DeChambeau hears 'Brooksy' but no US Open rival pairing

·3-min read
Long-driving defending champion Bryson DeChambeau hears US Open fans call out the name of rival Brooks Koepka as part of a social media rivalry, but he hopes his name will be listed as a winner Sunday at Torrey Pines

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau will hear plenty of "Brooksy" from US Open spectators, but he won't be playing alongside his social media rival on Sunday at Torrey Pines.

DeChambeau fired a three-under par 68 on Saturday to share fourth with Rory McIlroy on three-under par 210, two off the lead entering the final round at the oceanside layout.

He'll play alongside fellow American Scottie Scheffler in a third-to-last pairing as he tries to become only the third player in 70 years to win back-to-back US Open titles after Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989 and Brooks Koepka in 2017 and 2018.

Fans hoped for a DeChambeau-Koepka pairing after a video of Koepka showing distain for a loud-talking DeChambeau at last month's PGA Championship was made public and a social media spat followed.

Now fans often yell "Brooksy" when DeChambeau hits a shot.

"I've learned to turn it into a compliment," DeChambeau said. "I'm out here playing and contending for a major championship. I've learned to look over and appreciate it.

"It's so much fun. People think it annoys me. It just creates a great atmosphere for golf."

It took a while for DeChambeau to settle into that notion, however.

"At first I didn't really know how to handle it. You're kind of thrown into a situation," he said. "But now I enjoy it. I think it's great. You've got to embrace it.

"There's going to be Team Bryson, Team Brooks out there, and hey, keep it up, I'm happy about it. I'm excited that one day we can eventually get paired up and play together. It would be fun."

He's going to have more fun Sunday bashing tee shots with the same strategy -- maximize distance no matter where the ball lands -- that won him his first major title last year at Winged Foot.

"I'm hitting driver off of pretty much every hole, depending on where the flag is," he said. "I think the Winged Foot play is kind of what's going on this week so far."

It doesn't hurt that when he misses on a long shot, he's winding up in areas that spectators have walked down.

"When I miss it because I hit it pretty far, I'm going to miss it off line quite a bit. So that plays into my advantage a little bit more because where the people are walking, it's trampled down and you get some good lies," DeChambeau said.

"That's still the game plan, and hopefully I get lucky tomorrow again."

Fifth-ranked DeChambeau has a routine to get himself ready to hit his hardest.

"It's a lot of adrenaline stuff, trying to get my body in the right place," he said. "It's about feeling it correctly, and then it's also about amping myself up, get myself moving and going to create a lot of blood flow that allows me to hit it hard."

And he's also learning patience when it comes to the majors.

"I feel like I'm starting to understand major championship golf and how to play it and how to go about managing my game, my attitude and just my patience level," he said.

"If I can continue to do that tomorrow, I think I'll have a good chance."