Bryson DeChambeau struggles again at Royal St. George’s but still loves the challenge of the British Open

Hitting just five of 14 fairways in Saturday’s third round of the 149th British Open, DeChambeau stands well behind the leaders.

Another frustrating day on the links of Royal St. George’s did nothing to dull Bryson’s DeChambeau’s affection for the oldest championship in golf.

Hitting just five of 14 fairways in Saturday’s third round of the 149th British Open, DeChambeau signed for a 2-over-par 72 and stands well behind the leaders at 3 over through 54 holes by the sea in Sandwich, England. It was the latest chapter in a poor history in the Open Championship for the 2020 U.S. Open champion and world No. 6, who has now played 11 rounds spread over four starts in the championship and broken par in just two rounds.

Despite missing the cut twice, finishing 51st and looking at another result north of 50 in his four starts in the British Open, DeChambeau will eagerly continue to examine the puzzle inherent with links golf and search for answers.

“This is, by far, the hardest tournament to figure out,” DeChambeau told reporters after his round. “It’s why I love it here, because of the challenge. This one keeps me scratching my head.”

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It’s been a turbulent week for DeChambeau, who said his “driver sucks” after the first round and he was living on the “razor’s edge,” which ignited a storm when a representative for his equipment company, Cobra, took issue with their player’s comments and responded with a strong rebuke.

DeChambeau later apologized and said he made a mistake he hopes to learn from. He said he will continue to work with Cobra and looks forward to crossing the pond again next year for the 2022 Open on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

“Hopefully, St. Andrews will be a little more forgiving to me,” he said.

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Torrey Pines South has potential to be among top five longest U.S. Open courses ever

The USGA will adjust the course setup each day, potentially landing Torrey Pines among the top five longest U.S. Open courses ever.

Torrey Pines’ South Course has the potential to play as one of the five longest U.S. Open courses ever, depending on how the seaside track in San Diego is set up each day this week.

Erin Hills, host site of the 2017 U.S. Open, holds the top four spots among the longest courses, as measured each day. The longest that Wisconsin layout played was 7,845 yards for the first round in 2017.

Torrey Pines South is listed on the card at 7,652 yards for this week’s U.S. Open. The U.S. Golf Association plans to adjust that yardage daily, and it’s entirely possibly the South could move into the top five for a round this week. The course plays to a par of 71. For a closer look at each hole, check out the yardage book for Torrey Pines South.

The South played at 7,603 yards in the second round in 2008, the year Tiger Woods held off Rocco Mediate in a playoff. That still ranks as the seventh-longest U.S. Open setup. It also ranks No. 10, playing at 7,476 yards in the first round in 2008.

More on Torrey Pines: Could the South Course be better?

Here are the longest daily setups ever at the U.S. Open, as provided by the USGA:

  • 7,845 yards, Erin Hills, first round, Erin, Wisconsin, 2017
  • 7,839 yards, Erin Hills, second round, Erin, Wisconsin 2017
  • 7,818 yards, Erin Hills, third round, Erin, Wisconsin, 2017
  • 7,721 yards, Erin Hills, fourth round, Erin, Wisconsin, 2017
  • 7,695 yards, Chambers Bay, second round, University Place, Washington., 2015
  • 7,637 yards, Chambers Bay, third round, University Place, Washington, 2015
  • 7,603 yards, Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course), second round, San Diego, 2008
  • 7,514 yards, Congressional C.C. (Blue Course), first round, Bethesda, Maryland, 2011
  • 7,497 yards, Chambers Bay, first round, University Place, Washington, 2015
  • 7,476 yards, Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course), first round, San Diego, 2008
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Cristie Kerr manages pain, meds en route to a second-round 69 at U.S. Women’s Open

Cristie Kerr has something extra she’s trying to manage during this week’s U.S. Women’s Open — the pain from last week’s golf cart accident.

HOUSTON — On top of windy and wet conditions, a field of hungry young guns, and Bermuda rough that will gobble a golf ball in a heartbeat, Cristie Kerr has something else she’s trying to manage during this week’s 75th U.S. Women’s Open — the pain from last week’s golf cart accident.

When is it too much? When should she take her doctor-prescribed meds? When will it most affect her golf swing? And when does she need to simply gut it out and play?

For someone facing this many questions, Kerr certainly seems on point. Through two rounds she sits in a tie for sixth place, five shots behind leader Hinako Shibuno as the field reached the tournament’s midpoint at Champions Golf Club.

But after Friday’s solid 69 — one in which she played bogey-free golf on the difficult Cypress Creek course  — Kerr said keeping her focus on the simple things might be making all the difference.

