CRUSHERS READY TO REPEAT THEIR DREAM SEASON STARTING IN MAYAKOBA
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – There are two sayings that the Crushers GC followed to a tee in 2023 – well begun is half done, and all’s well that ends well.
Captain Bryson DeChambeau and his men started the year with an individual (Charles Howell III) and team win at the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleón Golf Course in Mayakoba, and then finished it by winning the Team Championship in Miami.
One of only three unchanged teams from last year, Crushers will be hoping for a similar script to play out in 2024.
The mercurial DeChambeau led by example. After struggling to find his form in the first few months, the big-hitting Texan brought some of the most challenging golf courses to its knees and tore the record books with one jaw-dropping performance after another. The 61-58 weekend in Greenbrier crowned a stunning run of 20 consecutive sub-par rounds that started in Adelaide and included an 8-under at the devilishly difficult Valderrama. He later won Chicago too, closing with another sensational round of 8-under that seemed impossible in the conditions.
DeChambeau was spectacular, but he could not have done without the solidity that his teammates Howell, Anirban Lahiri and Paul Casey provided. It turned out to be a perfect team effort throughout the season. The only disappointment was the final round in Jeddah, when all four had a rare off day together and that cost them the title from a winning position.
Howell was second in Fairways Hit and led the Greens in Regulation stats in Mayakoba last year, and that’s always been the strength of his game. Lahiri came close to winning thrice last year (runners-up in Adelaide, Bedminster and Chicago) and is intent on getting his hands on the trophy this year. Casey, who struggled with an ankle injury, is fully fit and ready to fire.
Like he did last year, Lahiri has turned up in Mexico sporting a ‘zapaata’ moustache again. It led to some funny moments as his teammates tried being creative with nicknames – Paul Casey came up with ‘EsteBaan’ and ‘Baandito’ – but he insists it’s not a superstition.
“I have grown it just to show my love for the Mexican people. The tash is not going to help us score better. We have already proved what kind of golf Crushers can play as a team. I am very positive that we can carry on from last year,” explained Lahiri.
Crushers 2024 Team:
Bryson DeChambeau (captain)
Charles Howell III
Since we are into sayings, there is another that Crushers followed - why change a good thing? Captain DeChambeau retained all his players, including Casey, who finished 35th with 20 points and was in the Open Zone.
Only three teams are unchanged this year – Louis Oosthuizen’s Stingers and Majesticks being the other two.
Crushers at Mayakoba
In the inaugural season, Crushers were second in team standings behind the rampant 4Aces, but were unable to win a single title. DeChambeau, when asked at the beginning of 2023, said the biggest goal for the team was to win its first title.
He did not have to wait long. In the season-opener in Mayakoba, Crushers recorded a nine-shot win over arch-rivals 4Aces, while Howell won the individual title by four shots over Peter Uihlein.
Howell shot a stunning 8-under round on Sunday, in which he was seven-under through his first 10 holes. His effort – the best round of the tournament by two shots – combined with Casey’s fourth-place finish at 7-under, was enough to elevate the team way above the others in windy conditions.
Crushers in 2023
Following their win in Mayakoba, Crushers won again in Chicago, when DeChambeau and Lahiri were 1-2 in individuals. Apart from that, they were second twice (in Greenbrier and Bedminster in back-to-back events) and third twice (Singapore and Andalucia).
DeChambeau led the individual standings, finishing just outside the top-three after a disappointing final round in Jeddah. Brooks Koepka’s win at Royal Greens edged him to fourth place by just three points.
Howell, with one win and four top-10s, was in 10th place with 102 points, three points better than Lahiri at No. 13. The Indian star had three second place during the season. Casey was 35th with 20 points. His fourth place in Mayakoba was his only top-10 finish of the season.
The lowest round of the season for Crushers, in fact for the whole of LIV Golf, was DeChambeau’s stunning 12-under 58 at Greenbrier. Apart from the 58, the 2020 US Open champion had five rounds of 7-under or better.
Casey, who started the season with a 6-under in Mayakoba, later shot an 8-under in Singapore’s final round. Howell matched Casey’s best of 8-under on two occasions – in the final rounds in Mayakoba and Singapore. Lahiri best was 7-under, which he achieved twice – in the final round of Adelaide and Saturday of Bedminster.
The counting round stats for the team was led by DeChambeau with 32.