How Pressure Derailed the Confidence of Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau at The 2021 Players Championship

Published 03/15/2021, 5:34 AM EDT
Mar 13, 2021; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA; Bryson DeChambeau reacts to his shot on the 14th hole during the third round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


What could’ve possibly gone wrong for Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau, the duo who were touted to battle it out for The 2021 Players Championship? The recap of 2021 Bay Hill took place, but not the way fans wanted to. In the end, Justin Thomas stole everyone’s thunder and raced away with the victory. 

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After displaying some brilliant stroke-making in the first three rounds, Westwood and DeChambeau were locked in for a Round 4 duel. Winner takes all, but the runner-up gets a good prize amount too. 

But the par-4 No. 4 stopped these two players from closing in on victory on Sunday. A simple regulation hole caused Westwood and DeChambeau to experience the nerves of the final day battle and robbed them of a close finish. Here’s what went down. 

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Mar 13, 2021; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA; Bryson DeChambeau plays his shot from the 15th tee during the third round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Bryson DeChambeau committed a nasty error in No. 4

After all that he had done on Saturday, DeChambeau proved that even he could set a foot wrong by making a complete mess of the fourth hole in Round 4. ‘The Scientist’ struck an inaccurate and low tee-shot with a fairway wood that got him no more than 150 yards on the course. 

The tee-shot landed on the penalty area (water hazard) which cost him a stroke. The third shot was no good too, as DeChambeau fired it wide right of the green and later groaned “Oh my god, what’s going on?” as the ball finished 66-yards to the right of the hole. 

That’s three strokes done, but DeChambeau didn’t have the ball on the green yet. Only after a pin-point fifth shot was he able to land it less than seven-feet off the hole. It was then a regulation-putt for the 2020 U.S. Open Champion as he claimed the double-bogey at the par-4 fourth. 

This was indeed an unexpected result for DeChambeu who seemed to have succumbed to the pressure of playing on a Sunday. He had birdied the fourth hole on Saturday but faced a nightmare in the final round.

Lee Westwood did one better than his pairing mate but it wasn’t enough

Lee Westwood might’ve breathed a sigh of relief after watching DeChambeau mess up his tee shot at No. 4. However, he faced the same fate after slicing the ball too much to the right with the same fairway wood. 

Unlike DeChambeau, Westwood didn’t falter in his third shot after taking the penalty. That allowed him to gain an advantage over his pairing partner, but Lee Westwood also ended up committing a bogey at the fourth role on Sunday. 

It is simple. The pressure got to both players on Sunday. Although The Players Championship is not a major, it is given a similar hype that gets into the minds of the competitors. 

54-hole leaders at The Players have a history of finding a weak spot in Round 4, and it was evident when Westwood went on to card an even 72. He had finished all the other three rounds under par. 

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Was it the pressure that caused Bryson DeChambeau and Lee Westwood to shoot inaccurately in Round 4? It might be, but what we do know is that Justin Thomas battled past it and created history with his win

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Arjun Athreya

1827 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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