Move over Bryson DeChambeau, here comes Wilco Nienaber!

Wilco Nienaber averages 338 yards (309m) off the tee this season. Picture: Mariscal EPA

Wilco Nienaber averages 338 yards (309m) off the tee this season. Picture: Mariscal EPA

Published Jun 13, 2023


Johannesburg - Many spectators will flock to watch Bryson DeChambeau smash drives at the US Open this week, but they will get far more value for their money if they decide to watch South Africa’s Wilco Nienaber.

The 1.87m tall Nienaber is the current driving distance leader on the DP World Tour this season, and is far less known than DeChambeau who is generally considered one of the longest hitters on the planet. DeChambeau is also a major champion, having triumphed at the US Open in 2020.

The US Open is known for being the most difficult or testing of the four majors, and DeChambeau defied the odds three years ago by placing a premium on driving distance at the cost of accuracy. In 2020, he hit just 23 of 56 fairways - the fewest of any champion in the history of the US Open.

Last year, playing in the LIV Golf series the 1.85m tall DeChambeau averaged 327 yards (299m) off the tee.

That means that there will be hordes of fans following the popular American, and actually finding a good spot to watch DeChambeau crunch his driver off the tee, when he uses it, will be rather difficult.

Instead if spectators wish to see a golf ball launched into the stratosphere, Nienaber, a Sunshine Tour event winner, is a far better, worthwhile, bet - and he hits the ball even further too!

The 23-year-old averages 338 yards (309m) off the tee this season. He will certainly not attract the crowds that DeChambeau will, and getting up close and personal to Nienaber will be much easier for those wanting to watch a long hitter.

Another feather in Nienaber’s hat, is that his swing seems far more graceful and traditional. To the average onlooker, his swing looks almost effortless. In comparison, DeChambeau looks like he is trying to bludgeon a sack of potatoes with an oversized scimitar.

So if grace, poise and natural clubhead speed is what a golf fan is after at the US Open, give DeChambeau a skip and give the young South African a follow instead.


IOL Sport

* The views expressed are not necessarily the views of IOL or Independent Media.

** JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Send us an email with your comments, thoughts or responses to [email protected]. Letters should be a maximum of 500 words, and may be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Submissions should include a contact number and physical address (not for publication).