Dhe new world champion is called Martin Borgmeier, but even the 30-year-old Munich native celebrated in the end the man he defeated in the final. “I wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here, not here in this environment with this technology, if one man hadn’t come along and made this sport what it is now: Bryson DeChambeau.”
The 31-year-old American had a stint from professional golf last year at the Professional Long Drive Association’s (PLDA) World Championship, a sport all about throwing a golf ball as far as possible into a 60-yard (55-meter) strip of grass beat, breathed new life.
Six drives in two and a half minutes
Mainly because he took seventh place when he took part for the first time. “And this time he even finished second. What’s going on here? Three years ago he had a ball speed of 170 miles, now he’s hitting the ball for 400 yards (366 meters). The man is a professional golfer, nobody has ever managed anything like that. It’s just crazy,” Borgmeier shouted at the audience.
In the final, in which the two players have to hit six drives within two and a half minutes, “DeChampino”, as the commentator of the YouTube-only competition called him, hit his longest shot at 406 yards (371 meters). He achieved a ball speed of 213 miles (343 kilometers per hour), twenty more than his best result on the PGA Tour. But that wasn’t enough, because the longest shot of the native of Paderborn only rolled out after a ball speed of 222 miles (357 kilometers per hour) with a slight fade (gentle left-right curve) after 426 yards (390 meters).
“The Beard”, as the German is known because of his full red beard, had achieved his goal and was able to collect the prize of 50,000 dollars (around 51,000 euros). “But it helped everyone who was in the last eight that Kyle was handicapped,” said Borgmeier in his victory speech.
Because Kyle Berkshire, who has dominated this sport for years and won the last two world championships, had to have an operation on his wrist three weeks before these title fights in the Nevada desert and only hit a golf ball again the day before the preliminary round with a total of 128 participants. The defending champion only ended up in ninth place.
Borgmeier, who failed in the semifinals last year, has thus reached the high point of an unusual career. At the age of 16 he had quit golf with a handicap of 3. The graduate business economist and business psychologist only came back to golf through colleagues in an IT company.
They discovered how far Borgmeier hits the ball and persuaded him to enter long driver competitions. He won the Bavarian championship in 2017 and then took second place in the German championship. There, the two-time English Long Drive World Champion Joe Miller recommended that he concentrate fully on this sport.
Borgmeier followed the advice, increasing his ball speed from 190 (305 kilometers per hour) to 220 miles (354 kilometers per hour). After winning €2,500 in his first professional competition in Europe, he quit his job and concentrated on sending the golf ball the longest possible journeys at ever-increasing speeds.
He found sponsors, and 25,000 fans quickly followed him on Instagram. He made the first trips to America, where 500 to 600 professionals try to make a living from the PLDA’s ten tournaments. In March 2020, he managed to launch the ball at 231.9 miles (373 kilometers per hour) – a world record now held by Berkshire at 236 miles (380 kilometers per hour).
This record drew the attention of DeChambeau, who was then working hard to become the “longest” on the PGA Tour through strong muscle building. The two now know each other so well that Borgmeier has spent the past six months with his wife and young son at DeChambeau’s mansion in Dallas. The two often trained together.
It worked for both – but only in Mesquite for the 2020 US Open Champion. After joining LIV Golf for reportedly more than $100 million, he only finished eighth twice in the invitational tournaments of that Saudi-funded rival league.