3. Winged Foot did not discriminate when kicking butt. The last time the course held a U.S. Open in 2006 the winning score was 5 over. This time around DeChambeau was 6 under, but he was the only player under par. Big collapses happen here to the best of them.
Justin Thomas shot 5-under 65 in Round 1 before being 11 over the rest of the way. Patrick Reed was looking like everything but a winner through two and a half rounds before shooting a back-nine 43 on Saturday. Hideki Matsuyama shot 78 on Sunday. Rory McIlroy was hampered by a Friday 76, Rickie Fowler had a 79 on Sunday.
At least they all made it to the weekend. Phil Mickelson started his quest for a career Grand Slam with a 79 before missing he cut. Tiger Woods imploded on Friday to do the same.
4. Despite the carnage there were some confidence building efforts. Outside of DeChambeau and Wolff, there are a few who will take positive thoughts going forward. Xander Schauffele hates losing so he will take a while to see it but he’s once again put himself in the mix in a huge tournament. His fifth-place finish is his seventh top-10 finish from 14 major starts, five of them are top 5s. It seems not a matter of if but when for the X-man.
It was a decent week for Harris English as well who had to deal with a lost ball on the opening hole on Sunday, something that would not have likely happened had the event had fans. A year prior he was playing on conditional status on the PGA TOUR. Now he’s seemingly back to his best.
And we can’t let this section go without a shout out to Will Zalatoris who after a record 11 straight top-20s on the Korn Ferry Tour, including a win, finished in a tie for sixth at Winged Foot. It’s odds on he will be a permanent part of the PGA TOUR soon.
5. The distance debate will rage on. DeChambeau’s body transformation and chase for distance has of course reopened the now long running debate on distance, or reigning in said distance, so as not to lose the essence of the sport the way it was originally designed. DeChambeau had the highest driving-distance average, and the lowest driving-accuracy percentage, ever recorded by a U.S. Open champion (since hole-by-hole data became available starting in 1983).
The interesting thing here is though prior to DeChambeau’s efforts the debate was spent mainly on technology in clubs and balls. There is no argument however that DeChambeau transformed his body to get to this point. Combining power and accuracy would bring an advantage to anyone, even in a reined in world. Former TOUR winner now Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee announced the future is now here.
“The future just happened. This beefed-up, bulked-up Bryson just changed the game…there’s been some seismic championships that have happened in this game … I would argue that this one will eventually change the game either in the way it’s played – I think both actually – or perhaps in the equipment that it’s played with because the golf world’s abuzz with is this good or is this bad? It can’t decide. But what is, I think, amazing, is to see the transformation that he’s made, the risks that he took. He risked it all to have it all,” Chamblee said.
“There’s a definitive before and after with Bryson. We saw what he was and he is unrecognizable in body and in technique to the player that he was. If you’re not paying attention to this and you’re in professional golf, you’re going to get left behind…it is one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen in the game … If you’re not an early adopter to this, you’re missing out. This is as seismic as the metal wood was in the transformation from wood to metal.”
Justin Leonard, a 12-time TOUR winner and major champion, believes the effects will be both immediate and long term.
“This week was a showdown between the modern golfer and a classic course that has been modernized. This U.S. Open is proof that all of the metrics about getting it down there as far as you can … there was doubt, including from myself, that this would work in a major championship … this week proved, at least in my mind, that if there was any doubt it should be erased,” he said.
“I think it will affect how every player in the field looks at a golf course. They may not be willing to go through the transformation, take the risk that Bryson did, to completely change everything … but I think they are taking notice of club choices off of tees, of ‘I need to be a better player out of the rough’ … it will be fascinating to see the players that do change…if you’re not taking notice of this and you’re playing on the PGA TOUR, you’re really putting yourself behind the 8-ball.”
If there is a big shift and bulk becomes the new norm in golf it will be interesting to see the longevity of a players career. The days of the 30-year career may shift towards 15-20 years. Tiger Woods used to go at the ball hard and now is four back surgeries deep. Jason Day has also been a player to go at the ball and he has back issues in his 30s. One thing is for sure, there are interesting times ahead.
TOUR TOP 10
The new FedExCup season has a new leader after our second week with Bryson DeChambeau’s win earning 600 points and sending him straight to the top. Last week’s winner Stewart Cink was not in the U.S. Open field so he had no chance to keep top spot, but he can try to wrestle it back the next time he tees it up.
The regular season top 10 will receive bonuses for their efforts.
This Week/Last Week/Name/Points
Source: PGA tour