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Until golf‘s Olympic return, Bryson DeChambeau didn’t dare dream it

Bryson DeChambeau grew up watching the Olympics and wishing that sometime he would be capable to participate.

As a golfer, he knew that was a little bit of a stretch.

Although the game was part of the Olympic program early within the twentieth Century, it was dropped from 1904 till it returned for Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

“There was never a thought in my mind – before 2016, obviously – that I thought I was going to be in the Olympics,” he stated this week after making the sector for the Tokyo Games. “I never would have thought that. Playing as good as I have these last few years has afforded me that opportunity.”

DeChambeau, 27, was one yr faraway from his newbie days in 2016, and didn’t come near incomes one of many 4 U.S. spots within the Olympic discipline. Now the sixth-ranked golfer on this planet, he’s one in all 4 Americans chosen for the 60-man discipline that can play on the Kasumigaseki Country Club outdoors of Tokyo from July 30-Aug. 8.

Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele can even signify the U.S.; world No. 2 Dustin Johnson has opted out.

DeChambeau stated he remembers loving Olympic desk tennis as a baby and seeing Michael Phelps dominate the swimming in Athens and Beijing. Most of all, he hoped to sometime be capable to march into an Olympic stadium within the opening ceremony.

“When I missed it in Rio in 2016, I was like ’Man, that’s a goal of mine that I want to check off the list.′ I want to be an Olympian for the American team,” he stated. “And I’m very fortunate to say that I’m an Olympian now.”

DeChambeau stated Rickie Fowler, who performed in Rio, stated it was “the coolest experience ever.”

Not that he wanted any convincing.

“As of right now, I am definitely going,” he stated, acknowledging that the video games have already been postponed for a yr due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Japan stays in a partial lockdown. “If something was crazy to happen, obviously, we all wouldn’t be going.”

The 2020 U.S. Open champion, DeChambeau was leading this year’s tournament with nine holes to play before imploding on the back nine at Torrey Pines. He made back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12, then took a triple on the 13th hole and a quadruple bogey on the 17th.

He finished the final round with a 6-over 77, nine strokes behind winner John Rahm.

This week brings him to TPC River Highlands outside of Hartford, Connecticut, for the Travelers Championship. Five of the world’s top 10 players are in the field, including Johnson, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

DeChambeau has played in the tournament five times, never missing the cut and finishing in the top 10 the last three years.

“It fits my game pretty well. Hopefully I can fix the driver a little bit more – still struggling with that. The miss-hits are a little too wild. And that’s what I’m looking to change for this week,” he said. “If I can do that, I think I have a good chance to contend.”

DeChambeau also said he was eager to get back in front of fans after playing last year’s tournament on an empty course. If that brings out the hecklers trying to stoke his feud with Koepka, that’s fine, too.

“It’s something that just rolls right off my back,” he said. “People think it bothers me. It doesn’t. At all. It’s, like, just an afterthought to me. I hear it and it doesn’t even register in my head anymore. So people can keep saying it if they want. I’ve got no issue with it. It’s funny, if anything.”

And good for golf?

“There’s some good aspects to it,” he said. “Now when you start saying it during somebody’s golf swing, it’s different. But, you know, walking down the fairway, whatever? No harm, no foul.”

___

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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