USWO: Leaderboard | Photos

Rather than worrying about the pressure of playing in a major tournament, Kerr seemed content to slide in under the radar, hoping the field is underestimating what she has at her disposal.

“I’ve definitely missed shots I would normally not miss because I’m in pain, but it’s actually, it’s kind of a nice mental place to be,” Kerr said. “I’m not happy how I got here, but maybe it’s meant to teach me a lesson, I don’t know. God moves in mysterious ways.”

On Thursday, Kerr broke into tears while discussing the crash, offering details into the incident at the Old American Golf Club. Kerr spent several hours in the emergency room that night, suffering knee, arm and hand contusions while caddie Matt Gelczis suffered from whiplash.

She’s dealing with three displaced ribs, as well, which is why she’s using doctor-prescribed meds to help cut the pain when it flares up. On Thursday, she said she took one mid-round.

On Friday, Kerr mentioned that she took one before she started play and then a half-dose while on the course. The two-time major champ said it doesn’t help her loosen up, but it does put her at ease.

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“It doesn’t do anything to your golf swing. Maybe just mentally, you know you’re not going to be … it’s not going to be hurting a ton when you hit. But that’s the best answer I can give you,” she said. “You try to time it and space it so mentally you don’t get spacey on it.”

Of course, that’s the balance she needs to strike. If the pain is so great that Kerr can’t get through the ball, her play will suffer. But if she takes too many meds, she can easily lose her focus — or worse.

“You’ve got to be careful how much you take, as well. Like it can affect your breathing. But before with a full day … when I say one pill, it’s like a half of a normal dosage. Other people like would take, it’s like a 50-milligram pill of Tramadol,” she said. “It was a non-narcotic and now I don’t know where it sits on the list, but it’s doctor-approved and everything is fine, but that’s like half of a normal dose. Some people take 100-gram, so that’s a 50-gram pill, and then I just took a half on the golf course.”

Whatever line she’s walking, it seems to be working. Kerr posted birdies on Nos. 8 and 10, but played steady par golf the rest of the way, comfortably nestling her way into an eight-way tie for sixth.

She’s well within striking distance of Shibuno, who fired a 67 on Friday, and she wouldn’t have to leapfrog too many players if Shibuno started to fall — amateur Linn Grant is in second, just two shots ahead of Kerr.

Either way, she’s simply happy to be making a stand in what she called her favorite tournament.

“I mean, it definitely has lowered my expectations,” Kerr said. “I feel like I would have taken very high expectations and not gotten in the accident, but I guess that if you’re going to take something good away from it, I guess that’s one thing.”

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Watch: Amateur Maja Stark holes out from fairway at U.S. Women’s Open: ‘Well, that was easy.’

The Oklahoma State product moved to 1 under for the tournament by holing out from the middle of the fairway on the 406-yard sixth hole.

HOUSTON — Ah, the innocence of youth.

Just a few strokes off the lead in her first U.S. Open, Oklahoma State’s Maja Stark jumped up the leaderboard on Friday morning in incredible fashion.

While playing the Cypress Creek course at Champions Golf Club, Stark — who hails from Abbekas, Sweden — moved to 1 under for the tournament by holing out from the middle of the fairway on the 406-yard sixth hole.

Making the moment even better. Stark turned to the few folks on hand and thanked them for their applause and then looked at her caddie Emma Whitaker before saying, “Well, that was easy.”

Stark, who is currently No. 14 on the Official World Golf Ranking’s list of women’s amateurs, had a solid opening day on the Jackrabbit course, sandwiching birdies around a single bogey. She was just one of a number of amateurs to post impressive opening-day scores.

But Stark made things more interesting on the harder Cypress Creek course early Friday, going bogey-bogey-birdie-bogey-eagle on a five-hole stretch.

Winning is nothing new to Stark, who captured a title in just her second collegiate start at Oklahoma State, winning the Hurricane Invitational.

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U.S. Women’s Open to be streamed exclusively on Peacock

Don’t look for streaming coverage on the USGA website nor on the NBC Sports Gold app. Peacock has the exclusive streaming rights.

Golf fans, get ready once again for Peacock.

It’s NBC’s new app and many golf fans were likely introduced to it for the first time in September when they were scrambling to find the streaming coverage of the U.S. Open.

Well, it’s back for this week’s U.S. Women’s Open so don’t look for streaming coverage on the USGA website nor on the NBC Sports Gold app. Peacock has the exclusive streaming rights this time around.

The complete TV listings for the U.S. Women’s Open on NBC, Golf Channel and Peacock are here. Here are the live windows (in EST) for Peacock over the first three rounds.

