Why Bryson DeChambeau thankful for 72nd-hole move by Open playing partner

Bryson DeChambeau, Matthieu Pavon

Bryson DeChambeau and Matthieu Pavon last Sunday on the 18th hole at Pinehurst.

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Bryson DeChambeau thanked Matthieu Pavon. He didn’t want his apology. 

He didn’t want to apologize himself, after all. 

The moment in question mostly centers around etiquette, and the topic came up this week on Pavon’s visit on the Fore Play podcast, which you can listen to in full here. It followed Pavon’s putt to 2 feet, 11 inches on the 72nd hole of last week’s U.S. Open — which came shortly after DeChambeau, his playing partner, had hit to a foot almost directly behind that spot for a putt that could win him the major.

As things turned out, Pavon marked, DeChambeau dropped his putt, he celebrated — then he shushed the masses at Pinehurst in order for Pavon to putt. But did Pavon have a thought of putting out after his first putt? The Frenchman’s 3-footer was to finish fifth, and often in these situations, players will try to give the stage to the player on the brink of a title.      

Still, DeChambeau was away. Pavon also offered a couple revelations on the podcast. He’d thought the putt would lock him in for all four of next year’s majors. (It got him just a return to the U.S. Open.) He wouldn’t hurry it. No putt on Pinehurst’s greens should be rushed. Pavon marked. 

He said he then realized the circumstances. 

“I kind of realized, damn, it’s the winning putt for Bryson so maybe I should just finish it,” Pavon said on the podcast. “And then because I can’t [stop] that momentum and it’s already like 30 seconds to a minute while I’ve been marking that ball, I’m like, well, it’s too late, I’m not going to go back now and just finish it. 

“So obviously I was praying in my mind, I was like, just make it please.”

He did. But there’s more. Podcast host Dan Rapaport had noted that Pavon would’ve given DeChambeau a read on his putt — and Pavon said it came up in a bit of a heart-to-heart in the scoring area afterward. 

DeChambeau, Pavon said on the podcast, wanted to be fair to Rory McIlroy, who was a stroke behind him. 

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“I said, Bryson, I’m really sorry, dude. I should have probably finished it,” Pavon said on the podcast. “But it was for solo second [fifth], and I don’t know why I was focused on that thing and not focused on you. You have to win the tournament. And I don’t why. I apologized so bad to him. And he said, dude, you’ve done the right thing. It’s important for you and you’ve done the right call.”

Said Rapaport: “And also, I think if you would have finished, it would have been a big story. Don’t you think? …” 

Said Pavon: “This is what he said. He said thanks not doing it because you would have showed me the line and I think it’s not fair for Rory and I don’t want to win it that way. So I was like, OK, fine. I’m glad you made it.” 

Said Sam ‘Riggs’ Bozoian, another of the podcast’s co-hosts: “Yeah, because I remember in real time, it’s such a golf Twitter thing to be like, oh, he should definitely finish. No, actually, you guys are playing a golf tournament. You should hit the right shot in the right order. If it’s like a no-brainer …” 

Said Pavon: “I kind of agree. Like, to be gentle and respectful to the winner on his home soil, I should have finished, right. But at the same time, I’m thinking about me. It’s really important for me and to finish solo fifth instead of finishing sixth for FedEx points, and my first year on the PGA Tour, it was my best finish in the major. 

“And at the same time, I’m like, is it fair also for Rory that I show the line to Bryson? And Bryson is again such a respectful guy and very gentle, and he straightaway said it’s not a big deal, thanks a lot for doing that because I didn’t want to win that way and I think you made the right call. So it was maybe a tricky situation because, as you said, Dan, if I would have putt first and make it, then I show Bryson maybe the read and then maybe guys on social media say, why did Matthieu Pavon show the line to Bryson or whatever? So it was a tough call.”

Editor’s note: To listen to the entire Fore Play podcast with Pavon, please click here

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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