DeCham­beau tames Wolff and bru­tal

Amer­i­can’s gam­ble to pile on pounds pays off with first ma­jor McIl­roy left stunned by tac­tics as ri­val wins by six shots

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - US Open By James Cor­ri­gan golf correspond­ent

The great Bryson DeCham­beau ex­per­i­ment was last night con­firmed as an over­whelm­ing and qual­i­fied suc­cess. The Amer­i­can piled on the pounds, gained all the yards and, as the US Open cham­pion, ac­cu­mu­lated $2.25mil­lion (£1.7mil­lion) and his life­long dream.

What­ever any­one says about the 27-year-old – and much of it is not com­pli­men­tary – no­body can deny that when he puts his stu­dious mind to some­thing, he spec­tac­u­larly achieves.

The Mad Sci­en­tist… The In­cred­i­ble Bulk… the 2020 US Open cham­pion. Of all his monikers, only one mat­ters now to DeCham­beau.

He be­gan the fi­nal round at bru­tal Winged Foot two off his 21-year-old coun­try­man Matthew Wolff and on a day when the New York lay­out flashed its most se­vere fangs so DeCham­beau clin­i­cally de­liv­ered, pre­vail­ing by six on six un­der, as the only player un­der par.

Wolff fin­ished on level par fol­low­ing a 75, while South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen was third on two over af­ter a 73.

This was Amer­ica’s 11th suc­cess in the past 13 ma­jors and is the first time they have won 10 ma­jors in suc­ces­sion on US soil in more than 40 years. The records were joy­ously be­ing worked out all night in New York.

DeCham­beau al­ways has threat­ened to be a one-man rev­o­lu­tion, fa­mously hav­ing his clubs cut to the same size, hav­ing a one-plane swing and us­ing pro­trac­tors to as­cer­tain ex­act yardages. Yet his mis­sion to put on 40lb of bulk over lock­down to es­tab­lish him­self as the big­gest hit­ter in the game has been the un­likely ven­ture to pay off most sig­nif­i­cantly.

No­body over­pow­ers Winged Foot. Un­til DeCham­beau got out his beloved yardage book and flexed his mus­cles, that is.

Con­sider that his three-un­der 67 was the only one un­der-par in the fi­nal round and then dis­cover that this was the first time a US Open cham­pion had en­joyed this dis­tinc­tion in 65 years. And then re­lease the qual­ity of this per­for­mance to win his first ma­jor.

No, DeCham­beau is not widely ad­mired be­cause of his speed of play – tor­toise-like – and his some­time at­ti­tude – diva-like. But this can still be re­garded as one of the most re­mark­able fi­nal rounds at one of the game’s most chal­leng­ing tests. And with the game’s gov­ern­ing bod­ies cur­rently de­cid­ing whether to rein back the ball, this could one day also be thought of as one of the most im­por­tant.

DeCham­beau has ev­ery­thing planned out so metic­u­lously that he even made sure to check that the US Open tro­phy’s lid would not fall off be­fore he lifted it.

“I’d be re­miss if I didn’t men­tion my spon­sors,” was his first line in the prize-giv­ing, en­dear­ing him­self to (al­most) no­body. “It’s just an hon­our and I don’t know what else to say,” he added af­ter reel­ing off all his spon­sor’s names. “It’s been a lot of hard work.”

With Wolff slip­ping to three bo­geys in his first eight holes, DeCham­beau was one ahead on the ninth tee. This was a big mo­ment. Wolff drove it 390 yards and DeCham­beau 380 yards. They both had wedges to the green and when Wolff hit his ap­proach to 10 feet it seemed game on. But DeCham­beau holed his 35-footer for an ea­gle, be­fore Wolff fol­lowed him in.

From there, DeCham­beau went to an­other gear, birdieing the 11th and

So­cially dis­tant: Bryson DeCham­beau is con­grat­u­lated by his par­ents via video link

Tri­umphant: Bryson DeCham­beau cel­e­brates with the US Open tro­phy dou­ble-bo­gey six The world No4’s chal­lenge was over there and then and it all seemed de­press­ingly fa­mil­iar. So much for the “Nappy Fac­tor”, af­ford­ing McIl­roy the renowned up­turn in his form that a sur­pris­ingly high per­cent­age of new fa­thers en­joy in pro­fes­sional golf.

There is seven weeks to the Masters, where McIl­roy will again have the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete the ca­reer grand slam. DeCham­beau might just have made that task more dif­fi­cult still.

Oosthuizen con­curred. “He’s set­ting his own lit­tle way of play­ing,” he said. “He’s hit­ting it so far, he’s so strong out of the rough and he’s one of the best put­ters. That all adds up to a lot of trou­ble for the rest of us.”

‘Whether it’s good for the game, I don’t know, but it’s not the way I saw the course be­ing played’

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