He’s the OG of bulky bombers on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia but Kiwi Ryan Fox insists he won’t be caught up in trying to match the extraordinary gains made by newly crowned US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.
After finishing tied for fourth at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last October, DeChambeau went behind closed doors to undergo a radical transformation, his bulkier physique impossible to ignore when it strode through the gates of Royal Melbourne for the Presidents Cup.
The theory of one of golf’s most complex thinkers was simple; get bigger, get faster and hit it further.
A run of seven consecutive top-10 finishes culminated with victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July and his six-shot win at the rescheduled US Open at Winged Foot has again brought his methodology to the forefront.
No stranger to a deadlift or a deep squat, Fox returned from the COVID-19 suspension of the European Tour in good shape physically but has no interest in an ultimate makeover that might yield a few extra yards.
“I don’t feel like I need to hit it any further than I do,” says Fox, who missed the cut at Winged Foot and has been averaging a touch over 325 yards (297 metres) off the tee in 2020, DeChambeau averaging 325.6 yards in his US Open assault.
“I’ve obviously got a little bit of speed there when I want it and I do enjoy the gym stuff but I’m certainly not going to try and bulk up and put on 50 pounds and swing it at a 140mph like he is.
“I don’t think I’d keep it on the golf course and I’m pretty sure my body wouldn’t handle it.”
It’s the physical toll that DeChambeau’s new power game may take that is of most interest to Fox and many others.
“The jury is out on that for Bryson,” said Fox, the reigning ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner.
“Obviously it’s impressive at the moment and he’s been playing some great golf but there’s a few questions around whether it’s sustainable. Only time will tell in that regard.
“It’s certainly been impressive looking at it from the outside. It’s pretty hard to pick up speed and he’s certainly picked up a lot of it in the last 6-12 months.
“Picking up speed is something you do more as a kid, it’s always been pretty hard to do once you reach that adulthood threshold.
“To pick up however many miles an hour he has got with driver in the last six months to a year is pretty impressive but I’m not going to get caught up in that.”
With one top-10 and three further top-20 finishes since the resumption of the European Tour Fox has climbed to 31st in the Race to Dubai rankings and is listed to play this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.
The 33-year-old failed to qualify for last year’s season finale in Dubai and said restoring some lost speed was certainly a facet of his workout regime during lockdown.
“I felt maybe the back-end of last year I was losing a little bit of speed and I feel like I’ve got that back and it showed in my golf swing as well,” said Fox.
“I was struggling with a couple of things technically, stability-wise and stuff like that and without swinging a golf club for six weeks in lockdown I came back out swinging it better than before we went in.
“It did show up on Trackman. It only showed a little bit of an increase in speed but there was probably a little more in the tank than what I had.
“I noticed it straight away and it was probably a little easier speed than what it had been the back-end of last year and the start of this year.”
The highest-placed Aussie at Winged Foot, Lucas Herbert, is also entered for the Irish Open alongside countrymen Wade Ormsby, Scott Hend, Min Woo Lee, Jason Scrivener, Maverick Antcliff, Jake McLeod, Zach Murray and 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell.