Winners and losers from the 2024 U.S. Open: McIlroy, Finau, Scheffler, others make the list

Golf

PINEHURST, N.C. — Pinehurst Resort, which likes to call itself the “Cradle of American Golf,” more than delivered in hosting its first U.S. Open in 10 years.

There was plenty of drama and disbelief over the final 18 holes of the 124th U.S. Open on Sunday, as LIV Golf League captain Bryson DeChambeau came from behind to win his second major after PGA Tour star Rory McIlroy failed to hold a 2-stroke lead over the final five holes.

DeChambeau produced a bunker shot for the ages on No. 18 to win the U.S. Open for the second time, while McIlroy endured a gut-wrenching collapse that won’t soon be forgotten in failing to win his fifth major.

Here are the winners and losers from Pinehurst No. 2:

Winners

Bryson DeChambeau

Even before winning the tournament Sunday, it felt like DeChambeau had already won the week. From the way he played to the way he interacted with fans and became the most magnetic figure on the property, DeChambeau solidified himself as one of the sport’s most compelling characters.

So it was fitting then that he not only would be in contention, but also find himself in a position to hit what will be one of the most iconic shots in U.S. Open history. The bunker shot that set up DeChambeau’s title-sealing putt will forever be played across highlights for years to come.

DeChambeau goes back to LIV now, and the larger golf world won’t see him until the Open Championship. But he’s got two majors now and has shown he can win at golf courses as different as Winged Foot and Pinehurst No. 2. With no signs of slowing down, this week showed that DeChambeau should be discussed among the best players in the world.


Pinehurst No. 2

After a birdie fest in the 2023 U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club, where Xander Schauffele and Rickie Fowler tied the scoring record for a major with 8-under 62s (a feat that was matched by Schauffele and Ireland’s Shane Lowry in last months’ PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, another dart contest), Donald Ross’ Pinehurst No. 2 proved to be every golfer’s biggest competitor.

Schauffele earned his first major championship victory with a score of 21 under at Valhalla. Twenty-five players were 10 under or better. Only four players who made the cut finished over par.

That wasn’t the case at Pinehurst No. 2, which got only tougher, firmer and faster as the week went on. Only eight players finished under par. Twenty-one players who made the cut finished 10 over or worse.

There were plenty of comments about Pinehurst No. 2’s difficulty but few complaints that the USGA’s setup was over the edge.

“The golf course is obviously tricky,” said Ludvig Åberg, who tied for 12th at 1 over. “It demands a lot in terms of approach shots, trajectories, height and spin, and obviously demands a lot of discipline and patience, as well. I feel like the course was great. It was obviously very challenging looking at the scores and the leaderboard, but it was cool to play.”

The good news: Pinehurst No. 2 is now an anchor site for the U.S. Open and will host it again in 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.


Matthieu Pavon

Sure, Pavon was probably hoping for more than a 1-over 71 on Sunday, which prevented him from becoming the first French golfer to win the U.S. Open. But after falling to 3 over in the round with a bogey on the 12th, he rallied with two birdies down the stretch to finish solo fifth at 3-under 277.

It has been quite a rookie season on the PGA Tour for Pavon, who formerly competed on the DP World Tour. On Jan. 27, he became the first golfer from France to win a PGA Tour event since 1907 at the Farmers Insurance Open. He tied for 12th at the Masters, earning himself a trip back to Augusta National in 2025, and now has his first top-5 finish in a major.

Ranked No. 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Pavon is probably the favorite for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors. He’ll return to Paris on Aug. 1-4 as the top-rated Frenchman in the Olympic golf tournament at Le Golf National.

“It’s an amazing journey,” Pavon said. “It really shows that in golf, it can go really fast one way and really fast also the other way. But it’s just the work I’ve put in with my team. We try to keep things really simple, and this is the way I feel I can compete at my best level, and this is what maybe made the difference the last year and a half.”


Tony Finau

In 2021, coming off two top-10 finishes at the Masters and the PGA Championship, Finau missed the cut at that year’s U.S. Open. Since then, he had not finished inside the top-15 at a major once. Until this week.

Finau’s ability to grind out a third-place finish Sunday was impressive and, barring a disastrous triple bogey on the par-4 13th on Saturday, he could have been in contention down the stretch. On paper, this setup wasn’t exactly suited for Finau, but he was able to put together his best performance at a major in over three years.

Given his sheer talent, Finau has a case to be one of the best players remaining without a major now that Schauffele has his. Whether this is a step forward and a sign Finau has the ability to give himself more shots at a major or simply a one-off, however, remains to be seen.


Corey Conners

Speaking of the Olympics, Corey Conners needed a tie for 11th or better at the U.S. Open to gain the second Canadian spot in the 60-man men’s field. His good friend Adam Hadwin had passed him for the second spot with a solo third at the Memorial last week. Nick Taylor is the top-ranked Canadian at No. 35 in the world.

Conners carded an even-par 70 on Sunday to finish in a three-way tie for ninth with Sam Burns and Davis Thompson at even-par 280. Conners moved up to 37th in the OWGR, one spot ahead of Hadwin. It was Conners’ fourth top-10 in a major.

Conners, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, represented Canada at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He finished 13th, 2 strokes behind Taiwan’s C.T. Pan, who defeated six other players in a playoff for the bronze medal.

Conners is also in line to compete for the International team at the Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal Golf Club on Sept. 26-29.

“Definitely a huge goal of mine, and it would be a huge thrill to play in Canada at home with Mike Weir as the captain,” Conners said. “I feel like the stars are aligning for a bunch of Canadians to be on the team. It’ll be a lot of fun. I’ll try to keep working hard, make the team, first of all, but hopefully the Internationals can win the Cup.”


Losers

Rory McIlroy

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: McIlroy had his best chance to end his nearly 10-year drought without a major championship, taking a 2-stroke lead with five holes to play, only to endure one of the worst final-round collapses by a leader in history.

While McIlroy has suffered plenty of heartache during that stretch, including an epic collapse at the 2011 Masters and a near-miss at last year’s U.S. Open, this one is going to sting for a long time.

McIlroy carded bogeys on three of the last four holes, inexplicably missing a 2½-footer for par on the 16th and a putt of 3 feet, 9 inches for par on the 18th. He hit his putt on the 16th too hard, his attempt on the 18th wasn’t hard enough.

Since winning the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla, McIlroy has posted 20 top-10 finishes in majors, including nine top 5s. He just hasn’t won his fifth major.

“At the end of the day, we are all human,” Pavon said. “Rory has been chasing another major [for] many years. He is one of the best players in the world, a true champion. It shows you how tough it is. The more you want it, the tougher it gets, and the highest expectation you have for yourself, the tougher it gets, the more pressure you get into.

“Maybe this is a little bit of pressure that got him today for sure, but Rory is just a massive champion. I’m sure he will fight back really soon.”


Viktor Hovland

There probably isn’t a more puzzling player right now than Hovland. After winning the Tour Championship and finishing inside the top-10 at two majors last year, Hovland began 2024 by looking like he had been replaced by a body double who couldn’t swing a golf club. A missed cut at the Masters this year felt like rock bottom.

Then Hovland found something, he returned to swing coach Joe Mayo and nearly won the PGA Championship. The wild swings of the current state of his game were only further highlighted at Pinehurst, where he shot an opening round 8-over 78, only to follow it up with a 68 that nearly got him inside the cut line.

Though the end result was disappointing, this week also reminded us why the 26-year-old is so highly regarded. As the state of his game seems to be as volatile as ever, finding consistency will likely take time and more time. But Hovland’s youth and talent suggests he’ll eventually find it and when he does, the rest of the golf world should watch out.


Scottie Scheffler

Everything about Pinehurst No. 2 screamed Scheffler. The fact that he had come into this week following yet another PGA Tour victory seemed to indicate that he was in peak form, ready to add a third major, and his second of the year, to his résumé.

And yet, as Scheffler pointed out after his second round, he was fatigued, he had not prepared as well as he could have and — perhaps most importantly — he had not embraced the unpredictability surrounding some of the course’s native areas and greens.

Scheffler will likely still be the favorite at the Open Championship next month and will probably add another win to his total before then. He’s just been that good. But for at least one week at the U.S. Open, Scheffler showed us he’s human too.


Wyndham Clark

Clark enjoyed his breakthrough at the 2023 U.S. Open, when he took down McIlroy and Fowler in the final round at LACC to capture his first major championship. He seemed ready to take off again early this season when he picked up his third PGA Tour victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Feb. 4 and finished second to Scheffler in consecutive starts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players.

But Clark has been scuffling lately, and his performance in his title defense wasn’t much better. He made the cut at Pinehurst No. 2, after failing to do so at the Masters and PGA Championship. He tied for 56th at 12 over after posting a 7-over 77 on Sunday.


Justin Thomas

Just when we thought Thomas had made a breakthrough as he finished T-8 at the PGA Championship earlier this year, he regressed at Pinehurst by missing the cut and shooting 11 over through the first two rounds.

Thomas has now missed five cuts in the past seven major appearances and looks miles away from contention. What was more worrisome this week is that, though Thomas’ putting has been his Achilles’ heel, he instead struggled to hit his irons well, which is usually his strength.

It’s unclear where Thomas goes from here, but as more majors and more time passes by, the possibility of Thomas reemerging as one of the top players in the game and one of the contenders at the sport’s biggest events is starting to feel more and more like a far-fetched reality.


Phil Mickelson

Pinehurst No. 2 was too much for many of the world’s best golfers, including Hovland, Justin Rose, Max Homa, Tiger Woods, Will Zalatoris, Jason Day, Fowler and Dustin Johnson, who all missed the cut.

Mickelson, a six-time major champion, arrived at Pinehurst No. 2 last week near the 25th anniversary of his memorable 1-stroke loss to Payne Stewart in the 1999 U.S. Open. Amazingly, Mickelson was a six-time runner-up in the U.S. Open. Those near-misses prevented him from completing the career Grand Slam.

This past week, Mickelson was barely noticeable at Pinehurst No. 2. The 54-year-old LIV Golf League captain posted 79-76 and missed the cut by 10 strokes. He has one year left on a five-year exemption for capturing the 2021 PGA Championship, meaning next year’s U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh might be his last appearance in the tournament that tormented “Lefty” throughout his career.

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