U.S. Open: DeChambeau's swing fix 'came to him' in a dream as McIlroy endures 'rollercoaster'

By Sports Desk June 19, 2021

Bryson DeChambeau said his swing fix "came to him" in a dream after the U.S. Open champion kept his title defence alive.

DeChambeau opened his bid for back-to-back U.S. Open trophies with a 73 but the big-hitting American responded by posting a two-under-par 69 on Friday.

An eagle, four birdies and four bogeys saw DeChambeau surge 47 positions on day two, moving within five shots of co-leaders Richard Bland and Russell Henley at Torrey Pines.

Reflecting on his bounce-back display heading into the weekend, DeChambeau credited a late-night tweak.

"I was sleeping and it came to me in the middle of the night," DeChambeau told reporters.

"Woke up and I was like, hmm, I'm going to try this, and my intuition is pretty good, so I went out and tried it and it worked, just keeping the right wrist bent for a lot longer through impact."

"It's more just my intuition telling me there's something weird here, what's going on, and I couldn't figure it out for an hour and a half last night, an hour last night," said DeChambeau said. "Going back and just sitting down, eating dinner and just thinking about it, thinking about it, I literally won't talk to anybody for like an hour, just thinking, thinking, thinking, and sure enough, I went to bed and I found a little something that worked for my driver."

DeChambeau added: "I feel like if I can clean up my iron play and get a little more comfortable with the irons and the drivers, I'll have a good chance for this weekend."

He is tied for 13th alongside the likes of rival Brooks Koepka (73), Justin Thomas (69) and Collin Morikawa (67).

Amid their ongoing feud, DeChambeau and two-time U.S. Open champion Koepka narrowly avoided being paired together for Saturday's penultimate round.

Koepka – eyeing a fifth major crown – lost ground on the leaders after mixing five bogeys and just three birdies but he told reporters: "I feel right there. I feel like I'm in it. Just need to put two solid good rounds and put the ball in the fairway, and that's it. I love the way I'm putting. I love the way I'm striking it. Just need to keep doing it."

Four-time major winner and former world number one Rory McIlroy is a stroke further back following his second-round 73.

"A bit of a rollercoaster, got off to a good start," McIlroy said. "Made a couple of birdies early on and was under par for the round. Then I made a couple of mental errors and missed it in the wrong spots, and when you do that around this golf course, it's just really hard to see a par.

"I made a few bogeys, but birdieing two of the last four holes definitely makes me feel better about the round and gives me a nice bit of momentum going into tomorrow…So, yeah, in for the weekend and still feel like I've got a really good chance."

US PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson also feels he can "make a run at it" after avoiding the cut on Friday.

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  • 'We've all been there as champions' - Woods empathises with McIlroy after U.S. Open heartbreak 'We've all been there as champions' - Woods empathises with McIlroy after U.S. Open heartbreak

    Tiger Woods revealed he sent a message of support to Rory McIlroy following the Northern Irishman's heartbreak at the U.S. Open.

    McIlroy suffered a remarkable collapse at Pinehurst, where he scored bogeys on three of his final four holes to hand victory to Bryson DeChambeau.

    It meant the 35-year-old's wait for a major title goes on, having last triumphed at the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal and NBA legend Michael Jordan both reached out to McIlroy, who finished tied-fourth on his return to action at last week's Scottish Open, in the aftermath of that disappointment.

    And addressing reporters at a press conference ahead of this week's Open Championship at Royal Troon, Wood revealed he followed suit.

    "I just sent him a nice text. That was it," the 15-time major winner said. "I waited a week before I sent it. I wanted to let it calm down, as I know he was being besieged by a lot of different things going on.

    "It basically went, as you know, I'm your friend. I know this is a difficult moment. We've all been there as champions. We all lose. 

    "Unfortunately it happened, and the raw emotion of it, it's going to be there for, I'm sure, some time. The faster he's able to get back on a horse and get back into contention, like he did last week, the better it is for him.

    "There's a lot of times I felt discomfort, absolutely. Nervous, shaky, uncomfortable, all of it. I've missed plenty of putts. I've missed plenty of shots. 

    "Just like [Michael] Jordan, when they said how many shots have you taken? You see all the game-winning shots, but he's also missed a ton of game-winning shots, too. 

    "The thing is you still take the game-winning shot, and I still want the last putt."

