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March 15, 2016
MARK WILLIAMS: Okay. We'd like to welcome Bryson DeChambeau to the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Bryson is the only player in history to win the NCAA Division I title and the U.S. Amateur Championship in the same year.
You made your debut on the PGA TOUR at the FedEx St. Jude Classic where you made the cut and tied for 45th.
You played tournaments worldwide in the last few months. Can you just talk about what you've experienced and what may be the main thing that you've learned playing those tournaments in professional events as an amateur?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: The experience came from those events have been incredible. It's almost like taking my rookie year out. It still is going to be my rookie year. It's quite nice to be able to have that taken care of in a sense when I get out hopefully for the RBC, most likely the RBC to start my professional status.
As it relates to the Australian Masters and also going over to the Middle East, it's been great. The players have been nice and getting more and more comfortable each and every week. I'm looking forward to another great week here and Augusta as well.
Q. You're playing here on an invitation as the U.S. Amateur Champion. Have you gotten to meet Mr. Palmer this week?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Not this week. I have met him before and I'm really looking forward to meeting him. It's quite an honor to be able to be invited by him and get to play in this prestigious event. It's one I will definitely will never forget.
Q. Bryson, can you give us the details about the first time you met Arnold and can you recall, as best you can, at what age or what point in your life did you become aware of Arnold and the accomplishments that he's made?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I knew all about him growing up. My dad was a professional back in the day and a very good player in his own right and talked quite a bit about Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and what they've done for the game.
I have had some history and some knowledge on who he was and what he's done for the game, how great of an ambassador he has been.
The first time I met him was actually for the Walker Cup, one of our practice sessions. We went up to Latrobe, Pennsylvania and got to meet him and have dinner with him and interact with him and hear some great stories that he's had throughout his life and it was quite an incredible experience to meet a legend of the game.
Q. One thing about that experience stays with you? What stays with you the most?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: How giving he is. I think that's a huge aspect in what Arnold Palmer tries to accomplish for the game of golf. He gives back so much and I hope that one day I can do the same. I take that to my heart that that's what I hope to stay true to my heart, I guess if that makes sense. I hope to do that down the road.
Q. Bryson, if you do believe that you are a different player since October, in what ways and what kind of lessons have stood out to you?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah. Yeah. I'd say first and foremost the comfortability factor out here, being comfortable, going to the golf course, getting used to players around me and also timing. Timing is a huge aspect in regards to when do you need to go practice, when do you need to go rest, get some other things done.
That's a huge aspect of it. It's taken me a little while. I'm still listening. This week is a little different, too. It's ramping up to the Masters. But I'm getting comfortable. I'm excited to see where it can take me.
Q. Have you been to Augusta?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah. I went, let's see, it was last week and I played couple days there and it was my 8th time, I think total.
Q. Any thoughts about it? What is your plan to get ready for the Masters?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I'm going to use the rest of my three days this coming week to get ready. You get five days as an invitee to the Masters to play by yourself with one guest and then obviously the caddy. So you don't have to have a member.
I've had two of those days, used those in December and I get to use the rest of the three here coming up next week and looking forward to getting more comfortable with the golf course, and the greens are the biggest factor in that golf course, I believe, and how you approach it from the second shot.
But the greens are very tricky. You got to understand a lot of optical illusions and what you can and can't do on the golf course.
Q. Do you like the course?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I love it. Dr. MacKenzie, Mr. Jones, just unbelievable how great their combination of brain power to create that golf course is incredible on that side of the hill. It's amazing.
Q. How bittersweet is it right now when you go and you watch SMU out there and you're not with them yet, you're playing here? Kind of a bittersweet time for you?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: No doubt. I try to encourage the guys all the time. I talk to them quite a bit. I talk to Austin Smotherman and Ben Baxter on the team as well. They're obviously sad I'm not there. They understand.
For me, I'm excited to go down this new journey and, unfortunately, with what happened I've been dealt a certain layout of cards and I'm just playing them to the best of my ability and I hope it's beneficial to my end and, you know, it was too bad I had to leave from SMU but, at the same time, they all realize I have my own life to live and they're very supportive of that.
Q. Bryson, obviously there's been a lot of discussion, lot written about your approach to golf with the clubs and all the things that you've done.
I'm curious if you could talk a little bit about how that evolved. Was it a big experimentation process for you to get to the point you're at or did something click immediately and you said, "Hey, I'm going to go this route"?
Can you just say how that kind of came down?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I guess about the 600th time I've talked about it. It's been quite an adaptation, not an evolution. How can I play the game better, what can I do to make it easier to play the game? And, well, when I was 15 Mike Schy handed me the Golfing Machine, actually threw it at me. That's kind of how he is, threw that book at me and started looking at it.
I had no idea what it was about. Eventually got to the point where I started to understand some of the different motions you can use in the golfing machine.
I went up to Mike when I was 17, I want to switch my swing to this. This is what hopefully Homer Kelley says in the back of the book, the plane angle variations, that's component 7 and variation A was a zero shifting motion. Why not do this?
