Who can em­u­late U.S. Open cham­pion?

San Francisco Chronicle - - SPORTING GREEN - BRUCE JENK­INS

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.

Gre­gory Shamus / Getty Im­ages

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.