Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

Golf. Bloody hell.

One of the most thrilling US Opens in living memory is in the books and Bryson DeChambeau bounces away from Pinehurst No.2 as a two-time winner of his national championship. Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, exits swiftly with his most gut-wrenching near-miss yet.

What a week. What a finish. What a sport.

It’s difficult to know where to begin. But here goes.

Here’s my parting thoughts from the 124th US Open…

__

1. Bryson DeChambeau has nerves of steel. How he managed to conjured up that 50-yard bunker shot on his 72nd hole under that pressure with the tournament on the line almost beggars belief. A winning shot that will go down as one of the greatest in major history.

2. How does Rory McIlroy get over this? A two-shot lead with five holes to play. It was in his hands. Those putts on 16 and 18 will haunt him for a long time. A brutal, brutal game.

3. Did he really need to take driver on 18?

This was a devastating McIlroy collapse (Getty Images)

4. Pinehurst No.2 is an incredible, if not infuriating, US Open venue. There is simply no margin for error for 72 holes. Its as  demanding and entertaining as a major championship gets.

5. Once again, the USGA didn’t get everything right this week. Far from it, in fact. McIlroy hitting two cracking shots onto the green on the 590-yard par 5 fifth on Sunday and walking away with a six was just silly. And how costly that outrageous piece misfortune proved to be. Pinehurst No.2 was designed by Donald Ross to brutally punish bad shots. Too many were punished for hitting good ones.

6. It hardly needed saying but its a travesty that we only see DeChambeau against the PGA Tour’s finest four times a year. If he doesn’t make you watch LIV Golf, nobody will. He’s now just the fourth player in history to win the U.S Amateur and multiple US Open titles. Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are for company. The People’s Champion. The Youtuber. The Content King. The LIV rebel. Whatever you want to call him, this slightly awkward but endearing Californian won even more hearts and minds at Pinehurst. Crucially, he looks as comfortable in his own skin as he ever has. You wonder if this will open the floodgates for many more.

• OPINION: Sorry, Rory, but there’s only one word to describe US Open finish

• US Open 2024: Prize money payout in full

7. DeChambeau has a name for all his irons. When he asks his caddie for Gamma, he wants his 3-iron (Gamma is the third letter of the Greek alphabet, of course). He’s the only one, right?

8. He also salts his balls. The Titleist Pro V1x Left Dashes, to clarify. Apparently a bucket of water mixed with some Epsom salt is the secret all our golf games have been missing. “Essentially we float golf balls in a solution to make sure that the golf ball is not out of balance,” he explains. “So what I’m doing is finding pretty much the out-of-balanceness of it, how much out of balance it is. Heavy slide floats to the bottom, and then we mark the top with a dot to make sure it’s always rolling over itself.” No, me neither.

Bryson DeChambe
DeChambeau made one of the greatest up and downs in major history (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

9. We’ll miss the turtlebacks. The upturned saucers. The upside down cereal bowls. These treacherous green complexes with the sadistic run off areas are what made this US Open so unique. Watching players tackle the slopes was infinitely more enjoyable than the traditional knee-deep greenside rough we are used to in America’s national championship.

10. The pace of said domed greens were a big issue, however. John Bodenhamer, the Chief Championships Officer at the USGA, said at the start of the week that they would be running at the mid-13s on the stimpmeter. Wyndham Clark claimed they felt more like 15-16. For context, the greens ran at around 10.5 when the late Payne Stewart won here 25 years ago.

11. The hottest take of US Open week came from Mark Calcavechhia, when he called Pinehurst No.2 “the most overrated course in the world.” Pushed on why, the 1989 Open champ said: “Greens. No OB. No water and almost impossible to hit a tree. And pot luck if you miss fairways.” Which is, of course, all part of the fun. We love you, Calc, but we’ll kindly disagree with you on this one.

12. Luckily, we only have to wait five more years to do this all over again. Bring on the US Open at Pinehurst in 2029. Oh, and 2035, 2041 and 2047. The USGA does not mess about.

• WATCH: Rory McIlroy makes rapid US Open exit after ‘inexplicable’ near-miss

• Top coach uses US Open to aim dig at rollback decision

13. Brooks Koepka doesn’t think the media are creative enough with their questions. Fair enough – we can work on that. In the meantime, how thrilled are you that Bryson DeChambeau is now also a two-time US Open champion?

14. Ludvig Aberg will be back. Of course he will. It says it all about the Swede’s rise that his 36-hole lead at his first ever US Open came as a surprise to absolutely no one.

15. Tyrrell Hatton doesn’t think he’s even reached five figures for outburst-related fines on the golf course. One can assume such frivolous sanctions haven’t kept up with the professional game’s ludicrous prize money inflation.

16. Oh, and $4,300,000 is an absolutely absurd amount of money for winning a golf tournament.

17. I guess we’ll never know how Hatton’s injured LIV teammate Jon Rahm would have navigated this incredible test in the North Carolina sandhills. That’s what happens you when back him to win in the bunkered pre-tournament predictions.

18. Cameron Smith wore a golf shirt with a periodic table of alcohol on it at Pinehurst. No, genuinely. If you want to rock the absurd attire like the Aussie, it’ll set you back $90 (about 70 quid).

Scottie Scheffler

19. Scottie Scheffler is so used to weekend lie-ins. The new father must be getting used to early wake-ups, but they can’t have been much fun at Pinehurst. On Friday, he didn’t make a single birdie for the first time in a major round as a pro. The world No.1 mysteriously never looked like mastering the Donald Ross design. He’s now shot five over-par rounds in a row. Golf is hard, folks.

20. Scheffler also says that he’s leaning towards not playing the week before majors to maximise preparation time. That’s bad news for fans of the Scottish Open.

21. As per golf’s resident stats god Justin Ray, Neal Shipley is just the fourth player since 1990 to earn low amateur honours at both the Masters and the US Open in the same year. Only Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Viktor Hovland have had that distinction. His battle with playing partner Luke Clayton for the Low Am was a thrilling Sunday subplot.

22. Tiger Woods can’t keep going on like this. It’s not that he played particularly badly at Pinehurst. He just can’t compete on the most demanding stages when he plays a handful of competitive rounds a year. His battered body cannot cope with the reps it needs to have a say in the big ones. Woods sounded like a man defeated after his MC on Friday and made his first proper hint that the end is nigh. For UK fans, Royal Troon could well be Tiger’s final goodbye.

23. We’re already three quarters of the way through the men’s major season. How did that happen?

24. It’s a drum we’ll keep on banging here at bunkered HQ – but it’s just plain wrong that our game’s most defining tournaments are spaced between 101 days. I wasn’t exactly sure how to fix it either, until our man Alex Perry got his pen and paper and worked it all out for us. Read all about it here.

25. In other news, Francesco Molinari unlocked the best way to make the weekend at a golf tournament. Reach your final hole on Friday two off the cut mark and just ace it. He still only finished in a tie for 52nd, but who cares? Sensational stuff.

26. What has happened to Justin Thomas?

27. When Sir Nick Faldo speaks, you listen. What an asset he is to the Sky Sports team when he takes a break from farming in Montana for the ones that matter most. Pure authority in the comms box.

28. You know what, though? Having thought about it, I still think Rory McIlroy will recover. His game is in fantastic shape. As painful as this one was, the chances will come again.

29. So bring on Royal Troon in 31 days’ time. It has a hell of a lot to live up to.


author headshot

Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses