US Open: Rory McIlroy baffled by how Bryson DeChambeau power game translated into commanding win

Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy
McIlroy has expressed surprise at the measure of DeChambeau's success at Winged Foot

Rory McIlroy says he struggles to understand how Bryson DeChambeau's power game translated into a commanding victory at the US Open at Winged Foot.

DeChambeau was the only player to break par on the final day as a closing 67 gave him a six-shot winning margin.

The 27-year-old hit just 23 out of 56 fairways in regulation during the week, the fewest of any champion since 1981.

"I don't know what to say. That's just the complete opposite of what you think a US Open champion does," said McIlroy.

"Look, he's found a way to do it. Whether that's good or bad for the game, I don't know, but it's not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played.

"It's kind of hard to really wrap my head around it," added the Northern Irishman, who will attempt to end his six-year wait for a fifth major triumph at The Masters in November - the only major he is yet to win.

DeChambeau piled on 40lbs of muscle during the previous year in order to become one of the game's biggest hitters, calculating that a lack of accuracy could be countered by being closer to the green.

"I thought I can see it for week-in and week-out PGA Tour set-ups that are a little more benign," McIlroy added after a disappointing final round of 75 left him in a tie for eighth.

"I played with him at Colonial the first week back out, but I sort of said, OK, wait until he gets to a proper golf course, he'll have to rein it back in.

"This is as proper as they come, and look what's happened. Yeah, he's got full belief in what he's doing, and it's pretty impressive."

'Distance not decisive factor' - Lowry

After finishing joint 43rd on 15 over, 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry added his contribution to the debate over DeChambeau's tactics, saying he did not believe distance is the key in golf.

"As long as the golf course is set up correctly, I don't think distance plays that much of a factor in the game," said Lowry.

"Obviously Bryson has done what he has, but he did it (played well) for a month, and then the last few weeks he's not been unbelievable, he's not been contending at the top of events.

"Dustin (Johnson) hits it far, but Dustin controls the ball very well and people have to realise even though they're probably some of the longest hitters in the world, they're still the best golfers.

"You still have to be able to control your ball, you still have to be able to chip and putt. If it was just about hitting the ball long, the long drivers would be out here playing in these major championships and they're not.

"I don't like talking about the distance debate because I think golf is perfect the way it is, and I think it's a great game, and I think the best golfers are the best golfers in the world because they're the best golfers all around."

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