Bryson DeChambeau bombs again with a calamitous third-round 76 at the US Open as the American wrestles with his conscience after defecting to the Saudi-backed LIV Tour
- Bryson DeChambeau was the biggest star in golf after his 2020 US Open win
- But the American was largely ignored by the crowds at Brookline on Saturday
- He is suspended from the PGA Tour after joining the Saudi-backed rebels
- The 28-year-old is likely to fall outside the world’s top 30 on Monday
Imagine predicting 20 short months ago that Bryson DeChambeau would be just another golfer by the middle of 2022, committed to playing in 54-hole tournaments with a bunch of has-beens and largely ignored by the crowds at the US Open.
When he walked away from the field to win the 120th edition by six strokes, he was comfortably the most talked-about player on the planet. It wasn’t just a major win, it appeared the start of the era of Bryson. Now it’s over almost before it began, his vanishing act continuing with a calamitous third round 76.
DeChambeau is suspended from the PGA Tour for becoming a Saudi stooge and the brutal truth is that no one really cares. America is awash with brilliant twentysomethings consumed with ambition and desire. The defection of DeChambeau currently feels like no loss.
Bryson DeChambeau (above) is suspended from the PGA Tour for becoming a Saudi stooge
At the Country Club yesterday he acknowledged the few who watched him with a touch of his cap each time they applauded but there wasn’t much to cheer. Like his career, a nice chip-in for a birdie at the first proved a false dawn as the bogeys and a double at the par-five eighth mounted.
DeChambeau looks like a man who needs to play regular golf following a series of injuries that ruined the early months of his season. It appeared he was committed to doing just that when he said a few weeks ago that he had no interest in joining the LIV Tour. He then joined the LIV Tour.
He will make his debut next week with the rebels in spasmodic, meaningless exhibitions. ‘A business decision,’ he called it, meaning his reported $150 million sign-on price was met. He’ll never have to worry about money again, but wouldn’t that have been the case in any instance if he’d not let all the hype go to his head?
There’s talk his business decision was prompted partly by fears that the injuries he picked up owing to his constant thrashing at the ball will bother him long term, and that a full regular schedule might be beyond him.
The American was largely ignored by the crowds at the US Open in Brookline on Saturday
Whatever the truth, it’s hard not to feel some sadness for the game that such a fascinating story is moving towards oblivion.
When he re-emerged following the pandemic, three stones heavier and muscling the ball 50 yards past where he’d been hitting it before, DeChambeau had everyone in thrall. Even Rory McIlroy was sucked in, admitting that he was trying to swing harder to emulate Bryson. Now Rory is among those waving DeChambeau off, without much regret.
The story of DeChambeau’s golf over the past 18 months is he’s never been far from a calamitous error. In difficult, gusting conditions, it was difficult for anyone to avoid such mistakes, much less someone with Bryson’s full-tilt aggression.
Three pars to start the back nine duly gave way to a second double bogey of the round at the par-four 13th. ‘That’s in the water,’ he predicted correctly, as his approach from the thick rough never came close to clearing the penalty area. Of the 64 players who had made the halfway cut, there were now 61 ahead of him. Of those behind him, one was an amateur and the other was Harris English, who has barely played for six months.
The 28-year-old American is likely to fall outside the world’s top 30 on Monday
In the six other majors that DeChambeau has played since his brilliant success in this event, he has failed to muster a single top-25 finish. Following this latest error-strewn display, it’s hard to imagine him improving on that pitiful run this morning.
On Monday, the man who dominated the golf landscape post-pandemic is likely to fall outside the world’s top 30. It is amazing how many of the players who have taken the Saudi jackpot have seen their careers bomb over the course of this season, as they wrestle with their conscience. DeChambeau’s career is bombing with the best of them.
He was done for the day as the leaders wrestled with the difficult opening holes. There they were, players like Rory and Rahm that he used to rub shoulders with: Scheffler, Burns and Morikawa who have taken his place.