  • Thursday, Dec. 10, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 11, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

You can find Peacock on your computer by going here. You do need to create an account but it’s free. You can also download it on your phone. If you have an Amazon Firestick, there’s a thing called sideloading, a handy trick you can use to add Peacock to your TV.

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Will Zalatoris cashes in, surpasses Korn Ferry season earnings at U.S. Open

Will Zalatoris made $403,978 in 16 Korn Ferry Tour starts this year. Then he tied for sixth at Winged Foot and earned $424,040.

Will Zalatoris made $403,978 in 16 Korn Ferry Tour starts this year, establishing himself as the best—and most handsomely paid—player on that circuit. The 24-year old thus earned a spot in the all-exempt field at the 2020 U.S. Open, where he finished T-6 alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

For breaking into the top 10 by carding 5-over par last weekend, Zalatoris more than matched his Korn Ferry Tour season earnings with a check for $424,040. He also received an exemption for next year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

“It was a great experience,” Zalatoris said about his U.S. Open effort. “I’ve been playing well all year. I just found out that obviously top 10 gets us into next year too, so that’s obviously pretty exciting.”

Zalatoris turned heads with his hole-in-one on Thursday at the 7th hole, accomplishing the feat roughly six hours after Patrick Reed did the same. He almost did it again at the 13th, only to have his ball ricochet off the flagstick.

Far from being a one-hit wonder, Zalatoris battled Winged Foot all weekend, shooting 70-71 over the final two rounds on a difficult golf course that saw many of his opponents lose ground. The wiry San Francisco native clawed up the leaderboard to finish neck-and-neck with Johnson, this year’s FedEx Cup champion.

“I’ve been really working hard over the past couple of years, and nice to finally see it pay off on the big stage,” Zalatoris said.

“Pay off” is right.

Zalatoris will now attempt to keep the momentum going. He has finished T-19 or better in all 11 starts since golf returned in June, including six top-5 results and a win at the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes.

Due to pandemic-necessitated changes to the qualifying process, Zalatoris will likely have to wait until the 2021-22 season to see full-time action on the PGA Tour. However, he will start at this week’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic, where a victory would earn him automatic PGA Tour status.

“I’m playing Puntacana (this) week. We’ve got two more events on the Korn Ferry Tour between now and the end of the year,” said Zalatoris. “Hopefully I’ll get a couple more (PGA) Tour starts between now and the end of the year.”

As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing, PGA Tour fans are going to see a lot more of Will Zalatoris in the future.

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Bryson DeChambeau’s journey to become a U.S. Open champion was born…under a tent

Bryson DeChambeau developed his unique way of playing golf under a beat up tent in Madera, California under the tutelage of Mike Schy.

On Saturday night, when Golf Channel showed video of Bryson DeChambeau hitting balls under floodlights, Mike Schy chuckled as the “Live From” hosts made a big deal of his longtime pupil’s devotion to getting better.

That’s nothing. Schy, who began coaching DeChambeau at age 12, has watched him do Rocky Balboa-type workouts. There was the time after DeChambeau failed to earn his PGA Tour card in 2016 playing on sponsor exemptions and had nearly a month to kill before the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs began. DeChambeau arrived back home at the Mike Schy Golf Performance Institute headquartered at Dragonfly Golf Club in Madera, California, and declared he wasn’t going to hit a ball for three weeks but rather was going to revamp his swing plane by spending at least 4 hours a day on the “Schy Circle,” a swing plane training device engineered and built by Schy, until his hands bled.

“He did it for three weeks, alternating between swinging a heavy rod and a golf club. He put a cover over the range balls. If he wasn’t going to hit range balls, guess what, no one else was going to either,” Schy recalls. “Who else would do that? Hitting a golf ball is a drug and a fix for him, and to give up his fix and make his motion what he wants it to be, well, Bryson is obsessive-compulsive. You can’t stop him. If it means going all night, he’ll go all night. He’s always been that way. His modus operandi is, ‘I’m going to go to the range until I’m comfortable and then we can go play Fortnite.’ ”

The coda to this story: DeChambeau won the DAP Championship, the first Korn Ferry Tour playoff event, and was off and running en route to winning the 120th U.S. Open on Sunday at Winged Foot.

The truth is, it would’ve been a story if Bryson hadn’t beat balls after Saturday’s third round under floodlights.

“I told everybody on Thursday that he would win,” Schy says shortly after DeChambeau holed out for a final-round 3-under 67 and six-stroke victory over Matthew Wolff. “Bryson called me on Tuesday and told me he’d figured something out, not to tell me thanks for the help because that doesn’t happen, but he found something and I watched him play the first three holes and I knew he was going to win.”

