Inside Bryson DeChambeau rise from controversial figure to golf's most popular winner at US Open

Bryson DeChambeau has become golf's most popular winner

Bryson DeChambeau has become golf's most popular winner

GETTY
Stuart Ballard

By Stuart Ballard


Published: 17/06/2024

- 08:00

Bryson DeChambeau has never been too far away from the spotlight ever since bursting onto the professional scene and has come full circle as a two-time US Open champion.

It wasn't too long ago that Bryson DeChambeau was seen as one of the most hard-to-root-for players in golf with his lone-wolf persona and high-level bravado rubbing people up the wrong way.

His slow level of play even angered his fellow professionals, alienating him as one of golf's most enigmatic figures.


There was always a level of intrigue from golf fans, but DeChambeau struggled to find that connection with spectators for a long time.

But this year has seen a shift in DeChambeau's level of popularity to new-found heights comparable to the sport's biggest stars.

The American has faced hecklers and boo-boys in previous years but that's turned to cheers in Pinehurst this week.

Bryson DeChambeau has become golf's most popular winner

Bryson DeChambeau has become golf's most popular winner

GETTY

That may be partly due to his switch to LIV Golf, which initially damaged his public image like everyone else who jumped ship to the Saudi-backed league.

The controversial league's continued lack of viewership means fewer eyes are on DeChambeau every week.

That has left golf fans wanting more and the majors are able to provide exactly that with DeChambeau delivering in style this year.

It's also made people focus more on DeChambeau's incredible golfing ability and less on the sometimes over-the-top eccentricities.

But even those idiosyncrasies have now seen DeChambeau become somewhat of a cult hero at major tournaments.

Sports stars are often accused of being too robotic and predictable in the public eye and DeChambeau is anything but that.

His YouTube channel and online presence has proven to be a huge hit with golf fans and he's been more than happy to conduct media duties above and beyond everyone else.

That connection he's made with fans via his online persona has carried over to the course as he's regularly spotted engaging with the crowd.

The 'Mad Scientist' joined NBC's coverage on Friday for a lengthy amount of time where he sat down with Smylie Kaufman on the 15th hole.

On Saturday, DeChambeau had everyone in stitches as he discussed his 'salty balls'.

He's stayed behind after each round to greet young spectators and happily pose for photos, all with an endearing smile on his face.

A lot has changed for Bryson DeChambeau since his first major win in 2020

A lot has changed for Bryson DeChambeau since his first major win in 2020

GETTY

No sports star can ever please everybody and DeChambeau will still ruffle some feathers throughout his career.

But every sports fan simply wants to be entertained and there isn't arguably anybody more so than DeChambeau in professional golf right now.

That entertainment factor clearly plays on DeChambeau's mind as he spoke about the fans at the US Open.

"They're awesome [the fans]," he said. "They've been super nice to me and it's fun feeding off that energy. I love it.

"I've learned a lot about myself in general and what makes me not just a better golfer, but person - how can I be more entertaining and give the fans what they deserve?"

It also appears to have lifted a huge weight off the 30-year-old's shoulders this year and it's helped him ten-fold at major tournaments.

No other player was able to shoot three consecutive rounds under par at Pinehurst this week and he took a deserving three-shot lead into Sunday.

Normally, Rory McIlroy would have arguably attracted the bigger crowds when involved in one of the final groups on a Sunday.

But DeChambeau is matching the Northern Irishman's popularity and some would even suggest surpassing it at this current moment in time.

Bryson DeChambeau is now a two-time US Open champion

Bryson DeChambeau is now a two-time US Open champion

REUTERS

And that was more than evident in what turned out to be one of the greatest US Open battles as DeChambeau and McIlroy battled it out in the final few holes.

It ultimately took a masterful up-and-down from DeChambeau to record his second US Open title with an eruption of cheers on the 18th as his putt dropped in the cup.

He was the people's champion all week long in Pinehurst and now he has another major trophy to go with that.

Once a man who fans felt incapable of liking, now is golf's most popular figure and that status is only set to rise even further.

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