His gains in the weights room pale in comparison but Marc Leishman admits to being a fascinated observer of the body transformation that Bryson DeChambeau has undertaken.
When the pair arrived for the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club last December DeChambeau was already attracting attention for his more muscular physique while Leishman was displaying a more svelte figure designed to enhance his longevity in the game.
Missing the cut in his first start back at Colonial last week, Leishman and the rest of the golf world took note of DeChambeau’s new look and the immense power he unleashed on his way to a tie for third finish and rise to No.12 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Ahead of the first round of the RBC Heritage tournament at Hilton Head where DeChambeau opened with a bogey-free 4-under 67, Rory McIlroy didn’t hold back when he told of his reaction to playing with the American at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
“He hit a couple drives on Sunday that (caddie) Harry (Diamond) and I just looked at each other, and were like, ‘Holy s–t, that was unbelievable’.”
The interest for Leishman is not only the distances he can now bomb off the tee but how DeChambeau’s body copes with the additional mass over an extended period of time.
“I’m certainly watching it. I am interested in it but I’m not going to follow in his footsteps,” said Leishman, who will return to the PGA TOUR next week at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
“If he does do what he’s doing and does it successfully – puts on 20-30 pounds of muscle – it will be interesting to see how he goes on the injury front.
“I don’t think I’m going to be doing it. I don’t think my body can handle that injury-wise. Fatigue as well. An extra 30-40 pounds – 15 or 20 kilos – that’s a lot to carry around when it’s 35 degrees and humid and you’ve still got to move your body and know where your body is.
“But it is pretty impressive what he’s done and how far he’s hitting it that’s for sure.”
When he returned to home shores for the Australian Open late last year Leishman had trimmed down noticeably, cutting out bread and sugar and limiting his intake of Leishman Lager as he cut eight kilograms from his 6-foot-2 frame.
Confident after his win at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Australia Day, Leishman approached the season suspension caused by the coronavirus as a mini pre-season, limiting his visits to the ‘kegerator’ out back and maintaining a disciplined approach to his fitness regime.
“I approached it as an off-season, which I haven’t had since I joined the PGA Tour,” said the Victorian who was the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year in 2009.
“I also didn’t want to let things get out of hand. I’ve been looking after myself fairly well the past six months or so trying to get into some decent shape and I didn’t want to throw all of that out the window either.
“I hate playing golf gym-sore, so I never do. This was a good opportunity to be sore for a little bit and try and get some gains with my body which I haven’t really been able to do.
“I was just happy to maintain weight and maybe gain a little bit of muscle but I didn’t want to change my body shape too much either because I’ve been playing really good golf.
“I would not say I was on Bryson’s level, at all. I don’t think many people were to be honest.
“If I put on 30 pounds it would be 30 pounds of fat, not muscle.
“I know I’m not getting any younger. I’m 36 and every injury that I get cuts into my career and I don’t want that to happen. It’s more for injury prevention that I’m doing it, not for gains.
“You take your health for granted a bit when you’re younger and I certainly don’t do that anymore.”