Mike Schy with an assortment of his homemade gadgets and training aids. (Adam Schupak/Golfweek)

Schy watched the broadcast from home as DeChambeau validated all their hard work. He considered flying to New York before the final round but there were too many hoops to jump through in the age of coronavirus. While Schy has taken a backseat in recent years to instructor Chris Como, who is based at Dallas National Golf Club, where DeChambeau practices when he is home, Schy remains one of his closest confidants and their journey from Schy’s tent, where he has hundreds of gadgets and training aids, to major winner has been one strange trip.

“When he was 12-13 years old, he was spending every waking hour with me at the tent. I’d never had anyone like him or at quote ‘that level,’ ” Schy says. “Even at an early age, we were talking swing theories that he wanted to try and test. That was an element that was important to our journey. Decisions and choices have consequences so there could be some bad golf. As long as he was willing to accept that, we could experiment and cross some things off.

“When we went to one-length clubs and a one-plane swing, everyone thought we were super-crazy, not just crazy. They said it wasn’t going to work, he wasn’t going to get a golf scholarship, but the more we went down the rabbit hole, the more it was making sense and you could see how accurate he was becoming and the control he gained over the ball. It was a lot of work and I always tell him don’t discount all the work you’ve done.”

Schy always knew DeChambeau was capable of achieving extraordinary results in professional golf and encouraged him to do it his way. But he also warned him that marching to the beat of his own drummer would bring with it a host of doubters.

“We were in a car in L.A. and talking about the future and I told him, you have to understand one thing: you could be the No. 1 golfer in the world, win several PGA Tour events, win a major, maybe even two, and people are going to still think you’re crazy – that this doesn’t work, whether it is the clubs, your swing, your mannerisms, they’re going to be doubters,” Schy says. “I told him, I’m a Golfing Machine instructor. There are 13 million swings so pick one and trust it’s the right way for you. You have to own this 100 percent because there are going to be people who are going to crap on you every day. And they did. There have been rough times, but that’s all part of the journey.”

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Even now that DeChambeau has achieved the ultimate validation in winning a major, Schy doesn’t expect DeChambeau’s triumph to inspire a revolution of followers rivaling that of Tiger Woods winning the 1997 Masters. Not immediately, anyway. It will take time for DeChambeau’s principles to be accepted.

“Do I think it will change? I do. I think people will view what he’s done and say I need to evaluate it. Even after today, they’re probably going to say, eh, that worked for him but that’s it,” Schy says. “There will eventually be a groundswell and it will happen over time.”

Schy still isn’t sold on the DeChambeau diet and the way he has bulked up, but he trusts DeChambeau’s team of experts who treat him like the elite athlete that he is.

“He’s a beast when he works out,” Schy says.

Hitting bombs was always part of the plan. “We used to say that we want to be like Jack Nicklaus. We want to hit it to the moon and have it land soft,” Schy says.

But he argues that’s not what has made DeChambeau into a major champion. Schy says DeChambeau has become such a dramatically better putter. He remembers the time in January 2018 when DeChambeau snapped his putter and dragged it behind his car to teach it a lesson after a particularly frustrating performance at the Farmers Insurance Open.

“I don’t know if I ever believed that he would be one of the best putters in the world,” he says.

At an early age, Schy recognized that DeChambeau’s inquisitive mind was one of his greatest assets. He’s never been afraid to go down a rabbit hole, test something new and different, and challenge the status quo.

“He’s been that way since he was a kid,” Schy says. “For him, the more numbers he has the better he feels. Give him 100 numbers and he’s happy. Give him 1 and tell him you’re not sure about the others and he’d rather shoot you. People don’t understand that about him. It’s about feeling comfortable. For him the more information he has, the better he feels.”

As for DeChambeau’s many quirks, Schy shakes his head and says, “We call it the Bryson Way.”

Now, the Bryson Way is major-championship proven. Validating? Sure. But the mad scientist is far from done shaking things up. He’s already talking about a 48-inch driver and adding more bulk to his frame. He’s going to continue to tinker and pursue greatness; that, too, is the Bryson Way.

“We’re still crazy, just remember,” Schy says.

They wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Bryson DeChambeau tears up when his parents surprised him after his U.S. Open win

Bryson DeChambeau was surprised outside the clubhouse at the U.S. Open and saw his parents and family on a video call.

Bryson DeChambeau, the protein-drinking, weight-lifting golfer who has become the villain the PGA Tour needs, won the biggest golf tournament of his life on Sunday when he ran away from the field at the U.S. Open with a six-stroke victory at Winged Foot.