"Well, it's usually for chipping but I don't know if you can do it for the full swing." I said, "I'm going to try it." Went out, tried to do it and that's ultimately what changed me from a variable length mindset to a single length mindset.
I can't do this. My posture is changing constantly with different length clubs. I have to. Whether it's subconscious or not I'm still changing. That's going to put another variable. I said, "Why can't we make the lengths all the same?" He said, "Well, it's an easy one to ask, tough one to answer."
So, took us about two weeks to build a set but we did it and went out and tested it out, hit an 8 iron on the first hole, Dragonfly Golf Club. I had 160 yards out. Landed right next to the hole. Cool. That's great. Works pretty well.
There wasn't much of a discrepancy there. Went to the next hole, 5-iron in from 210 yards out. Hit the 5-iron, staying in the air. Kept going and kept going. Landed about yard, couple yards from the hole, 210 yards out. Wow, this could change the game, not knowing at the time it would even get to the stage in my life but at the same time like this is definitely a different way to play that could do something.
Q. What kind of reaction have you gotten, playing with Rory, Jordan, lots of guys now?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Everybody is an individual. I hope what I can get to the world look, I play the game my way. As Arnie said, "Swing your swing."
Everybody has their own characteristics, their other efficiencies of motion based on their body types. It's not going to be solely dependent upon what I truly believe how I should swing it. Depends on the person at hand.
That's why I think the Golfing Machine is so great. It allows for every and any type of motion. Most people don't understand about that book. It's frustrating because they'll tell us, "Bryson, nobody can change like that." Yes, I understand. That's the whole reason why I'm doing this so I can show everybody it's based on your own body type.
You've got to understand that. If you don't understand that you truly don't understand what can be best for each individual. That's the difficulty that I've tried to hopefully shine light on. I hope I will down the road.
Q. I was hoping to see if you could talk a little bit about what life as a traveling amateur is, carrying that A next to your name in all the tournaments is kind of a different look to the world in terms of playing golf.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I definitely have a lot more expenses. I can tell you that (laughter). No, it's fun. It really is still an honor to be an amateur and play in these tournaments and guys going up and saying, "Hey, look you're not taking my money. Go play as good as you want."
Lee McCoy finishing 4th last week was obviously incredible. It's a testament to the game, the amateur game of golf and collegiants out there that gap is becoming smaller and smaller. It's awesome to see.
Just fuels the fire for all of us out there. I love it. I encourage these guys and I hope that guys like Maverick and Lee can keep doing that. That's what's great for the game.
It's something different than just a stock professional going out there and playing well, you know. Pretty encouraging.
Q. Going back to your swing, are you the kind of kid that always asked a lot of questions?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah. Most people say I'm the smart scientist and I don't know if I'm truly that. I'm more of a good experimenter. When I was young I always loved to tinker with things and playing with Legos and all this different stuff and building things.
Again, when it came down to it, I liked to try things. I wasn't afraid to fail. In fact, most people think that failure is a negative term. I believe personally it's more of a positive term.
I think that from failure you can learn so much more than you ever could from success. The only reason why people have success or we classify them as having success is because there are other people that, unfortunately, fail. But, in that process, you can learn so much more, I believe.
There's not everybody just goes and has success immediately. At some stage they're going to have some failure. It's the people who can learn from their failures quickly is what attains success.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: More in golf terms, yeah, I took a set and messed it up and saw if it worked. It did. Made them all the same length.
Q. Secondly, this might be a little bit on the dumb end of things, you played Augusta for the first time when?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I think like December 13th, 14th.
Q. When you go play Augusta, who do you pick up and call and is that weird to be calling Augusta National to play?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, I would say it's a little different. I have some people that have helped me create contacts, a couple that had golf professionals that are there and we've made some contact and I've talked to them.
It's a long story but to keep it short and simple, it's interesting. You call up Augusta National, "How are you doing?" "Oh, you're Bryson. Great to hear from you. Thanks for calling."
For other people it's obviously a little different. But, at the same time, it's pretty sweet. Lifelong dream of mine that I never thought would happen this soon and it is so amazing.
I play by myself with a caddy and obviously my guest who is Mike Schy. A pretty cool moment driving down Magnolia Lane. Guest can only walk and look around.
But, at the same time, it was fun driving down Magnolia Lane with him. It was a teary-eyed moment I could say, special moment I'll never forget.
Q. With 6 to 7 months to prepare for Augusta, what have you done as far as talking to Tour players or Masters Champions, watching videos, what are some things you've tried to learn?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Haven't played the video game yet. Probably something I should do.
Q. Have you built one yet?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: No, I'm a physics guy, not a coding guy. I could find somebody that can do that. No. I've actually talked to a couple people.
Phil Mickelson was nice enough to give me some great advice, you want to be well rested for Thursday, and talked to Ben Crenshaw a little bit now, he was nice enough to take my call and hopefully we'll play on Sunday. We'll see. Never know -- the Sunday before, obviously.
