Defending U.S. Open champ Bryson DeChambeau dominates headlines, as much for spat as for strategy

The Brooks Koepka-Bryson DeChambeau spat is still front and center in the golf world, but DeChambeau is there for other reasons, too.

Defending U.S. Open champ Bryson DeChambeau dominates headlines, as much for spat as for strategy

SAN DIEGO – Before last year, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods were the only golfers in history to win the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship, the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open. Then Bryson DeChambeau started chugging protein shakes, lifting big weights and bulking up. He committed to speed and a bomb-and-gouge philosophy, then won at Winged Foot last September to join Jack and Tiger’s club.

DeChambeau is here at Torrey Pines this week to defend that U.S. Open title. He’s still in love with speed, still looking for every edge science can provide. But instead of focusing on his outlandish distance off the tee and analytical approach to the game, golf lovers have been fixated by DeChambeau’s social media feud with Brooks Koepka. On Tuesday, more intrigue was added to the plot.

Its origin goes back to a slow-play scuffle in 2018, but things really got interesting last month. After the second round at the PGA Championship, Koepka was being interviewed by Golf Channel when DeChambeau walked behind the scene and distracted him.

“I (expletive) lost … I lost my train of thought. Yeah, hearing that bulls—t,” Koepka said. His eye rolls filled in any blanks viewers of the leaked video might have had.

DeChambeau fired back on Twitter, saying it was nice to be living rent-free in Koepka’s head. Still, two weeks ago at the Memorial, the PGA Tour removed some fans who called DeChambeau “Brooksie” during the second round (saying DeChambeau “had an issue with some spectators and notified security, who dealt with them”).

Here’s where things get odd. On Tuesday at Torrey Pines during his press conference, DeChambeau acted like that never happened.

“All of it’s been good fun,” he said. “Shoot, to be honest, people saying Brooksie’s name out there, I love it. I think it’s hilarious.”

This came after reports Tuesday morning that the USGA had reached out to see how DeChambeau would feel about being grouped with Koepka on Thursday and Friday. the call never happened, but Bryson’s answer Tuesday afternoon was more ambiguous.

“I would be okay with that, but there was never really anything that went through me,” he said.

So, we may never know if there was a call from the USGA to DeChambeau’s camp or not, and if there was, did someone squash the idea before Bryson was made aware of it?

We do know this: DeChambeau, who won earlier this season at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, plans to employ the same strategy he used at Winged Foot here at Torrey Pines.

“If I can keep hitting it to the front of the greens, two-putting when I get into trouble, I’m going to give myself a great chance this week,” he said. “When I hit it in the fairway, I have to take advantage of those holes, have to take advantage of the par 5s out here. If I can do those two things, I feel like I’ll have a great chance at contending.”

Those tactics served DeChambeau well at Winged Foot last fall. He was the only player in the field to finish below par for the week (6-under 274) on a course widely considered one of the toughest in the U.S. Open rota.

“If I have over 190 mile an hour ball speed, it’s going to be tremendous out here covering bunkers and whatnot,” he said. “But again, sometimes the bunkers are good to be in out here. They’re in really great condition, and the rough lies can be treacherous sometimes. It really depends what type of lie you get. I really don’t know if bunkers or rough is better, but for sure just getting it as close as I can to the green is going to be a strategy of mine.”

There were no fans on the course at Winged Foot, and there will be significantly fewer spectators here at Torrey Pines than there were in 2008 when Tiger Woods won. But San Diego is a microbrew hotspot, filled with people who love to enjoy a good lager or IPA on a sunny day. As they get “hydrated” throughout the days here at Torrey Pines, watching Bryson DeChambeau’s reactions and demeanor could be as fascinating as watch how he tries to win a second U.S. Open.

Source : Golf Week More   

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U.S. Open: Gary Woodland is back in the gym and coming off a swing tune-up, but you won't see him playing instigator this week

Gary Woodland, who's healthy again, says he would have relished a grouping alongside Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

U.S. Open: Gary Woodland is back in the gym and coming off a swing tune-up, but you won't see him playing instigator this week

SAN DIEGO – A year ago, as the defending U.S. Open champion, Gary Woodland didn’t like his chances.

“I wasn’t physically able to play. I just wanted to defend,” he said.

He missed the cut and his injured hip required four cortisone shots to get through the end of last year.

As for now?

“I started working out again two weeks ago, which is amazing, so body is feeling better and definitely with that comes a lot more confidence,” he said.

Woodland also got an added boost of confidence from his longtime instructor, Butch Harmon. They have worked together on and off since 2011, but Harmon retired from tending to his stable of pros at Tour events and so Woodland has seen less of him. He stopped on the way to Torrey Pines for a tune-up of sorts. Usually, Harmon can pinpoint one area of weakness that he needs to work on, but this time Woodland required more assistance.

“Last week there were four things that were off. That’s a lot for me, and it was all stuff that I wasn’t able to do last year and stuff that I started doing because I was hurt,” he explained. “That part is a little frustrating, so usually I’m one day with Butch. I spent three with him. Thursday, he told me I was horrible, and Saturday he told me I was pretty good and I had a chance to win this week. That’s what I like about Butch. He keeps it honest.”

Woodland, 37, has made three cuts in his last four events, including finishing fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship last month. He also is returning to a Torrey Pines course that he’s played regularly and has always fit his eye and power game. Woodland is paired for the first two rounds with fellow past U.S. Open champions Martin Kaymer and Webb Simpson despite the rumors he would be grouped with defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka.

“I would have loved to have played. I think the energy in that group would have been amazing,” Woodland said. “I would have instigated and tried to start fights or whatever I could have done.”

Woodland’s injury not only dented his confidence, but his chances of playing in the Ryder Cup, which was postponed a year, this fall. He’s plummeted to No. 21 in the U.S. Ryder Cup team point standings behind Will Zalatoris. (Only the top six automatically qualify for the team.)

“I think I would have made the team if we would have had it before COVID, and then I battled injuries and battled a lot and I dropped way down,” he said. “I’m happy with where my game is. I’m happy where the confidence level is. I don’t think I’m too far off where I can play my way back in. I think I can do that, and that starts this week.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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