US Open champ Bryson DeChambeau pins hope in LA 2028

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At a glance


    COLLEGE GROVE (AP) — Bryson DeChambeau couldn’t play at the Tokyo Olympics because of COVID-19. His decision to sign with LIV Golf is keeping him out of the Paris Games this summer.

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    Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after winning the U.S. Open golf tournament Sunday, June 16, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    So the two-time U.S. Open champion is pinning his hopes on Los Angeles in 2028.

    “I’ve done my best up until now to give myself a chance according to the (world ranking), but I realize and respect where the current situation of the game is, albeit it’s frustrating and disappointing,” DeChambeau said Wednesday, June 19, with the U.S. Open trophy beside him.

    “Hopefully 2028 will be a little different situation, and it will make it that much sweeter.”

    DeChambeau is 10th in the Official World Golf Ranking. The Olympics uses the rankings to set the 60-man field, and the OWGR does not recognize LIV Golf with its closed shop (the same 54 players all year competing in 54-hole events) and simultaneous team play.

    The OWGR has not figured out how to measure such a league with two dozen open tours around the world, and LIV hasn’t offered a solution on its end. That means DeChambeau has only been able to earn rankings points in the majors this year, and he did his part by finishing tied for sixth in the Masters and second to Xander Schauffele in the PGA Championship before his U.S. Open triumph last week at Pinehurst No. 2.

    A maximum of four players can represent any country in Olympic golf, and DeChambeau is the sixth highest-ranked American. The U.S. team will feature Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, Schauffele, Wyndham Clark and Collin Morikawa.

    DeChambeau made the U.S. squad for the Tokyo Games. Then he tested positive for COVID the week before his planned flight to Japan, which kept him from representing his country.

    He knew not qualifying for the Olympics was a possibility when he joined LIV in 2022. He’s played only one tournament outside the majors and LIV events since then — last year’s Saudi International. DeChambeau has finished in the top 10 in five of his nine majors played during that stretch.

    PGA Tour officials are talking with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf, trying to reach an agreement for a new model for professional golf. DeChambeau said he had been hoping for an agreement by now to allow him to play in the Olympics.

    “It hasn’t worked out that way, and again I respect the decision that I made, and it is what it is,” he said. “It hurts, but you know what? There’s another one four years later.”

    Until then, all DeChambeau can do is enjoy himself.

    He’s been on a whirlwind tour since he beat Rory McIlroy by one shot last weekend at Pinehurst. He has appeared on a handful of TV shows and estimated he’s maybe slept 12 hours since Sunday.

    He continued his celebration swing Wednesday, carrying the trophy with him into his news conference. He also made sure everyone touched it on his way out, as he did with the fans at Pinehurst.

    His win also has given LIV Golf a boost. This event about 30 miles south of Nashville is nearly sold out before Friday’s start at The Grove, designed by LIV CEO Greg Norman, which also has hosted a Korn Ferry Tour event.

    DeChambeau said he’s feeling as if he’s playing as well as he did in 2018 when he won consecutive FedEx Cup playoff events — even if the stats and rankings don’t put him at No. 1.

    He dodged the question of whether or not he’s the best player in the world, leaving that to others to answer.

    “I’m not going to put a label or title on myself,” DeChambeau said. “That’s not what I do. I’m here to go play the best golf I can and inspire others and give people some great entertainment.”

     

    Rahm’s back

    Jon Rahm is back and planning to play after an infection on his left foot forced him to withdraw from the LIV event in Houston and the U.S. Open last week.

    Rahm said Wednesday not playing at Pinehurst wasn’t easy. Sitting out allowed him to watch golf as a fan and gave antibiotics time to heal the infection between the end toes on his left foot. The Spaniard is among six players at this event who are qualified for the Paris Olympics.

    “The wound is still there,” Rahm said. “I’m not going to show any graphic pictures, but it’s still there. It’s manageable now. I’m not going to really make it worse. A lot of things to follow up from what happened to make sure it heals properly and it doesn’t happen again.”