Austria     Belgium     Brazil     Canada     Denmark     Finland     France     Germany     Hungary     Iceland     Ireland     Italy     Luxembourg     The Netherlands     Norway     Poland     Spain     Sweden     Switzerland     UK     USA     

The Putt That Defined Victory: Bryson DeChambeau’s Triumph at the 2024 U.S. Open

The putt that Bryson DeChambeau had to win the 2024 U.S. Open was a mere 3 feet, 11 inches. Its importance was immediately apparent, but the significance of its length extended beyond the moment. On the 18th hole, DeChambeau had driven the ball into the native area on the left. With trees obstructing his path, all he could do was punch out into the fairway bunker, leaving him 55 yards short of the hole.

As he had done throughout the tournament, DeChambeau scrambled effectively. He stepped up and executed “the bunker shot of my life,” landing the ball 3 feet, 11 inches from the hole. This shot, reminiscent of Payne Stewart’s iconic putt in the 1999 U.S. Open, will be replayed for years to come. Rarely does a tournament offer multiple unforgettable moments, but this one did.

Just 30 minutes earlier, Rory McIlroy stood on the 16th green with a 1-stroke lead, facing a short par putt of 2 feet, 6 inches. McIlroy had made all 496 of his putts inside 3 feet this year. However, this time, the ball grazed the left side of the hole and missed. The miss altered the course of the tournament.

McIlroy’s frustration was evident as he extended his hand, seemingly asking the ball to stop. His firm stroke had cost him, and suddenly, with DeChambeau in the 16th fairway, the tournament was tied.

Despite his initial setback, McIlroy appeared to recover, getting up and down from the bunker on the 17th for par and hitting his chip shot on the 18th to a seemingly routine distance. Three feet, 9 inches. But this time, McIlroy’s putt was too soft. It slid right, kissed the lip, and rolled out. What had been a 2-stroke lead for McIlroy transformed into a 1-stroke deficit. DeChambeau, standing in the fairway behind him, heard the groans. He initially thought he would need a birdie to win, but now a par would suffice.

“A shot of adrenaline got in me,” DeChambeau said after McIlroy’s bogey. “I said, ‘OK, you can do this.'”

In the scoring area moments later, McIlroy watched with his hands on his hips and his hat nearly off his head. He had to accept that he no longer controlled his fate. DeChambeau, needing to make a par with a putt similar to McIlroy’s earlier miss, stepped up. Three feet, 11 inches. DeChambeau confidently sunk the putt.

In just one hour, a tournament had been decided by the narrowest of margins. Numerous shots, both good and bad, had led to these crucial putts. By the end of the day, it felt as if the heartbreak and triumph had been determined by just a few inches. The narratives surrounding McIlroy’s major drought and DeChambeau’s rise were solidified by a mix of skill, luck, and fate.

Reflecting on McIlroy’s missed putts, DeChambeau acknowledged, “I was a little lucky. Golf is a game of luck. There’s a lot of luck that has to happen and go your way out there.”

When these fine margins are highlighted, and players must credit chance for their success, sports transcend simple entertainment and become epic tales. This transformation occurred at the U.S. Open on Sunday.