Bryson DeChambeau has a hat on his golf bag. Here’s touching reason why

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau hits his second shot on Friday on the 18th hole at Pinehurst.

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PINEHURST, N.C. — Payne Stewart is everywhere here. There’s the statue of him, with his right arm raised and his right leg lifted. There are the memories of the moment that inspired the monument. They started after June of 1999, when, on a 15-footer on the 72nd hole, Stewart won the U.S. Open.   

There’s a hat, too. 

This week, there are additional feelings to them all, as they’re playing the U.S. Open at Pinehurst for the third time since Stewart’s victory, and his death four months later. It’s been 25 years. To Bryson DeChambeau, Stewart was big. Growing up, he was a fan. Even said he picked to go to Southern Methodist because that’s where Stewart went. 

“When I went to SMU,” DeChambeau said Friday, “in the athletic department on the wall, I saw a mural of him, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, he went to SMU?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, didn’t you know?’ ‘I was like, no, I didn’t know he went here.’

“That was probably the moment I decided to go to SMU.”

Then there’s the cap. Stewart wore what’s described as a driver’s hat. Golfers may call it a Ben Hogan hat, as the legend once also wore it. DeChambeau idolized both Hogan and Stewart so he wore one as a kid, and for a while as a pro. 

This week, it’s hanging on the side of his bag. 

“It’s with me,” said DeChambeau after his second round, where he shot a one-under 69 to position himself for a second U.S. Open win. “And makes me think of him every time I’m walking on these grounds.”

Whether he wears it Sunday will be a question, of course. Regardless, he’s put himself in position. During Thursday’s first round, he shot a 67. Friday was bumpier. Four bogeys. But five birdies, including one on 18 after an approach shot that he dropped to 15 inches.

“Felt like I was actually hitting the driver pretty solid today,” DeChambeau said. “Starting lines just weren’t exactly where I saw them coming out of the chute, and consequently ended up in the native area a few too many times, which cost me probably three or four shots. Something I’m looking forward to fixing over the weekend.

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States during the first round of the 124th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resor
Bryson DeChambeau loses key asset at U.S. Open. But still finds his way
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“But all in all, was very happy with how I stayed patient, gave myself good opportunities when they mattered, and I made a lot of clutch putts coming in.”

Soon after the press conference, he was done. Saturday, he’ll tee off late. 

As for Friday afternoon and night?

“I probably am going to sit my butt on the couch,” DeChambeau said, “and watch havoc on TV.

“This golf course is not going to be easy this afternoon. Hopefully I can see a little bit of how it’s going to play tomorrow. I’m going to try and get some insight into that. But get some treatment on my body, go work out a little bit, work on my game for just a little bit, but get back and relax. I need to relax. I’ve had a long couple weeks and need to give myself some energy for the weekend.”

Does he watch morning coverage?

“Oh, yeah, I love it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s good insight, great information, see how things are playing, where not to be, where to be. I like going to bed late and waking up late, as well. So I won’t be getting up at 8:00 a.m. or 5:30 a.m. like this morning. 

“I’ll be sleeping in. I need some rest.”

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at 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

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