SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Bryson DeChambeau provided must-see TV in his first Ryder Cup match of the weekend, showcasing the power and go-for-broke style that mark him as one of the game's most dynamic players.
The one thing he couldn’t deliver is his first career Ryder Cup victory.
DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler settled for a tie in their best-ball match Friday with Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, after Hatton sank a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. DeChambeau wasn’t included in the U.S. lineup for the morning’s foursome matches.
Still, the half-point represented progress. DeChambeau went 0-3 when the U.S. lost the 2018 Ryder Cup outside Paris. His contribution helped the U.S. grab a 6-2 lead over Europe at Whistling Straits.
“I’m glad I got something for the team,” DeChambeau said. “Frustrating, but we fought hard.”
An eventful day began with his opening tee shot, when h e hit a spectator in the left rough, only to recover for a birdie. He followed that up four holes later with the most spectacular shot of the day, a stunning 417-yard drive on No. 5.
“I knew if it was a little downwind, I could take a unique line, and I luckily was able to have that wind today,” DeChambeau said. “It was 20-plus (mph), and I said to myself, ‘All right, I have to aim at the green, so I did.’ So I just aimed at the green and bombs away.”
DeChambeau’s tee shot sailed over a pond on the right side – something nobody had even attempted in three PGA Championships on this course – and left him just 72 yards from the hole on the long par-5.
DeChambeau made his eagle putt and saluted the fans chanting “Bryson!” and “USA!”
“I didn’t want to make par,” he said. “Because if I did, I would be walking home.”
DeChambeau said earlier this month that his hands were “wrecked” from training for the Ryder Cup and the Professional Long Drive Association championship event that starts Monday in Mesquite, Nevada. But he felt good enough to swing at full speed through the match.
“I had close to 200-mile-an-hour ball speed today warming up on the range, which is nice to see,” DeChambeau said. “My body is finally starting to get comfortable and heal from all the speed-training stuff."
Not everything worked out the way DeChambeau planned. He smashed another big drive trying to the hit the green at the 394-yard 13th and waved his driver at the ball in mid-flight, hoping he could will it to the green. He was pin-high, but landed in a bunker and settled for par.
DeChambeau still had more good moments than bad. When Rahm hit his drive at the par-3 12th to less than 2 feet from the hole, DeChambeau put his own right next to Rahm’s. The dueling birdies kept the match tied.
The U.S. took a 1-up lead on the 15th before Europe tied it on the final hole.
“It was a back-and-forth match, and quite an unusual one,” said Rahm, the world's top-ranked player. “When you have Bryson do things like what he did on 5, you know you’re going to have a couple holes where a half is going to be a very good score just because of the tee shots he can hit.”
DeChambeau’s performance was another encouraging sign on a day that couldn’t have gone much better for the U.S. team. Now he wants to make sure that momentum continues through the rest of the weekend.
“This is a great start, but the job’s not over,” DeChambeau said. “We have two more days. A lot more golf. And we cannot lose our mindset to win.”
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