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US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau recounts his experience at Pinehurst and explains how he fought through hand surgery in 2022 to become one of the sport’s best players and a fan favorite.

After the disappointment of finishing second in the PGA, how does it feel to go to the next level and capture your second US Open title?
Oh man, I didn’t want to finish second again. The PGA loss really stung. Xander [Schauffele] I played great, but I wanted to do this, especially at a place as special as Pinehurst, that means a lot to me, and my dad, and what Payne Stewart meant to him, and it’s the 1,000th USGA tournament.
The bunker shot on 18 was the photo of my life. I will always be thankful that I had long wedges so I could hit it and was able to get it up there near the hole. I’m not sure if I would have been able to do it with the standard setup.
I was a little lucky. Rory [McIlroy] He missed a few short putts that would have gone in, and I had an amazing up and down last putt. I don’t know what else to say. A dream come true.

Can you describe your feelings over the last four holes?
All I could focus on was me. I always heard chants of “Rory, Rory”, about what he was doing, so I knew what he was doing based on the roar. That was actually nice because it gave me an idea of ​​what to do. Every time I pass the ball, Just focus. You’ve done this before. You can do it again. In my mind, my father was pushing me. Payne was in the back of my mind, too. I wanted to do it for them.

He’s engaged with fans over the last four days more than anyone else we’ve seen in a major tournament before. Do you think we need more players like you in professional golf?
I hope so. I mean, my goal is to continue to grow the game internationally and domestically. YouTube has really helped me achieve some of that, but you also have to connect and interact with fans personally, and I can play with that. Those fans who were there helped me a lot and pushed me there. Even when things didn’t go well, they inspired me to keep doing the work and I thank them.

Given that it came down to a two-horse race at the end, how much did you know about what Rory was doing before you?
Yes, I had to know what to do, especially when I hit that bell on the 17th. I was trying to drill through that hole. I was going to try again for birdie 18, obviously, if I hit a good drive, but I pulled it. But I knew where Rory was.
After my shot, I was up there, Man, if he makes the average, I don’t know how I’m going to beat him. I really didn’t know. Then I heard a moan. Like a shot of adrenaline went through me. I said, ‘Okay, you can do this’.
I was listening the whole time. Even on 13, when they sang “Rory” after making birdie, I knew I had to hit the green. I knew I had to make birdie on that hole.
My drive was not pleasant today. I have to go fix that, but I played good golf and even sang. There was a lot of, “Go USA,” “Go Europe.” It was a really good fight between us today.

I know you haven’t seen her cycle, but can you relate to what Rory is feeling right now?
Yes, Rory is one of the best to ever play the game. To be able to fight with such a great man is something very special. For him to miss that putt, I would never wish it on anybody. It just happened like that.
You will win some big tournaments. There is no doubt. I think the fire in him will continue to grow. I have nothing but respect for the way he plays the game of golf because, to be honest, when he was going up the leaderboard, he was going two, I was like, Uh-oh, uh-oh. But luckily things went well for me today.

Pinehurst proved something of an intractable puzzle for many in the field this week. How did you find it?
When I was a kid, I used to hit golf balls with the worst lies off the fairway and I learned to get out of the worst situations to see what I could do. That sparked a lot of my creativity. But then I would go back and work on the mechanics really hard.
I had this unique childhood experience of golf working on weird, weird things, and then I worked really hard on mechanics, trying to be as mechanical as possible. I feel that it helped me a lot in dealing with certain situations where I had no control over what was going to happen. You just have to find it and do it. That creativity becomes a spark.
When the green isn’t very flat, it’s not glassy, ​​there are little bumps and so on, thinking about it, seeing how the ball is going to bend on the edge, getting into it in your mind is what I focus on. So there is a little intelligence in me, even if I try to be mechanical.

It doesn’t sound like much of a hyperbole to say that this has been one of the greatest US Opens. Do you feel that way about yourself?
Wow. That’s not for me to say, but I’m grateful to be a part of it. I am thankful that I have achieved something that I have always wanted to achieve since I was a child. Gratitude and gratitude.

