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U.S. Open Final Round Recap: Bryson DeChambeau's Bold Transformation Vindicated

A U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Seventy-two holes of golf’s greatest test.

In the end, it took a beast to tame the beast.

Bryson DeChambeau’s performance on Sunday in the New York suburbs will go down as a shining of example of an athlete doing it his way. DeChambeau is your U.S. Open champion, after a final round 67 that was complete with power, finesse and poise. DeChambeau began Sunday two strokes behind 54-hole leader Matthew Wolff, but from the get-go the bulky Bryson showed it was going to take an impressive number to hold him off.

Three consecutive pars to begin the day were followed by a birdie at number four, and a par at five which grabbed the lead for the 27-year-old. A lead he’d never relinquish. DeChambeau wasn’t perfect, but he missed in the right spots and like any champion received a couple bounces in his favor. His eagle on the par-5 ninth hole was a statement maker while his birdie on number eleven allowed him to cruise in with a string of seven consecutive pars while Wolff seemed to lose his swing.

The final result was a Sunday masterpiece. As the rest of the field wilted from the weight of Winged Foot, DeChambeau plowed ahead, much like he’s done all season long. One player was under par on Sunday. One player had four consecutive rounds of par or better. And that player is now a major champion. Just the second player in Winged Foot history to finish a U.S. Open at the iconic golf club under par.

Bryson DeChambeau poses and celebrates with the trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club - West.

Bryson DeChambeau poses and celebrates with the trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club - West.

Here’s a few key takeaways for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

DeChambeau sticks to his process

Even prior to the U.S. Open, Bryson DeChambeau was the story of the year in golf. Determined to test the limits of speed and power, DeChambeau returned from the COVID-19 layoff almost unrecognizable. He'd turned into the Hulk, putting on close to 40 pounds of muscle by consuming 6,000 calories per day.

As DeChambeau opened up about his quest to top 200 miles per hour ball speed while bombing and gauging golf courses across America, the critics piled on. ‘He’s too big’, ‘He’s going to get hurt’, He’s ruining the game’.

Here’s the thing … Bryson really doesn’t care what you think. He believes in what he calls his “process”. He works harder than anyone in the game, as onlookers witnessed Saturday night when DeChambeau worked on his driver well after dark on the Winged Foot range.

“I think I'm definitely changing the way people think about the game.” said DeChambeau following his trophy presentation.

“I hope I can inspire some people. My goal in playing golf and playing this game is to try and figure it out. I'm just trying to figure out this very complex, multivariable game, and multidimensional game as well. It's very, very difficult. It's a fun journey for me. I hope that inspires people to say, hey, look, maybe there is a different way to do it.”

Seeing DeChambeau become a major champion by sticking to what he believes reminded of me of the impression I had after interviewing him last summer in New York. It’s where I asked him if his approach, using science and statistics, gave him an edge over the competition.

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“Absolutely. I have an edge.” said DeChambeau who compared his unorthodox tinkering to analyzing the stock market

“It's more of finding little facets of the game that affect the game in a big way. But nobody knows it yet. And that's what I try and look for. I look for those little things so I can get an advantage where nobody's looking.”

Two majors into 2020 and DeChambeau hasn’t played a single round at either championship over par. Right now, when it comes to the game of golf, it’s advantage Bryson.

Despite Sunday heartache, Matthew Wolff is not going anywhere

Matthew Wolff left the golf course Sunday night saying he planned on staying loose, watching some basketball and hanging with his caddy. He arrived Sunday, smiling with his hat backwards, looking by all accounts completely relaxed. And he was. Sunday’s result was certainly disappointing for the 21-year old, but by no means was it a product of the moment being too big for him to handle.

“I really didn't feel that nervous out there,” said Wolff following the round. “I don't think it was nerves that were holding me back. I just think it wasn't meant to be. Bryson played really well. There's a lot of people in here saying what he's doing is pretty exceptional. To watch it firsthand, I have to agree.”

After 72 holes at Winged Foot, Wolff has now competed in two career major championships. A T-4 finish at the PGA Championship in August and a runner-up at the U.S. Open. He’s played in a grand total of 29 tournaments as a professional. He’s a PGA Tour winner and despite the fact that he should actually be a senior in college right now, Wolff has shown that he belongs on the game’s biggest stage.

“I played really tough all week. I battled hard. Things just didn't go my way. But first U.S. Open, second place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for. I'm just excited to learn from this experience, and it's definitely not the last time that I'm going to be in this spot,” said Wolff.

Matthew Wolff plays his shot from the eighth fairway rough during the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club - West.

Matthew Wolff plays his shot from the eighth fairway rough during the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club - West.

Winged Foot stood the test of time

The names were lurking on the leaderboard Saturday night. Major champions and PGA Tour winners all within five or six strokes of the lead. It would take a round of 63 or 64 to storm back and steal the U.S. Open, but for guys like Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele those numbers are easily conceivable, unless of course you were playing at Winged Foot.

Aside from Thursday’s tease from the USGA that produced 21 scores under par, Winged Foot was simply too tough to garner low numbers. Especially the score required for a Sunday charge. With winds kicking up and greens slicking up, Sunday generated seven scores in the 80s. Some by seasoned veterans who hardly ever approach that number. Winged Foot was hard … really, really hard.

“It was really difficult.” said Rory McIlroy who finished with a 5-over par 75 on Sunday. “It was hard to give yourself enough chances and leave yourself in the right spots where you could make a run at birdie putts. Just a tough day.”

“I felt like we had three pretty difficult days,” said Jason Day who finished at 14-over par and joked that the toughest stretch of Winged Foot is the walk to the first tee, knowing you have to play 18 holes.

“It's really firm, and the greens are quick, and they've got some bounce to them. The wind was kind of switching around a little bit out there today, so it was really difficult to kind of judge what the ball is going to do in the air.”

There may have been a 144-player field, but in reality no more than 40 players actually had a chance at Winged Foot this week. In this modern game of golf, to have just one player finish under par is a testament to the 99-year old golf course. Winged Foot has stood the test of time.