No. There's been a couple other people that have been really nice say, "Hey, look, it's a golf tournament. Yes, it is Augusta, and enjoy it and go do your best."
Q. Did you dig through any Dr. MacKenzie books or anything like that?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah.
Q. Eight visits or 8 rounds you played at Augusta?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Eight rounds.
Q. Bryson, correct me if I'm wrong on the clubs, the shaft as it gets shorter through the bag is about 7 gram difference in weight like from the 8 -- 6 to the 7, 7 to the 8 normally?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Normally, yeah, somewhere around there.
Q. How do you account mainly for the difference in the weight, the fact they all kind of weigh the same?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Kind of the secret.
Q. Was that the biggest thing to ever come, the shafts were the same length or all of them were the same weight?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: It's pretty simple, at least from my perspective. Kind of a physics major, obviously. I knew that F equal MA, mass and acceleration. Those two can be exchanged in relatively equal terms when swung at a relatively low velocity, like compared to other things in this world. Only about 90 miles an hour, 85 miles an hour, which is relatively slow.
I kind of understood that if I was to swing one inch shorter, you know, in length, that the head weight would need to be probably about 10 to 11 grams heavier could correlate to equal about the same force.
That's just kind of an experiment we did and figured that to be true when we went through the process of building these irons and it's worked so far.
There's a correlation there and you can exchange those two variables to create the same amount of force.
Q. The one --
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: They're all 37 1/2 inches. A pitching wedge head you have to increase it, you know, 18 to 20 grams or something around there. I'm not exactly sure. I know they're all the same weight.
Q. With all the people that have talked to you about those clubs, do you have any indication that there might be a lot of interest in the market for clubs the same length?
Have you talked with manufacturer yourself about that?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, that's an ongoing discussion that I'll keep for another time on that one. There's something in the works.
Q. Bryson, from the time you unveiled these irons until today, how much has the reaction that you've gotten from people on courses, on driving ranges changed?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, first off, back in 2011 when I brought them out to my first tournament and kind of showed a couple people, "This dude is crazy. He's a nut job. He's got no chance, you know."
That's obviously changed over the years and people still thought that I was this unique individual that was completely different, had his own way, obviously, but wasn't until I won the NCAA and US Amateur people went, "Oh, wow, this actually might work and it might work for the public as well."
Q. So, Bryson, in other words, people are traditionalists until they see it works and then that can change?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Exactly. Look at Thomas Edison. Took him a long time to figure out to make the light bulb work and, you know, one of his famous quotes was that it took him 10,000 tries to figure out one way to make the light bulb work but he found 2,000 ways it didn't work.
And through that -- through those failures, right, it's allowed him to find success in one way. It's a bit as you're going through this journey you're starting to understand what doesn't work so that you know what does work, I guess.
Q. Bryson, Jason Day mentioned earlier today that whether it's a player like yourself or Lee McCoy or John Raum or Jordan Spieth, a couple years ago you guys are coming out with no fear now and you aren't afraid to contend.
Do you agree with that and why do you believe that that mindset exists?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I don't know if it's at least for me it's not fear. Maybe it is for some other players but seeing other guys -- well, here is a example: For example, Derek Ernst, same home town, same high school, four years ahead of me.
Went out and won when I was a freshman at SMU there. That inspired me to know that I could do it out there. That day, once he won at the Wells Fargo I said, "I can do this."
So there are times like that where you see these guys that are just a little older than you winning and you see Jordan Spieth, Lee McCoy now, even Beau Hossler in the U.S. Open leading, that was inspiring to me because I knew it could be possible.
It's been kind of a journey for all these amateurs getting up and it's an accumulation of all these amateurs playing well that gives all of us confidence.
Q. Is there any thought that the SMU situation has turned into a blessing for you or a good thing in a way as tough as that was?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: You're the first person to say it's actually been a good thing. That's awesome. Thank you. I appreciate that.
I seriously believe that it was a blessing in disguise. Again, you know, it's unfortunate for the guys on the team, the seniors there. I feel bad for them, Austin Smotherman and Ryan Burgess, Maxime, who red shirted this year. It's disappointing for doing that.
I respect for the NCAA for what they did and what they are trying to do. I get it. Again, it was a blessing in disguise for me. I had two paths and made it real sort of clear. It wasn't the ultimate reason, I can tell the you that, but it definitely helped push me in a certain direction.
Q. So you've kind of talked a lot about your swing and your game getting back to this being Arnold Palmer's tournament and everything here, what is one trait you wish you could take from his game?
What one skill if you you're making a video game character you could take from this game?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I don't know if it's necessarily personality trait or characteristic but I would love to have his signature. I mean I think that is one of the biggest things I learned from seeing Arnold Palmer up in Latrobe is that he said, "Make your signature legible."
I've done it ever since. It will happen for the rest of the my life. Even though it's a long name, I'm going to take that time to make everybody feel special.
MARK WILLIAMS: Bryson, thank you. It's been extremely educational for all of us.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports