Bryson DeChambeau Reminds Us Why We Love Sports

If you were among those fortunate enough to watch Bryson DeChambeau play this past week at Pinehurst No. 2, it was clear that he had an excellent shot at winning the 124th U.S. Open, not only because he came awfully close to winning the PGA Championship last month and has been playing some of his best golf lately.

But because he exuded a certain calmness during his practice sessions while remaining laser-focused on the task at hand.

DeChambeau, who studied physics at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and is nicknamed “the scientist,” is known for methodically choosing which club to use at precisely the right moment and for meticulously calculating the best flight path and trajectory of each stroke—in order to take the most efficient route to the hole.

And breaking with tradition, all of his irons are the same length, which allows him to use the same swing for each club.

Of course, like anything else, golfers can plan and practice all they want, but it still comes down to execution, which is no small feat, especially on a course as unforgiving as Pinehurst’s No. 2, where approach shots that drop right on the green roll off as though they’re being chased off by a grizzly bear.

On Wednesday, while DeChambeau practiced on the front nine, he jovially interacted with fans, signed autographs and took selfies with anyone who wanted one. He also put on a driving clinic, crushing one ball after another off the tee and sending them into orbit before they reappeared on the deepest stretches of the fairway.

Execution, precision, repetition, and the right mindset were DeChambeau’s recipe for success all week. His ability to quickly move on from a less-than-desirable result was key.

So it was no surprise that DeChambeau did not seem fazed in the slightest when he watched his three-stroke lead to start the final round on Sunday evaporate—after bogeying the 12th hole and finding himself two strokes back from four-time Major champion Rory Mcilroy for the lead.

But instead of doubting himself or allowing the golden opportunity to slip away, DeChambeau elevated his game, as he had done all week. Seemingly, every setback was met with a more positive outcome.

Two steps back, three steps forward.

There was the 3-wood he hit 187 mph on the par 4 on the 13th hole that reached an apex of 97 feet before plopping down in the back center of the green—allowing DeChambeau to two-putt his way to a birdie—putting him just one stroke back of the lead.

Then there was DeChambeau’s first three-putt of the entire tournament on the 15th hole, causing him to fall another stroke back of Mcilroy with just three holes to play.

With DeChambeau and Mcilroy tied at six under par heading into the final hole, they appeared to be heading into a playoff.

That is, until Mcilroy missed his par putt inside four feet of the hole to finish the 18th with a bogey.

DeChambeau only needed one more par and the trophy was his.

But his drive to start the 18th hooked well left of the fairway—forcing him to hit a tough shot from a rough full of pinecones, electrical wires, and a magnolia tree directly behind him—blocking his backswing.

Even Happy Gilmore would have been flummoxed.

Then DeChambeau defied physics and somehow managed to find the bunker on the right side of the fairway. He followed that up with what he called “the bunker shot of my life.” Fifty-five yards from the hole, he dropped the ball three feet, 11 inches from the pin.

And then he did what Mcilroy could not. His putt to save par dropped straight into the hole and DeChambeau pumped both fists in the air and let out a roar before hugging his caddie, Gregory Bodine.

For a variety of reasons, this victory was extra special for DeChambeau. 

He lost his dad in 2022 after he battled diabetes and kidney failure. So it was fitting for DeChambeau to hold the trophy and dedicate the victory to him on Father’s Day.

That same year, DeChambeau also tore the labrum in his left hip and fractured a bone in his left hand. He didn’t know if he would ever be able to play again—let alone compete at the highest level.

All week, DeChambeau dangled a white ivy cap on his golf bag in honor of his “hero,” the late Payne Stewart, who won the tournament at Pinehurst No. 2, several months before a tragic plane accident ended his life at the far too young age of 42.

DeChambeau was inspired to attend SMU after he saw a large mural of Stewart’s 1999 Open title displayed on the campus.

After his victory, DeChambeau held his cap up to the cameras and showed a button with Stewart’s silhouette on it before pointing skyward. “That’s Payne right there, baby,” he said.

“I wanted to get this one done, especially at such a special place. It means so much to me and SMU and my dad, what Payne meant to him,” DeChambeau said moments later, at his press conference.

Although DeChambeau had won the 2020 Open at Winged Foot, due to COVID, he was unable to celebrate the moment with his fans, and there was an eerie silence as he walked through Victory Lane, with masked volunteers softly clapping ever so slightly. You could hear a pin drop.

But on Sunday in Pinehurst, DeChambeau felt all the love from an adoring crowd. And he gave it right back to them.

It was the perfect ending to a day that will go down as one of the greatest moments not only in golf history but also in sports history.

Past legends were honored and remembered. New legends were born. Victory was sealed on the final putt of the final hole and everyone who watched will never forget the storybook finish to a magnificent week of golf.

David Keltz is the author of “The Campaign of his Life” and “Media Bias in the Trump Presidency and the Extinction of the Conservative Millennial.” His writing has been published in The American Spectator, RealClearPolitics, American Greatness, the Federalist, the American Thinker, and the New York Daily News, among other publications.


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