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Bryson DeChambeau working beyond his driver for The Masters – TSN

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It’s far from graceful and not the slightest bit elegant, but Bryson DeChambeau’s swing is definitely effective.

This week, if everything goes according to plan, he’ll use it to turn Augusta National into his personal playground, wearing out his short irons as he hits them into greens on the longest of holes.

On Tuesday, he related some of the jaw-dropping clubs he’s used to reach the putting surfaces. For instance, he hit a driver and then a seven-iron to reach the 575-yard, par-5 second hole.

On 11, a tough 505-yard par 4, he played his second shot with a pitching wedge.

And on the 18th hole, an uphill, 465-yard test, he just flipped a wedge from 110 yards.

These shots were played with a 46-inch driver. He’s also testing out a 48-inch model that could rocket his ball to even greater distances. He hasn’t yet decided whether to put that in the bag on Thursday.

“I think people would realize that hitting it farther is definitely an easier way to play the game,” said DeChambeau, in a possible shout-out to Captain Obvious.

Over the past year, the 27-year-old has transformed his body into a hulking mass of muscle, in large part to his workouts and 5,000-calorie-a-day diet. Coupled with a scientific approach to building and swinging a golf club, he’s changed the face of golf and turned courses such as Augusta National into mini-putts.

He’s sent pros such as Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson in search of more distance and a generation of college players coming behind him have adopted his hit-it-as-hard-as-you-can method, indicating this is unlikely to be a one-person movement.

Although the prodigious distance gets most of the attention, his methods go past hitting long bombs. It infects every part of his game from tee shots to irons that are all the same length to his arm-bar putting, which he does with an awkwardly rigid stance that, like his tee shots, is not artistic but is effective.

“I think people are starting to see that no matter what it is, whether I do this or that or face-on putting, it’s always to try to get better, no matter what I do, there’s going to be times of failure and there’s going to be times of success,” stated DeChambeau. “But I’m going to fail a lot more than I succeed, and I think people are starting to understand that it’s not just about me being quirky and doing things in my own way but it’s about the process of trying to be better each and every day.”

He used his power at Winged Foot Golf Course in winning the U.S. Open in September and wants to add another major this week. To do that, however, he knows it must be about more than just hitting tee shots 400 yards.

“I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping out here,” he analyzed. “That is one of the things that I think people sometimes struggle to see.  As much as I can gain an advantage off the tee, I still have to putt it well and chip it well and wedge it well and even iron play it well, and that’s what I did at the U.S. Open. If I don’t putt it well at The Open, if I don’t wedge it well, if I don’t hit my irons close, I don’t win that tournament.”

DeChambeau’s style of play has caught the attention of the last player to ravage Augusta National, Tiger Woods. It was Woods’ 1997 win when he lapped the field that led to the Georgia course to began a process of adding length.

“He’s put in the time.  He’s put in the work,” Woods said on Tuesday. “What he’s done in the gym has been incredible and what he’s done on the range and what he’s done with his entire team to be able to optimize that one club and transform his game and the ability to hit the ball as far as he has and in as short a span as he has, it’s never been done before.”

Despite his overwhelming status as the favourite at every online betting site, DeChambeau is not comfortable with accepting that crown just yet. He is entering new territory not only with his driver but also his stature in the golf world.

“I don’t know about that yet,” he said when asked if he liked being the tournament’s top pick. “I’m not sure if I like it or not. I will say that, you know, for me, I’m trying to look at it as I’m still an underdog to the field.  Anybody can win this week. There’s a lot of unbelievable players out there.”

Indeed there are but none who have caught the attention of golf fans around the world like he has.

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Sinclair to lead Canadian women’s team in her fourth Olympics

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Christine Sinclair, the all-time international goal-scoring record holder, was named to her fourth Olympic squad on Wednesday and will headline a Canadian roster at the Tokyo Games that features a mix of veterans and youth.

Led by Sinclair, whose 186 goals for her country are the most by a female or male soccer player worldwide, Canada won medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and was the only nation to make the podium in both competitions.

“I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to help take this team back to the podium and make history again,” said Canadian captain Sinclair. “Our team is in a good spot, we are excited, we are hungry and we are ready to go.”

