Bryson DeChambeau has US Open rival that can hit the ball further than McIlroy

PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf agree shock merger

The modern golfer is hitting their drives longer than ever before but when the US Open gets underway this week, infamous slugger Bryson DeChambeau could have some serious competition.

The muscular American is renowned as being one of the biggest hitters in the game, exciting testosterone-powered crowds with his booming smashes off the tee – and the results speak for themselves.

Last year, the LIV Golf rebel averaged 327 yards (299m) from the tee box on the Saudi-funded circuit. His all-out power approach will attract large galleries at the Los Angles Country Club this week and as the 29-year-old has proven in the past, such a tactic can land you a Major championship.

When DeChambeau won the US Open in 2020, he did so by hitting just 23 of 56 fairways, the fewest of any champion in the history of the US Open.

That policy will be tested to the limit in California this week, however, with ultra-deep rough lining the course. For most players, hitting the fairways will never have been more vital if hopes of lifting the silver trophy on Sunday are to be realised.

Spectators may need to jostle for a decent view of DeChambeau’s boom or bust approach but for those who simply want to see a monster drive in all its glory, there is a real alternative to following the 29-year-old around the course.

South Africa’s Wilco Nienaber is in LA for the US Open this week and the big news is that he can smash the ball even further than DeChambeau.

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Standing at 1.87m tall, Nienaber is currently the leading distance driver on the DP World Tour. The 23-year-old is averaging 338 yards (309m) off the tee this season. That’s even further than that PGA Tour’s leading driver Rory McIlroy, who has averaged 328 yards from the tee box this season.

There is also an argument to be had that Sunshine Tour winner Nienaber’s swing is more aesthetically pleasing than DeChambeau’s. According to IOL, the South African is said to have a graceful effortless-looking swing, which is in stark contrast to DeChambeau’s battering ram approach.

Ranked 147th on the DP World Tour and still seeking his maiden triumph on the circuit, Nienaber is unlikely to be in the mix for the US Open title, but the chances of him hitting the longest drive of the tournament will be extremely high.

Unfortunately, another thing this is high is the rough that lines the fairway at the Los Angeles Country club, making accurate drives more important than ever before. But in the battle to smash a golf ball into orbit, McIlroy and DeChambeau face genuine competition this week.

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