Bryson DeChambeau, Slimmed-Down But Still Long, Is Contending at the U.S. Open

The 2020 U.S. Open champ has been in the picture at every 2024 major, with his body and equipment fully dialed.
Bryson DeChambeau is heading to the weekend with a prime chance at a second U.S. Open title.
Bryson DeChambeau is heading to the weekend with a prime chance at a second U.S. Open title. / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

PINEHURST, N.C. — Beefy Bryson is no more. The 10,000-calorie days of eating whatever he desired in mass quantities was long ago shelved in favor of a healthier lifestyle that includes some nutritional quirks and a good bit of common sense.

But the slimmed-down Bryson DeChambeau didn’t abandon the brawn that saw him go to one of the longest drivers in the game. Nope, DeChambeau packed on the pounds and muscle in search of more length, and that has remained.

And it is probably no secret that the combination of health and strength—not to mention clubs he likes and all manner of other quality-of-life issues—has him in contention at another major championship.

For the third time this year, DeChambeau is high on a leaderboard in a major championship, sitting in a tie for second with Thomas Detry and Patrick Cantlay at 4 under par. Ludvig Aberg leads in his first U.S. Open at 5 under and will play alongside DeChambeau in the final group Saturday.

Just one example of DeChambeau’s prowess off the tee—the 330-yard drive at the par-4 18th, which set up a 120-yard approach he knocked to a foot for an easy birdie to finish with scores of 67-69. He ranks in the top six of all of the tournament’s driving statistics.

In perhaps a way that only DeChambeau could describe things, he explained his resurgence over the past year.

“The equipment that I have. The combination,” DeChambeau said. “I've got LA Golf shafts. I've got a Krank driver in the driver head, and some amazing irons that work well for me and a putter that I've trusted since 2018. It's a lot of the equipment that's really helped give me get that confidence back.

“I can’t tell you how important it is to have stuff that works for you, for anyone out there listening,” he said. “It's possibly the most important thing to have done to yourself if you're trying to improve your game, especially at an elite level. I can play with a junior set on YouTube, but it is never going to be the same as having your own golf clubs where you can control the shots day in and day out.

“It’s really good equipment, and as I’ve said before in other press conferences, it’s me getting a little bit older and realizing there’s more to life than just golf, and when I’m out here, appreciating the time that I have out here, and hopefully continuing that fun that I can showcase to others.”

DeChambeau also overcame a potentially disastrous situation during the opening round when he left his yardage book in the courtesy vehicle that took players to the 10th, which is a lengthy hike from the clubhouse.

Not realizing it until he was already at the tee, DeChambeau said his caddie, Greg Bodine, also carries a yardage book. But he wanted his own, too, and tournament personnel tracked it down and eventually got it to him on the course.

There’s nothing quite like another distraction, but DeChambeau took it in stride as he attempts to win a second major championship.

DeChambeau, 30, won the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, which came with a five-year exemption into the other majors and 10 years in this tournament. He was the only player to finish under par and he won by six shots.

It seemed easy then, as DeChambeau was in the midst of his weight-gaining, stomach-stuffing mode.

But after winning the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2021, spending the summer answering the endless questions about a feud (with Brooks Koepka) that now seems quaint and contending a few more times the rest of that year—while missing the Olympics due to COVID-19—DeChambeau fell into difficulty early in 2022.

He suffered hip and wrist injuries and was never healthy throughout the rest of the season. His move to LIV Golf came with his name as part of a lawsuit (since dropped) against the PGA Tour. It was a complicated and stressful time, not bad easier by his languishing game.

But last year he began to emerge from his funk. He contended at the PGA Championship won by Koepka, won twice with LIV, including shooting a final-round 58 at the Greenbrier event and again in Chicago.

This year, DeChambeau has four top-10 finishes on LIV Golf without a victory, all coming prior to the Masters. Since then, he was 26th in Adelaide and 27th in Singapore as well as 18th last week in Houston.

Of course, he contended last month at the PGA Championship, playing in the second-to-last group with Viktor Hovland and making a final-hole birdie at Valhalla that forced Xander Schauffele to birdie the hole on top of him to win by a shot.

DeChambeau has now been inside the top 10 at a major in nine of his last 10 rounds and this is the first time he’s had consecutive under-par rounds at a U.S. Open since he contended at Torrey Pines in 2021.

“If I can get everything going together, kind of like I did yesterday, I felt pretty solid with the putter, putts just probably didn't go in the way they could have,” DeChambeau said. “But if I get both those components—driving, iron play, putting down, even chipping around the greens—yeah, you're going to play really good golf, obviously.

“My focus is on the next shot at hand. I'm not really focused on the total strokes gained for the most part, just trying to execute the best shot I can every single time under the conditions because it's going to be different. This golf course is not going to be the same come tomorrow and the next day, and I'm expecting that. Us competitors, players, have to adjust to those conditions accordingly.

“Look, I'm excited for the game that I have right now. I feel pretty confident and ready to get after it this weekend.”


Published |Modified
Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior writer covering golf for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience on the beat, including 15 at ESPN. Harig is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, "DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods" and "Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry." He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Harig, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Fla.