The 18-player roster features 12 members of the squad that competed at the 2016 Rio Games while a quintet including Vanessa Gilles, Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso, Adriana Leon, and Evelyne Viens will be making their Olympic debuts.

Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan travelled to Rio in 2016 as an alternate.

Canada will kick off their Tokyo 2020 journey when they face Japan on July 21 and continue Group E play against Chile on July 24 and Britain on July 27.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Which of the Canadians Picked in the 2021 NFL Draft Will Thrive This Season?

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It was a good NFL Draft for Canadian players in 2021.

Some four stars from north of the border were selected by NFL franchises in the free agency pick ‘em, and that is tied as the highest number of Canadians drafted in the 85-year history of the event.

Of course, the hope is that these young talents are more than just filler and roster depth, but can any of the quartet make the breakthrough into the big time?

Here’s a look at which of the NFL’s newest Canadian additions can shine in 2021/22.

Jevon Holland

The defensive back was the number 36 pick in the Draft by the Miami Dolphins, who beat off a number of rivals in the hunt for the Coquitlam native.

A versatile defender, Holland is a former Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist thanks to his exploits in the NCAA back in 2019 with the University of Oregon.

He sat out the 2020 campaign, but representatives from dozens of NFL teams were in town to watch Holland go through his paces at the Oregon Pro Day.

The 21-year-old is following in the footsteps of his father Robert, who turned out for the Detroit Lions, and he is expected to force his way into the starting line-up at the Dolphins. And, who knows, maybe Holland could go all the way in his first season, with Miami priced at +2500 in the Super Bowl 2022 American football odds.

Benjamin St-Juste

When you’re six foot three, 205 pounds and still able to run 40 yards in 4.51 seconds, it goes without saying that you have the physical credentials to succeed in the NFL.

Benjamin St-Juste is the man that can, and he will bolster the roster at a Washington Football Team that will be looking to improve upon their playoff showing in 2020.

The 23-year-old may only have been a third-round pick, but he comes with a burgeoning reputation thanks to a successful time at the University of Minnesota. An All-Big Ten special mention in 2019, more than 50 NFL recruitment personnel attended the college’s pro day – largely to catch a glimpse of St-Juste going through his paces.

Both Brian Gutekunst and Jon Robinson made the trip but, in the end, it was Washington who snapped up the powerhouse from the Draft.

Chuba Hubbard

The third Canadian to be drafted in 2021 was Chuba Hubbard, who became the first Canadian running back to be selected from the Draft in 25 years.

It’s the Carolina Panthers who have taken a chance on the 22-year-old and with his credentials, you can see why. Hubbard finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 2019 after a stellar campaign – he served up 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, an NCAA best. He was named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

While running backs are not the hottest of properties in the Draft, Hubbard provably has the talent to cross into the end zone with regularity – the Panthers might just have got their hands on an unheralded gem here.

With these three Canadians taking the step up to the NFL, the future of the sport north of the border looks in safe hands.

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s

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Andy Murray‘s grasscourt return was cut short in brutal fashion at Queen’s Club as Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini dished out a 6-3 6-3 defeat to the former world number one on Thursday.

The 34-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, playing in his first singles tournament on grass for three years, could not handle the ferocious pace of Berrettini as he slid to defeat.

Murray eased past Benoit Paire in his opening match on Tuesday but world number nine Berrettini was too big a step up.

Berrettini’s huge first serve and forehand did most of the damage but the Italian also showed plenty of silky touch on the slick lawns to register his first career win over Murray.

Berrettini, 25, finished the match off with a powerful hold of serve, banging down four massive first serves before sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner.

He faces British number one Dan Evans in the quarter-final after Evans beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Murray, a five-time winner of the traditional warm-up event but now ranked 124 after long battles with hip injuries including resurfacing surgery in 2019, has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon championships.

Apart from a slight groin niggle, Murray said he was reasonably happy with his condition, considering this was only his third Tour-level tournament of the year.

“I think obviously I need to improve,” Murray told reporters. “I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good today. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most.

“I felt like today that that sort of showed my lack of matches.”

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who won the singles title in 2019 and the doubles alongside Murray, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Canada‘s Denis Shapovalov.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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