    Woods also spoke of his decision to decline the Team USA captaincy for next year's Ryder Cup, with the role ultimately going to Keegan Bradley.

    "The decision was very difficult for me to make," he added. "My time has been so loaded with the tour and what we're trying to accomplish - I'm on so many different sub-committees. It takes so much time.

    "I just didn't feel like I could do the job properly. I couldn't devote the time. I barely have enough time to do what I'm doing now.

    "TGL starts next year, as well as the Ryder [Cup]. You add all that together, along with our negotiations with the PIF - all concurrently going along at the same time - there's only so many hours in the day.

    "I don't think I would be doing the captaincy, or the players and Team USA justice if I was captain. Keegan is going to be a great leader. He is very passionate about what he does and the event."

  • The Open: DeChambeau targeting Royal Troon success to cap best major season The Open: DeChambeau targeting Royal Troon success to cap best major season

    Bryson DeChambeau says winning the 2024 U.S. Open proves he can win more majors as he prepares for The Open Championship.

    The American profited from Rory McIlroy's late collapse at Pinehurst, snatching the victory by a single stroke.

    It was his second major win, having also won the U.S. Open in 2020, while he also finished as a runner-up at the PGA Championship and in the top 10 at The Masters this year.

    However, DeChambeau has only finished inside the top 30 once in six tries at The Open - in 2022 - though he is aiming to change that at Royal Troon this week, drawing confidence from his recent success.

    "2020 [U.S. Open] was a bit of me showing that I could do it," DeChambeau said. "It's always difficult to get that first major win.

    "The second one [2024] was more about cementing my own comfort levels of knowing I can do it again and again. That's really cool.

    "I can give myself more runs at majors... I've obviously played well at a lot of them this year."

    DeChambeau finished tied in 60th place at The Open last year, his worst finish at the major.

    He boasts the strongest form going into the tournament and is confident he can maintain that to put him in the running for the trophy.

    "If I play well this week, I think I can give myself a good chance obviously," he added.

    "I'm very confident, but it all depends on if I'm striking it well. I can come in here with the most confidence, off of a major championship win, but really what matters if I can continue to drive the ball as well as I have and continue to strike my irons the way I know I can and putt like I can. If I do those things well, I'll give myself a good chance.

    "I know how to get the job done, it's just a matter of whether I'm as consistent as what I was at the U.S. Open."

  • The Open: Harman confident of title defence and expects less fan heckling at Royal Troon The Open: Harman confident of title defence and expects less fan heckling at Royal Troon

    Brian Harman is certain of his capabilities to defend The Open Championship trophy at Royal Troon, where the American expects crowd heckling to calm down after last year's incidents.

    Harman clinched a maiden major title last year at Royal Liverpool after coasting to a six-shot victory for his first PGA Tour triumph in six years.

    The world number 13 hopes to reunite with the famed Claret Jug in Scotland, though expects the course – and the spectators – to pose a different challenge to last year's success.

    Harman described the abuse as "unrepeatable", with many mocking his pre-shot routines and heckling in an all-round attempt to put off the soon-to-be champion.

    "It doesn't bother me," Harman told Monday's pre-tournament press conference when asked about the incidents at the 151st Open.

    "I'm ready to take whatever in my stride. I'm here to play the best golf that I possibly can. That's my main focus.

    "I've always loved the fans over here. I've spoken a bunch of times about how I find them the most knowledgeable fans of any that we play in front of.

    "I kind of chalk last year up as more of an anomaly than anything else."

    The 37-year-old finished tied for 21st in the Scottish Open, a warm-up event for the major at Royal Troon, but has three top-10 finishes in the PGA Tour in 2024.

    Having shared fifth place at The Sentry, second at the Players Championship and ninth in the Travelers Championship, Harman is in decent form.

    He is now looking to become the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008 to win back-to-back Open titles.

    "Anytime that you become a major champion it certainly elevates your status in the game, elevates the way that you're perceived in the game," Harman added.

    "I try to take all of that in my stride, but at the same time understand that the golf is the most important thing, and I've tried to improve my golf game and get it in a place where I can maybe contend in some more majors down the road.

    "My stats this year have been really good. My ball striking has been as good as it's ever been. The only thing I haven't done well this year is I haven't putted especially well. So I'm just kind of waiting for it all to line up correctly.

    "You can work and work and work. You just never know when that work is going to pay off. You never know when the peak is coming, when you're going to catch a little bit of momentum.

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