Who can emulate U.S. Open champion?
Reactions to the news, in two parts:
Bryson Dechambeau completely dominated the U.S. Open on Sunday, changing the game of golf along the way. That seems to be the consensus opinion, even among those who have studied the game for years.
The question is: Changing it for whom?
It’s one thing for an aspiring player to watch Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller or Tiger Woods as he captivates a nation and brings wide
spread attention to the sport. Practice hard enough, and maybe you’ll find just a touch of the magic.
To imitate Dechambeau, who grew up near Fresno and played junior events in Northern California throughout his youth, your first act is to gain 50 pounds of muscle over a 10month period. You looked like the postman before; now you’re J.J. Watt. There are those in the medical profession who think it’s impossible to craft Dechambeau’s sudden transformation without steroids or other such enhancements, but the man swears he’s clean, and people are taking him at his word, so borrow generously from his program. Wear a jaunty cap, and for effect, have a protein shake at the ready.
Enjoying your superhero bulk, you resist the urge to tee off shirtless. Instead, you assume a rigid, robotic stance and swing as if attempting to launch that ball onto the surface of Mars. You’d better crank it at least 325 yards, with an occasional 380, or your mission is over. Fairways? Those are irrelevant now. We just discovered you can miss 59% of them and still win the Open.
Now let’s say you’ve defied all logic and actually accomplished these things. Final act: You have to putt like Ben Crenshaw.
Generally, the first thing you hear about an absurdly long hitter is, “Wait until he’s on the greens.” With so much finesse required, the big lunk turns that potential eagle into a doublebogey. Except that Dechambeau putts with a genius touch, having charted out the speed, angles and rough spots for every occasion. This is when his welltrained mind really takes over. At the end of the day, he’s right around 66.
Seriously. Who in the hell is going to do all that?
Make no mistake, the greens wreck some of his rounds in future majors. Nobody skirts past that golfing truism. Although he won’t care about scattershot drives at the upcoming Masters (Nov. 1215), where there is no rough, he won’t always top the leaderboard if he’s missing every other fairway. And because his disposition wavers from cheery to dismissive, it eventually will bother him that he’s walking through a minefield of skepticism and resentment from fellow players.
Bryson Dechambeau is great for the game, simply because he’s so different, while driving everyone mad. He’s also a party of one, staging an aberrant revolution in private.
For those willing to get past the atrocity of the Chargers leaving San Diego, there’s an endearing quality to the team and its fabulous new L.A. home, Sofi Stadium. It’s looking like head coach Anthony Lynn isn’t ready for prime time.
Literally seconds before Sunday’s kickoff, Lynn told rookie quarterback Justin Herbert he’d be starting the game. Tyrod Taylor had some sort of chest issue, so Herbert would get his first taste of NFL action against the mighty Kansas City Chiefs.
He was brilliant, staging a legitimate duel with Patrick Mahomes. Herbert threw some beautiful passes (311 yards total) and rumbled for first downs with little fear of contact. Through a couple of rookie mistakes, he had the Chargers going into overtime against the champs. On the CBS telecast, Tony Romo raved about “as good a start as I’ve seen in some time.”
Lynn’s reaction: “If Tyrod is 100%, he’s our quarterback next week.” Lynn added that Herbert is “a backup for a reason.”
Nobody’s saying Herbert will be Ben Roethlisberger for the rest of the season; it doesn’t work that way. But he to start this week ahead of Taylor, a oncepromising QB who has descended into journeyman status. The Chargers made some serious noise Sunday. A rookie was responsible. He’s ready, for crying out loud. Why would you willingly shut down all that excitement?
Then again, Lynn is one of those devious, unfairplay coaches who tries to “freeze” an opposing kicker about a splitsecond before the snap. The whistle blows and timeout is called, but too late — the kick’s in the air. Lynn’s unbearable stunt forced Harrison Butker to kick a gamewinning 58yard field goal twice, and in a sweet bit of justice, he nailed them both.
Time for a new rule here, for we see this nonsense far too often. If an airborne kick is ruled dead and it goes through, it counts. If not, the timeout is charged. Plus a $200,000 fine for the coach in question. Play it honestly or get out of the business.
After adding 50 pounds to his frame in the past year, Bryson Dechambeau won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot by six shots. He carded a threeunderpar 67 in the final round.