Bryson DeChambeau’s secret for dealing with bad breaks during a round

2024 U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau shares how his quirky practice as a kid helps him when he's got a difficult shot during a tournament

Bryson DeChambeau attributes his confidence during tough situations to his childhood practice.

Getty Images

While Bryson DeChambeau captured the 2024 U.S. Open title at Pinehurst No. 2, he did so by playing with a bit of fire during Sunday’s final round.

Heading into Round 4, DeChambeau carried a three-stroke cushion, which isn’t quite comfortable, but it’s cozy enough that he could make a few mistakes and still find himself in contention.

With players like Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay nipping at his heels on the leaderboard, DeChambeau needed to bring his A-game.

He was far from it, only hitting 5 of 14 fairways, 11 of 18 greens, and shooting a 1-over-par 71 — his highest score of the week.

A perfect example of his inconsistency during the final round occurred during the 18th hole on Sunday, when DeChambeau found himself in a horrid situation during the most critical moment of the entire tournament — when all he needed was a par to win.

bryson dechambeau hits bunker shot on the 18th hole at pinehurst no. 2
Bryson DeChambeau says this is the ‘most important thing’ on bunker shots
By: Zephyr Melton

After hitting his tee shot left and into the native area, his ball was resting on a root in the ground and underneath a tree. He didn’t just need to shorten his swing to avoid the branches above him, he also had to make sure he made ball-first contact to avoid losing the U.S. Open in heartbreaking fashion.

“I was actually concerned I might hurt myself getting out of that,” he said after.

He stepped over the ball, then paused.

He talked with rules officials about taking relief. The request was denied.

He then worked on feeling his backswing length, then paused.

He backed off and talked to his caddie, then reset himself, went through his routine and took a whack at it.

“I was trying to run it left of that bunker, run it up the green, give myself a 2-putt,” he added. “I had no backswing. At a certain point in time, I’m just like, OK, I have to hack it.”

While DeChambeau hit a magnificent shot to even get it out, his ball landed in the greenside bunker — which led to one of the greatest up-and-downs in recent major history. And while that bunker shot is one to celebrate, if not for his little punch out on the prior shot, today’s narrative may have been different.

Bryson DeChambeau says prepare yourself for the unknown

Given all that was going on prior to that shot on No. 18, how did DeChambeau execute it to perfection? Where does his confidence, mentality, and comfort come from in difficult situations like that? He revealed some secrets during his press conference next to the U.S. Open trophy — and it’s a lesson that all amateur players can learn from.

When asked about dealing with random breaks and uncontrollable situations during a round, DeChambeau said it all goes back to practicing them as a kid.

“I go back to being a kid. So when I was a kid, I used to throw golf balls in the worst lies outside of the fairway and just learned to hit out of the worst situations to see what I could do,” he shared. “That sparked a lot of my creativity, but then I’d go back and work on the mechanics really hard.”

Given DeChambeau’s quirky training techniques and somewhat bizarre drills, it’s no surprise that he used similar things as a young golfer to prepare himself for big moments like the ones he encountered at the U.S. Open.

bryson dechambeau looks on at the us open
Bryson DeChambeau nearly had to give up golf. Now he’s a U.S. Open winner (again)
By: Jack Hirsh

“I had this unique childhood experience in golf of working on really quirky, weird things, then also working super hard on the mechanics, trying to be as machinelike as possible.” he added. “I feel like that combination allows — it just pretty much shows what I did today.

“In certain situations where I have no control over what’s going to happen, you’ve got to just figure out how to will it and get it done. That creativity gets sparked. When the greens are not perfectly flat, they’re not glass, there’s some little bumps and whatnot, being imaginative, seeing how the ball is going to curve over the edge, really getting into it in your mind is what I focus on.”

Most amateur golfers don’t often practice with uncontrollable situations like DeChambeau mentioned above. Instead, they place the ball on flat grass (or a mat), hitting balls in ideal conditions.

But this doesn’t prepare you for the ball that’s buried in mud, or sitting on a root, or stuck beneath a tree with drooping branches. So instead of approaching your shot with confidence, you go into it without a game plan.

It might be time to try DeChambeau’s method instead, and try to practice giving yourself imperfect situations that will give you a leg up over your competition when you encounter these bad breaks during a round.

Voice Caddie VC4 Golf GPS

VC4 is a smart GPS rangefinder that tells not just the distance to the middle of the green, but also provides elevation changes, distance to front and back, and locates the landing point of the ball and gives you the carry distance.  Equipped with high capacity battery that can last up to 54 holes. When the battery gets low, it calculates remaining holes and automatically goes into Power-Saving mode. Quick charge is available via USB-C charger which comes with the purchase.
View Product

Nick Dimengo Editor