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U.S. Open 2023: The grooming mistake seen 'round the world and the Rory McIlroy conundrum

Generally speaking, most golfers, pro or amateur, try not to change anything when things are going well on the golf course. This goes for pre-shot routines, facial hair, underwear, etc. Sam Bennett, the reigning U.S. Amateur winner, is not like most golfers.

How else can you explain the fact that Bennett, sitting at five under and just five off the lead after 36 holes at the U.S. Open last Friday evening, though it was a good idea to shave his trademark mustache-goatee combo ahead of one of the biggest weekends of his career?

This was a jarring sight for U.S. Open viewers on Saturday, particularly for those who encouraged their Twitter followers to place a live wager on Bennett ahead of the third round. Not great, Bob

As my co-host Alex Myers pointed out on this week's episode of The Loop podcast, this is one we all wish we could have back. Bennett went on to shoot a third-round 79, and while you could probably just chalk it up as a tough round under immense U.S. Open pressure, we're blaming the fact that Bennett thought it was a good idea to bust out the razor after Round 2:

In addition to breaking down Bennett's grooming gaffe, myself, Myers and Stephen Hennessey do a full recap of a wild week at LACC. We took aim at Rory McIlroy apologists, heaped praised on Wyndham Clark's "secret weapon" (hint: it's not his putter) and discussed some of the chaos that took place on Golf Twitter throughout the week. Please, have a listen to the full episode below, and like and subscribe to The Loop wherever you get your podcasts.