Home » As U.S. Open champ Bryson DeChambeau returns to LIV Golf, will be bring any new fans along with him? – Australian Golf Digest

As U.S. Open champ Bryson DeChambeau returns to LIV Golf, will be bring any new fans along with him? – Australian Golf Digest

As U.S. Open champ Bryson DeChambeau returns to LIV Golf, will be bring any new fans along with him? – Australian Golf Digest

The comedown after a major championship is always real, when golf retreats to its niche corner in sports, away from the attention that a battle between U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy at Pinehurst commands from mainstream media and New York talk shows. The “other” four weeks of the year which follow men’s majors—even when they include PGA Tour signature events—are professional golf’s equivalent of a B-side in the music industry. They can become cult hits, but more often they’re just talented people messing around for our entertainment.

The humbling experience will be shared, to a degree, between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, which has already lobbed into Connecticut for the Travelers Championship. The $20 million signature event will no doubt produce some entertainment despite the absence of McIlroy, who withdrew from the event at TPC River Highlands to take a break from golf after two missed short putts cost him a fifth career major. But it won’t offer the same adrenaline rush as DeChambeau saving a 72nd-hole par from a treacherous 55-yard bunker shot to claim a second career major by one shot.

However, it’s likely that DeChambeau, and his LIV Golf League, will have the sharper hangover than the PGA Tour as the rival circuit heads to Tennessee for LIV Nashville. The brand-new tournament is the ninth on LIV’s 14-event schedule for 2024. The fledgling league has not been able to gain the same traction in the U.S. that it has enjoyed overseas, like its flagship tournament in Adelaide, Australia in April, which saw 94,000 fans attend over three days. DeChambeau will go from being the star of the most-watched East Coast U.S. Open since 2013—the final round peaked at 11.4 million viewers—to a league whose broadcast is split between The CW network, Caffeine TV and the LIV Golf+ app.

“I’ve been running on probably a cumulative total in the past three days of maybe 12 hours of sleep,” said DeChambeau during a press conference on Wednesday in Nashville when asked what live has been like in the wake of the Pinehurst victory. “Certainly, it’s been a whirlwind for me, and a lot of adrenaline going through my body the past few days. There’s going to be an adrenaline dump here in the next day.”

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But LIV Nashville, being held at The Grove, a course designed by LIV commissioner Greg Norman, is showing early signs of experiencing a Bryson Bump. Although no specific numbers were offered—and they won’t come close to the 200,000-plus spectators that attended the U.S. Open throughout the week at Pinehurst—league sources tell Golf Digest Nashville is expected to become the highest-attended LIV event in the U.S. since LIV’s inception in 2022. Seventeen of the 30 LIV tournaments prior to Nashville were held in the U.S. The Tulsa World reported after the conclusion of the LIV event in Oklahoma in May 2023 that the 40,000 attendees was the biggest in the U.S. to that point.

A majority of the ticket categories for Saturday’s second round in Nashville have sold out, including grounds passes (general admission). In the three days following DeChambeau’s Pinehurst triumph, LIV saw a 240 percent increase in its average daily ticket sales for an event week. A spokesperson for LIV said Nashville had ticket buyers from 15 different countries and all 50 U.S. states. More than 30 percent of ticket purchases came from outside of Tennessee.

The Bryson Bump also reportedly extends to LIV’s merchandise sales, and specifically, DeChambeau’s own LIV team, Crushers GC. Crushers’ apparel is manufactured by the stylish golf brand, Stitch Golf. The team, which includes Charles Howell III, Anirban Lahiri and Paul Casey, plays under a logo featuring a golf ball silhouette hovering above two crossed golf tees. While the Crushers logo and swag is likely not everyone’s cup of tea, it was beamed to U.S. Open viewers around the world and that exposure has certainly helped. While not disclosing overall dollar figures, league sources claimed Crushers GC merchandise sales increased 985 percent in the week from Tuesday at Pinehurst to yesterday. The sources also claimed the league overall also saw a 308 percent uptick in merchandise sales in the same span.

Of course, we can’t forget the Google realm, either, where DeChambeau does arguably his best work. A Google Trends spokesperson told Golf Digest that search engine interest in DeChambeau spiked 490 percent in the U.S. (and 430 percent globally) in the 72 hours after Pinehurst. On YouTube, where DeChambeau has a channel with 740,000 subscribers, search interest for the month between the PGA Championship in May 19, when DeChambeau finished second to Xander Schauffele, and June 19, peaked on the day after the final round at Pinehurst. DeChambeau’s 23-minute video upload, “My U.S. Open Highlights”, garnered 511,000 views while his match against YouTube golfer Garrett Clark, using hickory-shafted golf clubs, amassed almost 1 million views since it was published during the U.S. Open.

While LIV Nashville won’t offer anywhere close to the drama of DeChambeau’s bunker shot—he most memorable 72nd-hole shot since Tiger Woods’ putt on 18 at Torrey Pines in 2008—he will at least be back among his fraternity of league stars. Brooks Koepka, the first LIV player to win a major (his fifth overall) at the PGA last year already greeted DeChambeau warmly on the range at The Grove.

“I’ve got to recover for Friday, which I should be ready to do, and give the fans an exciting weekend,” DeChambeau said, returning to his entertainer mindset. “That’s what I’m here for.”

Try as DeChambeau will, however, it’ll be a comedown. But the silver lining is there’s still one more major this year. Let’s hope the week after the Open Championship at Troon is just as tough.

This article was originally published on golfdigest.com