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Rory McIlroy, old friend and nightmare ending

Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy on Wednesday’s US Open.

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Welcome back to Ending Monday, there [sigh] practicing our 2-foot putts. Let’s get into the news!

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A man on the field.

Before this past week, Pinehurst’s last US Open was in 2014, there Martin Kaymer won by eight shots. It felt good to be back, he said at a press conference on Tuesday; he hasn’t been back in ten years since then. He asked for his exact hotel room at the Carolina Inn — it had since been renovated, he noted with satisfaction — and felt fond memories flood him.

But when he got to the course there was one thing that had changed.

“To be honest, I was a little frustrated this morning when I played the first four or five holes,” Kaymer said. “I said to my caddy, ‘Was it that hard 10 years ago?’

On Wednesday Kaymer left for the afternoon with an interesting training partner: Rory McIlroy. These two probably don’t see each other much these days. Kaymer lives in Germany and plays in LIV. McIlroy lives in Florida and plays on the PGA Tour.

They had a lot in common ten years ago. They were Europeans in their 20s who had gone to the top of the mountain. They were Ryder Cup teammates, each reached World No. 1, each won multiple majors and each knew the invincible feeling of winning big eight. Life – and golf – looks simple.

The past 10 years have seen their golf careers diverge. Kaymer went in pursuit of perfection and got lost in the process; his Pinehurst win was, unsurprisingly, his last professional win anywhere and his jump at LIV moved him outside the top 1000 in the world rankings. McIlroy has won many times in the years since then and is arguably a more complete player than he was as a 25-year-old major champion. But the one thing he lacks is the one thing they still have in common: they both won major tournaments in 2014 and have never won.

Answer from Kaymer: Was it that hard 10 years ago?

At the end of the week I thought about Kaymer and McIlroy again. The German, now 39, had played well in an even opening round and enjoyed the break before fading at the weekend. However, his T64 finish was actually his second top-10 result in the last five years. Maybe there was a little satisfaction in that.

On Wednesday I couldn’t help but wonder how Kaymer sees McIlroy now. If he is jealous. When he thought about what his swing and his game could have been his mind found a happy balance.

But on Sunday evening I couldn’t help but wonder the opposite, too. When McIlroy played championship golf 14 holes and miserable golf all the way, when his double bogey on 16 and his four bogey on 18 and watched. Bryson DeChambeau pulled down the ups and downs he hadn’t, when the weight of a decade’s drought came crashing down as he watched the monitor in the scorer’s room, I wondered if McIlroy might be jealous of Kaymer at T64, safely out. in the pain of such a painful close call.

It was a passing thought. A cowardly thought. Because of course McIlroy wants to be there. Getting those shots down to compete, tie, win – that’s the whole point. The only thing that hurts more than loss is not being there at all. The pain is too great. But there is honor mixed with humiliation.

McIlroy was in the parking lot before DeChambeau signed his scorecard, so we didn’t hear from him after the round. Whether he should have faced the music in the media is a debate we can have another time. But to guess his mindset we can borrow from his US Open winning press conference last year:

“When I finally win this next major, it’s going to be really fun,” he said. “I’ll go through 100 Sundays like this to find another big tournament.”

It’s 101 Sundays now. But getting yourself back on the course, for glory or grief — that’s the thing about golf that I love.


Who won the week?

Bryson DeChambeau. Good grief won the church. He won his second US Open title. He has won the hearts and minds and eyeballs of millions of golf fans. He’s had a complex arc as both a golfer and a public figure, but there’s no doubt that Sunday has been the highlight of both so far. He soaked it. I will have more to write about Bryson in the coming days but for now: good for him.

Lilia Vu won in his first start after a two-month layoff since back surgery in Grand Rapids, Mich. at the Meijer LPGA Classic. The win came thanks to a birdie on the third playoff hole. Vu called it his “most important” win because of the uncertainty he faced during his absence. He is number 2 in the world.

On the Korn Ferry Tour Taylor Dickson won the Wichita Open, his second win of the season; get ready to see him on the PGA Tour next year.


But the next best thing.

There were a few guys who didn’t win the US Open but on Sunday marked a big step in the right direction.

Tony Finau he played his final 14 holes in five under par and was one make (from him) and one miss (from DeChambeau) away from a playoff.

Patrick Cantlay finished T3 alongside Finau; He hung tough with a final round 70 playing close to McIlroy and the finish tied his best playoff result.

Matthieu Pavon he bounced back, too, playing his last six holes in two under par to post a 71 from the last par and finish fifth.

Again Xander Schauffele remind us that no one can be consistent in finishing high scores; His 68 on Sunday left him at T7, his 20th consecutive top-10 finish and his eighth career US Open top-15 – in eight appearances.

And in Michigan Lexi Thompson, playing his final full LPGA season, nearly won for the first time in five years, only to lose to Vu in a playoff. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard a congratulation like that except it’s like the Solheim Cup,” he said.


It is read over several weekends.

My partner Alan Bastable followed Rory in the moments after his ordeal. (Read here)

My partner Sean Zak wrote before the end of Sunday about how successful Bryson has been. (Read here)

My partner James Colgan wrote this seconds after Bryson’s win and what they meant. (Read here)

My partner Josh Behow wrote about getting more than one winner at Pinehurst. (Read here)

My partner Nick Piastowski wrote this about Bryson’s caddy and how he might have changed everything. (Read here)

And my colleagues Michael Bamberger he took us through the day as best he could. (Read here)

From somewhere on the internet, this is from Shane Ryan in Rory McIlroy’s new shade of sadness will charm and enrage you. (Read here)


This is usually one “dumb” picture, but this one is different.

This shot may have put Scheffler in his worst week as Rory McIlroy suggested he use the mallet and sent Scottie into the stratosphere.


From Rory McIlroy.

I am happy to protect Rory McIlroy‘s final miss at No. 18; that was just a four foot but it was a slippery four foot that would scare me.

Anyway, when I saw the replay from the sideline it brought back a memory of something McIlroy had said before the Masters:

“Sometimes I can let the putter go a little too high in the fairway, and I can catch more of the ball on the equator, than I like the surface level,” he said. “Like, when I hit a good putt, it almost feels like the ball is coming off the top of the face instead of the middle of the face. So, yeah, I’m a little bit focused on the strike, a little bit on that kind of transition.”

Watch the putt again and you will see the putter hitting the equator. It looks low on the face. Did that make a difference? Sigh. We (and him) can only wonder.


What happens now?

There have been reports of a deal between the PGA Tour and the Saudi PIF. There are two different things at play here. The first is reaching an agreement on PIF’s investment in PGA Tour Enterprises. The second is about the future of the game and the coming together of its fractured organization, which leads to one big question that won’t end: If the sides come together, what will happen to LIV?


Johnson Wagner.

All week on Live From, Paul McGinley he called DeChambeau “the box office.” I feel the same way about it Johnson Wagner, who got a bunker lesson from DeChambeau in the dark – with amazing results.


Monday Finish HQ.

There is a big one in town! I’m gone for a few days of the week but I’ll be out for a little competition at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which is touching down in the Sahalee as we speak.

I will report. We’ll see you back here next week – but only if you sign up below!


Dylan Dethier welcomes your comments at

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/ The young man originally from Williamstown, Mass. joined GOLF in 2017 after two years struggling on the small tour. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and is the author of 18 in Americadescribing the year he spent at age 18 living in his car and golfing in every state.

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