U.S. Open

U.S. Open 2024: Bryson DeChambeau cannot stop quoting this Ryder Cup folk hero (it's working)


David Cannon

Discipline is a word we heard constantly from competitors ahead of this week's U.S. Open, specifically when it came to talking about approach shots into the upside-down cereal bowl greens at Pinehurst No. 2. There are flags you simply cannot go at this week, no matter how enticing or how desperately in need of a birdie you are. The center of the green is always Position A.

So far, Bryson DeChambeau has understood this assignment, helping him to a 67-69 start that has him at four under for the championship, a score that is getting more attractive by the minute as the course continues to firm up in the sweltering North Carolina heat on Friday afternoon. Through two rounds DeChambeau has hit 25 of 36 greens in regulation (currently T-13th in the field) and gained over a stroke and a half on approach (currently 11th in the field).

His iron play wasn't nearly as sharp on Friday, but thanks to a scorching-hot putter, DeChambeau was still able to post a second consecutive round under par. A reminder that he needs to be a little bit sharper on Saturday and stick to his gameplan—center of the green, center of the green, center of the green. He made mention of this on Tuesday in his pre-tournament press conference, quoting a Ryder Cup folk hero in the process.

"Pinehurst is no joke. This is a ball striker's paradise," DeChambeau said earlier this week. "You have to hit it in the middle of the greens. And, this is a Boo Weekley quote, but the center of the green never moves, so I'll try to focus on that this week."

Clearly, he has focused on that so far, so much so that he's repeated the Boo Weekley quote every time he's had a camera or a microphone in his face, almost as if constantly reminding himself of it is part of his strategy this week. For a guy who would love to rip driver and fire at every pin and gun every birdie putt into the center of the hole, it makes sense. A great way to stop yourself from deviating off course is to keep telling yourself to stay the course over and over again.

That's likely why DeChambeau mentioned the Weekley quote again in a post-round interview following his first-round 67 on Thursday. And then again following Friday's 69. Did this guy literally just hang out with Weekley or something?

"I'm still trying to play to the center of the green most of the times," he said. "I'm sure you guys see I'm not really going at flags for the most part, trying to hit it to 20 feet, make a 20-footer. My long putting game has to be good this week, and that's going to be the goal. Boo Weekley, center of the greens and call it a day."

Not counting Wednesday, when DeChambeau didn't do an interviews, he's now 3-for-3 in repeating Weekley's name and his center of the greens quote. Obviously, it's working.

It worked damn well for Weekley his entire PGA Tour career, too. Weekley is your favorite ball-striker's favorite ball-striker, consistently ranking inside the top 25 in greens-in-regulation percentage in his hey day. In 2011, he finished first on the PGA Tour in that statistical category. He finished fifth the following year and sixth the year after that.

In other words, he knows what he's talking about when it comes to approach play, so much so that one of the sport's best players in 2024 can't stop quoting him during one of the biggest events of the year. If that doesn't further cement Boo's folk hero status, we don't know what will.