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Bryson DeChambeau Calls Out Luck as Margin Between Winning, Losing

Bryson DeChambeau, defending his Rocket Mortgage Classic title in Detroit, reflects on unlucky U.S. Open downfall and how little control he has over outcomes. Patrick Reed begs to differ.

There was a day-long power outage at the Detroit Golf Club on Wednesday, the aftermath of severe weather in the area over the last week. But that didn’t hinder the big-hitting, fast-talking Bryson DeChambeau from discussing his recent play in the U.S. Open and the return to where his power game took prominence last summer.

Detroit Golf Club was where DeChambeau’s power efforts took hold in shooting 23-under par and outlasting Matthew Wolff by three strokes in the Rocket Mortgage Classic last July 4th weekend. Two months later, DeChambeau used similar tactics to win the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

Bryson DeChambeau (center) celebrates his victory at the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

Bryson DeChambeau (center) celebrates his victory at the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

That strategy fell short two weeks ago when DeChambeau was among a knot of players near the lead at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. A double bogey on 13 and a quadruple bogey on 17 resulted in a final-nine 44 and a fall to tie for 26th behind winner Jon Rahm.

“It was just luck,” DeChambeau said on Wednesday in Detroit, emphasizing a point he first made after the final round in San Diego. He also noted that good fortune fell his way in winning at Winged Foot.

Of course, DeChambeau expanded on the topic this week.

“(The Rocket Mortgage victory) gave me the confidence to win the U.S. Open knowing that I can play a game that's not normal or is a little unique and different,” DeChambeau said. “You look at the U.S. Open, it was a prime example. Everybody thought I was crazy by saying I'm just going to bomb and gouge it, but it worked out that week. Didn't work out at Torrey, but that's OK. Life goes on.

“(At Torrey Pines) I slipped on 13 (tee). Everybody was apparently slipping on 13 and I didn't know that. I slipped two days in a row, then got in a bad lie, which you're expecting, it's the U.S. Open, but it's a part of life. I could have hit it 5 more feet to the right across the cart path and gone for the green. So, it's just one of those things that a little bit of luck there.

“And then a streaker, that was fun. Then just laid up into a bad lie in the right rough, had a bad line.

“And then I just feel like my driver's kind of a bit of luck. Sometimes I pull it, sometimes I push it and on 17 I pulled it into a bad lie or in the hazard and then hit a great wedge shot and it spun off the front edge into a bad lie and just hit it off the hosel and went over the green. That's what it is. It's just things compounding on each other that you just can't necessarily control fully. You hit a great shot, nothing happened for you. That's luck.”

DeChambeau even touched on the fact that luck is a constant in golf.

“People don't realize how much luck plays a big factor,” he said. “You can control a lot, but at the end of the day, still luck is a huge component of it.”

Patrick Reed, who followed DeChambeau on the interview schedule on Wednesday, was a bit more resistant to luck’s role in winning when asked a generic question.

“The guy who wins the golf tournament usually gets a good break here or there that could make a difference, but a lot of the times I don't feel like those are the reasons why they win the golf tournaments,” Reed said. “It's more that might be what keeps them having certain momentum, whether they're on a birdie run and they hit one that gets a good bounce to kind of keep it in play, get it up and down for par, bounces, gets on the green. But I wouldn't say luck is what's involved in winning golf tournaments.

“The guy who wins golf tournaments is usually the guy who's playing best that week and is out there doing everything a little better than everyone else.”

DeChambeau hopes the return to Detroit as the defending champion offers a similar lucky charm for a month-long world tour. Next Tuesday, he is paired with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers against Phil Mickelson and Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Tom Brady in ‘The Match,’ televised live by TNT from Montana. Then it’s off to the southeastern coast of England for the July 15-18 British Open at Royal St. George’s before flying to Japan to represent the United States in the Tokyo Olympic Games July 29-Aug. 1.