While it may not have been the way he pictured it, Bryson DeChambeau won his first career major, dominating the field to win the US Open at a Winged Foot course that crushed most of his peers.
DeChambeau is one of the most polarizing figures in all of golf as people seem to either love him or hate him. I for one don’t understand the hate for a young American challenging the status quo in a sport full of stuffy unwritten rules. I fully admit that he is an interesting cat and has a way of rocking the boat (bitching and moaning to officials) that probably rubs some people the wrong way, but golf is a sport that has been begging for some novelty. Bring on the guy who goes out of his way to do things differently like just randomly deciding to put on 40 pounds
Or a guy that is custom designing his irons so they are all the same exact length. Odd, but hey it works. It’s not like Bryson is showing up in jorts and giving people the DX suck it sign after bombing one off the tee like he’s Kenny Powers. He’s just looking at the way things have always been done and said well what if I do it differently?
Bryson has been criticized a ton because he always tries to just overpower courses like he’s Happy Gilmore.
That criticism was especially loud this past weekend as the US Open took place on a ruthlessly tight and unforgiving course like Winged Foot, but it worked for DeChambeau in a huge way as he dominated the field. He was the only player to finish under par and finished a full 6 strokes ahead of Matthew Wolff who melted down on Sunday to finish in second place. Bryson basically punted on accuracy and figured if I can just bomb it as far as possible, the course is set up in a way that I can recover from most roughs.
The front of every green is open and allows for a run up shot which is why WF can be played from the rough if you can get close enough to the green and other sites which are blocked, don’t allow you to play from the rough.— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) September 20, 2020
You know, assuming your ball doesn’t end up with a lie like the grass in a public park that hasn’t been mowed in six months because the entire landscaping crew got furloughed.
DeChambeau’s percentage of fairways hit was ugly at 41%, but because of that extra 20-30 yards he was getting off the tee, he was able to pick up a legit advantage like grabbing an eagle on a long Par 5 on Sunday.
If you watch golf every weekend you’re well aware of DeChambeau’s “Scientist” nickname, but if you’re even a casual fan this isn’t stuff that you would automatically know. I feel like I’ve heard it 20 times, but it doesn’t make it any less insane that DeChambeau uses a driver with a 5 degree loft. That is absolutely bananas. Most guys are using 9.5-10.5 degree drivers and DeChambeau figured out if he swings at a fast enough speed he can maximize his distance off the tee by basically swinging with a frying pan for a club. I mean his putter has more loft than his driver for christ’s sake.
Does he fairly get criticized for pissing and moaning to the officials more than your average bear? Yup, the fire ants complaint was a Hall of Fame moment of unintentional comedy.
But even yesterday he knew the rule where he was close enough to a sprinkler head in the rough just off the green that it warranted a drop in any direction within a club’s length. Granted he was up a handful of shots at the time, but knowing that rule allowed him to move his ball from the rough onto the green. Cannot hate on that awareness.
While the celebratory zoom call with his parents got a little awkward as a crowd surrounded and millions at home watched the private convo, but it was hard to not get choked up witnessing his initial reaction to seeing his parents.
So Bryson’s an unconventional guy, but with Tiger and Phil at the tail ends of their careers we could use some more unconventional guys and personalities on tour to keep this game growing beyond its core audience.