Are there things that you did, whether it was from the technical side or the strategic side, to prepare for Pinehurst?
Thankfully, nothing! I’ve had the same thing that I’ve been using for years, though I’ve put in an old Crank 3 wood that works well for me. It helped me hit the green on 13 and a few other places. I haven’t changed much, to be honest. I have a high ball, and I take advantage of it when I can.

Can you explain what happened with your driver on the practice range, and what affected the integration of the new head into your driving today?
I probably shouldn’t have switched heads. I was trying to find a new head there. It had a nice curve to the face, but it was a little low. For whatever reason, those high ground heads have been missing the right one. As a result, I missed the whole day. It was frustrating, but the face I had been using for the past three days was starting to feel smooth. It was a nine and a half inch curve. I won’t go through that. In fact, the face was starting to become a little flat. I wanted to start over. I was driving it well on the range. On the golf course the nerves got to me a little. I wasn’t comfortable with it. You probably had to work it a lot, more than just hitting five balls with it.

Earlier this week you mentioned that since your father passed away in 2022, you feel like you’ve grown a lot as a person. How do you feel like you have changed?
I can say first of all that I respect and understand people’s opinions. I mean, I got hit hard in 2022 for a lot of reasons. I had great friends and wonderful people around me and they told me to keep pushing, so I dug myself out of a deep hole. My golf swing wasn’t good, my swing was bad, and my putting wasn’t good. I’ve had my Crushers teammates – Paul Casey, Anirban Lahiri and Charles Howell – continue to push me in the right direction. That was actually a huge help in helping me get the right attitude from such a low point in my life.
People kept saying, ‘Dude, you’re good. Do not worry about it. You have a lot of good life to live. There’s more to life than golf.’
So I have come to realize that there is more to life than just golf. Treating others, yourself first and foremost, respecting yourself, is very important to be able to treat others with respect, too.
I know I’m not perfect. I am human. Everyone is human. Of course, those down times helped shape a new sense of who I am, what is expected, what I can do and what I want to do with my life.

How can you respond to people who say that your responses to demonstrations and celebrations out there are actions?
In my opinion, I am just loving. I really care to do well here and show the fans a side of me that has been locked away for a long time.
I mean, Tiger was my idol and he is my idol, the way he reacts on the golf course. Payne, the way he does. Many others who have inspired the current generations have allowed that to be different and cool.

If you look at the division in the game, do you think this win will be a turning point for you, your popularity, maybe the way golf will go forward now?
To be honest, I hope we can fix things soon. I hope this can bridge the gap between different games. All I want to do is entertain and do my best in the game of golf and give the fans an amazing experience. At least I can say, that’s what the fans want, and they deserve it.
You can say what happened in the past, you know, you were part of the reason. Let bygones be bygones and you’ll figure it out. Let’s find this amazing game that creates a lot of positivity back when it belongs to you.

After winning the US Open in 2020, your game slowed down, you struggled then early in LIV. What was the low point and what was the turning point?
The low point was after the 2022 Masters. I broke my hand and had to have surgery on it. I thought there was a chance I could compete in golf again, but I didn’t know how it would affect my speed, my grip and things like that. So going into surgery was the lowest point, and then I waited eight weeks, not knowing if I was going to be able to hold the club with the same effort and feel like all that, and then I struggled with my game. That whole five-month period was tough. There have been some down times and it has made me rethink many things in my life.
Where it turned the corner was a week before the Greenbrier last year. I put the driver in the game and the shaft combination with the LA Golf – Crank head, iron shafts that I have used for a long time. All that combined setup just turned on a switch for me. I went and shot 61 and 58 over the weekend. I’m like, OK, Bryson’s back again. How can I make this into championship golf now? So at that point the frame is where things change. Since then I have been very focused on how to get another big title.

Many players have won one major and never been seen again, so what does it mean to you to be a major champion?
What does it mean? I still can’t let it sink in. Ask me in a few weeks, and I’ll let you know, but right now it feels pretty good.

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