You need luck to win major championships.

For Bryson DeChambeau, he found his luck on Sunday in the 106th PGA Championship on the 16th hole, when his tee shot went left and hit a tree. As the ball caromed off the tree and kicked back into the fairway, luck became part of DeChambeau’s round.

When he took full advantage, hitting his second shot from 220 yards from the fairway to three feet, his sixth birdie of the round inched the 2020 U.S. Open champion to within one shot of overnight co-leader Xander Schauffele.

The last birdie that tied DeChambeau with Schauffele at 20-under came on the final hole, the par 5 where Tiger Woods long ago made a final birdie in a playoff win over Bob May.
Watching DeChambeau’s 11-foot birdie putt on the last hole roll suspensefully up a slight incline and almost stop on the edge before dropping in the hole for a 7-under 64, it was clearly Tiger-like, as Woods seemingly has done many times before.
But luck and skill were not enough for DeChambeau as he watched Schauffele bury a six-footer for his seventh birdie and a one-shot victory at 21-under par.

“I said thank you to the tree,” DeChambeau said laughing about the tree on the 16th hole. “I just wasn’t driving it my absolute best this week and was uncomfortable on the tee shot and I pulled it left, and I got super lucky. I looked at G-Bo (caddie Greg Bodine), and I go, ‘OK, this is what it takes to win major championships. You got to have breaks like that happen.’ I fully took advantage of that second shot, put it in there close, hit a great shot.”

Usually, when a player shoots four rounds in the 60s, as DeChambeau did, they would win the major championship with those four rounds.

For DeChambeau, the runner-up finish came without his A-game, according to the 30-year-old.

“I’ve learned I can play golf with my golf swing even when I’m not hitting it well,” DeChambeau said of this week experience. “When I’m hitting it well, I got to take advantage. I wasn’t able to do that at Augusta. My putting failed me. But then clearly, I putted well this week. I figured some good stuff out. Just got to remember those things and use that for the U.S. Open. I’m excited for Pinehurst.”

Where DeChambeau succeeded on Sunday was bringing the crowd into the Championship.

With emotion and passion, DeChambeau, no longer a PGA Tour member, having joined LIV almost three years ago, won the hearts and minds of many fans.

“Sometimes I just go look myself in the face and just say, you got to get it done,” DeChambeau said. “No matter what’s going on, no matter what you feel right now, you got to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots. Be better. I got to do better. And I did. I just was one shot short.”