By: Will Purbaugh
For the Yellow Jacket
Over the last 25 years, golf has had two heroes that so many have looked up to and modeled their games after in Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
On Sunday, golf fans realized that they had a new villain to root against, and like Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bryson DeChambeau told the golf world, “I am inevitable.”
DeChambeau, whose six shot victory on Sunday at the 120th U.S Open wasn’t without its fair share of challenges. The first: the host course, West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club.
The course, which in it’s five previous U.S. Opens only saw two men finish the 72-hole championship under par, lived up to its billing as one of the hardest courses that hosts major championship golf.
With thick rough, narrow fairways, deep bunkers and lighting fast greens, 144 of the best players in the world had their work cut out for them, as only DeChambeau finished under par for the week.
While it was business as usual for the play on the course itself at Winged Foot, everything else surrounding this playing of the U.S. Open was not.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic pushed this championship from its original Father’s Day weekend date that it has held since 1976. Therefore, the championship was played in September for the first time since the famed 1913 U.S. Open, which put American golf on the map.
This was the first time that an Open would be played in front of no fans on the property, although some watched from adjacent properties, bringing a little normalcy to an otherwise abnormal U.S. Open.
Once play started Thursday, four real contenders could have won this tournament at some point in the week including: DeChambeau, Matthew Wolff, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Reed.
Thomas paced the field Thursday with a U.S Open low in a round at Winged Foot shooting five under par at 65. He led Reed and Wolff by a single stroke.
Thomas could not find the magic after Thursday and finished with rounds of 73, 76, and 72 to complete the tournament tied for 8th.
Reed, who backed up his 66, with an even-par 70 on Friday when conditions toughen, led through 36 holes, and looked to be on his way to a second major championship.
Then, Reed faltered on the back nine Saturday, shooting 43 and playing himself out of contention. Wolff put up the best fight, shooting an impressive 65 on Saturday, but struggled mightily on the back nine Sunday falling out of contention.
Notably absent from contention this week was the aforementioned Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Both struggled mightily with the West Course and were sent packing after missing the cut on Friday by four and seven shots, respectively.
Much will be debated about DeChambeau’s dominating victory this week at Winged Foot, but what cannot be debated is how impressive his showing was this week.
Winning by six shots at any professional golf tournament is impressive, let alone doing it at a U.S Open, played at Winged Foot.
Finishing six under par for 72 holes at Winged Foot is a record and should go down as one of the best performances at a U.S. Open in the last 2 decades, maybe the most impressive since Tiger’s 15 shot romp of the field at Pebble Beach in 2000.
Bryson DeChambeau made it very clear to the golf world this week, to win a major championship, you will most likely have to go through him for a long time to come.