in the past year in a bid to drive the ball further and overpower courses.

And it has worked, he topped the driving distance category on the PGA Tour last year with an average of 322 yards, while Fitzpatrick was 121st with an average of 294.

"This game has given me the opportunity to showcase something pretty special," he said.

"I feel like I've started to go down a path that has allowed me to have an advantage over everyone. I think that is a skillset when you look at it.

"I think it takes a little bit more skill to do what I'm doing and that's why there are only a few people doing it out here. If anything, it's more difficult to hit more fairways the way I'm doing it with the rules today."

Fitzpatrick says he feels he cannot compete with someone hitting the ball as far as DeChambeau and is "fed up of seeing everyone talk about" the American's approach.

"I'm going to be biased because I'm not quite the longest, but at Winged Foot - fair play to him, he won and shot six under - the fairways were tight as hell and I drove it brilliantly, I actually played pretty well, and I'm miles behind," added Fitzpatrick.

"He's in the rough and miles up and he's just hitting wedges everywhere. It just makes a bit of a mockery of it, I think.

"I looked at ShotTracker yesterday, some of the places he hit it and when he's on, there's no point, is there?

"It doesn't matter if I play my best, he's going to be 50 yards in front of me off the tee and the only thing I can compete with him is putting, and that's just ridiculous."

Asked if he wanted the game's governing bodies to limit the distance achieved by modern equipment, Fitzpatrick added: "I really hope they do. In my opinion it's not a skill to hit the ball a long way.

"I could put on 40lbs. I could go and see a biomechanist, I could put another two inches on my driver and I could gain 40 yards. But the skill in my opinion is to hit the ball straight."

Scotland's Martin Laird shares the lead at the event in Las Vegas at 14 under par, alongside Americans Brian Harman, Austin Cook, Peter Malnati and Patrick Cantlay.