Even by Bryson DeChambeau’s standards, it would be stretching things to think he played in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic for a specific reason earlier this year, writes Martin Dempster.
But, after watching Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia both win that event on the European Tour before becoming Masters champions a few weeks later in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the eccentric American is hoping that lightning strikes once more this week.
“That definitely makes me feel good,” admitted DeChambeau, left, of being reminded about both Willett and Garcia becoming first-time major winners after getting their hands on the iconic coffee pot at Emirates Golf Club, as he did back in January. “I would say that that gives me a great feel and sense that that may happen, but in preparation, you’ve still got to go prepare and go out and execute and win.
“With the previous Dubai Desert Classic champions, they were playing well leading up and hopefully I’m doing the same thing. Hopefully that shows up through this week.”
The 25-year-old finished as low amateur here on his debut in 2016 before making the cut on his first appearance as a professional 12 months ago. He’s not yet found the formula to cracking Augusta National, but is turning over every stone in attempting to do so.
“What I’m able to sometimes figure out here is not as much as other places, but that’s okay,” added DeChambeau. “Because, if we can figure this stuff out in a way that’s allowable, then that’s a huge advantage for us.
“I think that I prepare as much as I possibly can that’s allowed here, and I believe that my preparation is a little more intense, I would say. I have to work a little harder to get some insight into some things than other places, but that’s fine.
“I mean, that’s a part of the process, and I think the person who digs it out of the dirt the most should have a little bit of an advantage and I think that’s where it’s actually a positive thing.”
Monday’s practice round, which saw the bookmakers’ favourite, Rory McIlroy, head out with Dustin Johnson in the morning, was curtailed when thunderstorms closed in around 4pm, forcing the course to be evacuated. 1988 winner Sandy Lyle, the sole Scot in the field, was among those out playing a few holes when that decision was taken.