DeChambeau, who has changed the game of golf since changing the way his body looks during quarantine, used his incredible length off the tee and muscle to get shots out of the rough, now has one major championship to his resume and has to be the favorite to win the Masters in November.

After his final round on Sunday, DeChambeau was surprised when he turned the corner outside the clubhouse and saw his parents and family on a video call.

He instantly got emotional:

DeChambeau told his parents he loved them as he walked up the 18th fairway on Sunday:

Paul Azinger: On-air ‘steroids’ remark about Bryson DeChambeau taken out of context

It was surely meant as a compliment to Bryson DeChambeau, who was putting the finishing touches on a six-shot rout at Winged Foot.

“Validation on steroids.”

NBC analyst Paul Azinger uttered those words on Sunday during the final round of the U.S. Open.

It was surely meant as a compliment to Bryson DeChambeau, who was coming up the 18th fairway at the time, looking to put the finishing touches on a six-shot rout in the 120th rendition of the national championship.

DeChambeau has been dogged by the steroid accusations. Putting on all that bulk and bragging about all those protein shakes will do it, it seems. But the insinuations are unfair nonetheless.

Azinger explained to Golfweek by text message that his words were taken out of context.

“If anyone was thinking I was implying that Bryson was on steroids they completely misinterpreted that,” he said. “They get tested twice a week for crying out loud. Bad choice of words. He took a lot of (bleep) and validated everything he’s done. If that needs cleaning up then the world has gone to hell.”

Still, it certainly made everyone’s ears perk up during the NBC telecast.

Steve DiMeglio contributed reporting.

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U.S. Open: Matthew Wolff holds his head high after final-round 75, runner-up finish

Matthew Wolff put up an admirable fight before succumbing to Bryson DeChambeau, finishing second at the U.S. Open.

Matthew Wolff should hold his head high. He shot 10 strokes higher on Sunday than he had a day earlier in his brilliant third-round 65, the one that lifted him to the 54-hole lead of the 120th U.S. Open.

But he put up an admirable fight before succumbing to Bryson DeChambeau, who was the only player in the field to break par on Sunday.

“I played really tough all week. I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way,” said Wolff, a 21-year-old second-year pro, who finished at even-par 280. “But first U.S. Open, second place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for.”

Indeed, it was. No less than Rory McIlroy, a four-time major winner, sung Wolff’s praises. McIlroy knows what it is like to be the young kid trying to make history and experience a deer-in-the-headlights moment. McIlroy blew up to shoot 80 and squander the lead with nine holes to go at the 2012 Masters.

Of Wolff’s 75, McIlroy said, “That’s not that bad. It’s not as if he blew up like I did.” It was also better than Tom Watson, who in 1974 was 24 years old and shot a final-round 79 at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot playing in the last group as the 54-hole leader. He rebounded to win eight majors titles.

“I thought that if he went out there in today’s conditions and shot a couple over par, that he’d win the tournament,” McIlroy said. “Look, it’s a tough one. He’s a good kid. He’s resilient. He’ll have plenty of more chances.”

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And that’s what Wolff should take from his runner-up finish. Bogeys at Nos. 3 and 5 combined with a DeChambeau birdie at the fourth erased his two-stroke lead and left Wolff playing catch up. Both players made bogey at eight, and Wolff showed his resilience by pouring in an eagle putt on top of DeChambeau, who drained a 40-footer moments earlier. It turned the back nine into match play, and DeChambeau’s game was just a bit sharper. Wolff’s putter picked a bad time to cool off. He missed a critical par putt at 10, dropped another stroke at 12 and a double-bogey at 16 sealed the deal.

“I think the biggest thing I’m going to take from it is just I have to stay really patient because there’s a lot of times out there that I kind of hung my head, and that could have been the difference between two, three shots,” Wolff said. “Then at the end of the week, like I said, if I’m two, three shots closer to Bryson coming down the stretch, it’s just a different story. It’s the longest week of golf that I’ve ever played, and something that I’m going to know for the future, and next time I play, I’ll just know that it’s going to be a really long week and a marathon, and I just have to keep my head high. “

Asked if nerves got the better of him, Wolff said, “I don’t think it was nerves that were holding me back. I just think it wasn’t meant to be.”

Zach Johnson, a veteran with two major titles on his mantel, was asked what advice he’d give Wolff: “Leave this parking lot with the positive. He’s going to slice and dice today, and he needs to really focus in on some of the things that he did the previous three days, I think more so than today.”

Wolff may have only played two majors — he finished T-4 at the PGA Championship last month — but he already sounds like a savvy veteran. “I’m just excited to learn from this experience,” he said, “and it’s definitely not the last time that I’m going to be in this spot.”

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