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Bryson DeChambeau’s awkward compliment puts Tiger Woods in the past – New York Post

DUBLIN, Ohio — Everyone wants a glimpse.

Even Tiger Woods.

Wednesday was Tiger’s turn to take an up-close-and-personal look at the phenomenon that is Bryson DeChambeau, he of the 25 pounds of added muscle and otherworldly length.

Until his arrival this week, Woods had been away from the PGA Tour since its COVID-19 re-start, so he’d been reduced to watching the new Bryson the same way most of the world has: on television.

Woods and DeChambeau played together in a practice round Wednesday morning at Muirfield Village Golf Club in advance of Thursday’s opening round of the Memorial. DeChambeau revealed that he was the one who actually initiated the pairing, which lasted for the front nine.

As you might expect, it was fun theater.

And then, after it was over, DeChambeau, while heaping praise on Woods, unwittingly went to a place where few have dared to go with a couple comments.

“Back in the day, he was it,’’ DeChambeau said. “He was the golden star. He was the one everybody looked up to.’’

While DeChambeau meant nothing but to be complimentary of Woods, it was impossible not to notice the past tense in his sentences.

Then there was this:

“Even now, he’s hitting it pretty long,’’ DeChambeau said. “There were a couple holes he hit 320, 325 [yards]. I’m like, that’s pretty good for his age. It’s amazing for his age.’’

Yes, DeChambeau went there: “For his age.’’ Though intending nothing but reverence and not an ounce of disrespect, his words dripped with unintended patronization.

Woods, 44, didn’t hit his first driver of the round until the sixth hole, and DeChambeau’s drive landed 50 yards past Woods’.

“I never imagined that I’d be even hitting it this far,’’ DeChambeau, 26, said.

Woods, in a brief interview after the practice round, said DeChambeau “hit a couple good [drives], but nothing that he stepped on because the front nine doesn’t really allow it.’’

On Tuesday, Woods praised DeChambeau’s transformation.

“What Bryson has done is no easy task,’’ Woods said. “He’s put in the time and has put in the reps and he’s figured it out. He’s gotten stronger, faster, bigger, and has created more speed. But more importantly, he’s hitting it further. But let’s look at the fact that he’s hitting it as straight as he is. That’s part of the most difficult thing to do.’’

DeChambeau has been the talk of the PGA Tour since its restart and he has become a lightning rod.

Most competitors have been complimentary, but some have tweaked him.

“I feel like if I’m playing my game, he can hit it as far as he wants to and I don’t think he’s going to beat me,’’ Dustin Johnson said Tuesday.

“I went from kind of being a little skeptical about it to maybe saying some things to realizing he was beating me every week and I should probably shut up and just start playing better for myself,’’ Justin Thomas said last week. “People don’t understand how hard it is to hit it that straight at that high speed. It’s pretty unbelievable.”

Patrick Cantlay, the defending Memorial champion who’s paired with DeChambeau for the first two rounds, joked, “I’ll expect to play at least second most of the time coming in from the fairway. I’m expecting [DeChambeau] to hit it really far.’’

He will.

“I don’t know if guys that are currently on Tour will go to the lengths that he’s gone to try and get the distance, but I do think that there’s a lot of young kids watching that are maybe in high school or even in college or junior golf that are thinking to themselves, ‘Well, if I can hit it really, really far, there’s a definite advantage,’ ’’ Cantlay said. “So, we might see distance be even more of a factor in five or 10 years just because of the influence that [DeChambeau] may have on the younger generation.’’

That would be fine with DeChambeau.

“I really am about human progress and how much good I can do for the world,’’ he said. “It would be amazing to win however many tournaments, [but] I think being a proponent of change in a good way would be something that hopefully I would be proud about more than winning all the tournaments.’’

At the moment, he’s doing both.

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