Written by
Joy Chakravarty, LIV Golf Correspondent
Mar 07 2024
- 4 MIN
DeChambeau Hong Kong preview

Captain Bryson DeChambeau is relishing the challenge of showing that he is an unstoppable force even when forced to give his deadly driver some rest at this week’s LIV Golf Hong Kong.

The tree-lined Fanling course of Hong Golf Golf Club may not be the longest in the world, but its 6,710-yard, par-70 layout is a wicked test of golf. Established in 1888 and one of the oldest golf clubs in the region, it has stood the test of time with its strategically placed hazards that make it impossible for players to unleash their driver all the time.

DeChambeau, who shot a historic 58 last year at Greenbrier, is already threatening to do something similar this season. His last five rounds have included two 62s and a 63. And he is ready for this week’s unique challenge.

“It’s a really good test of golf. I grew up at a golf club like this that’s pretty tight and you have to sort of shape your ball and hit your irons really well. It reminds me of home, which is kind of nice,” said the two-time LIV champion.

“I have probably never played a course this short in competition. Harbour Town is longer, I think. It’s definitely a unique test. There’s a lot of shot shaping you've got to have out here, and your iron play has to be on point.

“What’s funny is I can use the driver a couple of times out there, if it’s into the wind. There’s a few places where I can actually use it, surprisingly.”

DeChambeau’s Crushers are proving as much of a juggernaut as their Captain.

Last Sunday in Jeddah, with all four scores counting, Charles Howell III (64), Anirban Lahiri (65) and Paul Casey (69) added to DeChambeau’s stunning 62 and tallied an incredible 20-under par for the final round to surmount an 11-shot deficit and triumph by four shots.

It was the biggest comeback by a team in LIV Golf history, and it resulted in Crushers’ second podium finish of the season (runners-up in Mayakoba) and the fifth team title (including Team Championship in Miami) in last 17 starts.

DeChambeau is not surprised by the success.

“I think it was built off of last year’s resolve. We were focused on winning the Team Championship. We worked hard. Every one of us wanted to win that Team Championship, as well as win individually. Last night, we were sitting around the table, and we all said, the coolest part about this is we’ve won a Team Championship and numerous team events, but we all want to win the individual titles as well,” said the 2020 US Open champion.

“I think that’s what makes us so good in a lot of situations. We’re all gunning for that individual position because if we all do well individually, especially with four scores counting on the last day, it’s tough to beat when you’ve got all four guys in it.

“I think LIV is working towards enhancing the team aspect moving forward in the future, but what we did last week was a pretty cool showcase of what teams can do and what they can mean and what it can mean for individuals and the team and the caddie and people who are part of a franchise.”

Lahiri was delighted with his own form following the tied sixth place finish in Jeddah, but pointed out to Casey as the one to watch this week.

The 46-year-old Englishman finished inside sixth and tied 11th in Mayakoba and Vegas, and despite a phenomenal ball-striking week in Jeddah, he was let down by his putter. Casey was tied second in fairways hit and second in greens in regulations, but was tied 52nd in putting average.

“I have been saying this since Mayakoba, and I will say it again – Paul has been hitting the ball so well that I won’t be surprised if he has multiple wins. He is probably one of the best ball strikers on LIV right now. This is a golf course that should suit him well,” Lahiri said.