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April 5, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. I'd like to welcome an impressive young player, Bryson DeChambeau, to Augusta National. Bryson is one of six amateurs competing this week.
He had an incredible year in 2015. He became the fifth player in history to win both the NCAA title and U.S. Amateur in the same year, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore as the only players to accomplish that feat. Bryson was also a member of the 2015 U.S. Walker Cup Team.
Before we take some questions, Bryson, congratulations and welcome to Augusta. Would you share your thoughts entering this week and what the Masters means to you?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, well, thank you for having me here. First off, it's just really an honor. I would have never thought in a million years that I'd be here this early, at age 22. But it's a special week, not only for me but for all the amateurs out there, as well. I definitely hope we all do well, as well.
But it's a fun time for me and my family that's here. Super excited and thrilled to get started Thursday.
Q. The pairings are out and you're playing with Jordan Spieth. What are your thoughts about that?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Super thrilled. Can't wait. Cannot wait.
Q. Do you know him at all?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, I do a little bit. I know Michael a little bit better, his caddie, Michael Greller. He's been super nice to me. I met him a couple years ago at the Memorial. He's been generous with me and then Jordan has been really nice, as well. Played Wednesday of the U.S. Open last year, that was a lot of fun. Got some good insight there, as well. He's a class‑act guy and he's great ambassador for the game of golf. I'm really excited.
Q. Where do you stand on the subject of whether golf is a science or an art?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It's a mesh of the two. If you can beautifully mesh the art and science of it to enhance your game, there's no downside to it.
Q. Tell us a little history on the equal‑length clubs.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, 2011 is when we started coming up with an idea. It was through Mike Schy's help, my coach. I actually went up to him and asked him, why can't the clubs be at the same length? Because I was experimenting with a one‑plane swing at the time and it was very difficult to accomplish with different length clubs. I showed it to him on video and I said, I'm going to have to change posture no matter what.
He said, okay, well, that's an easy question to ask, but a very difficult one to answer. How are we going to do that? Obviously a set done back in the '80s, and it really didn't work. With new technology nowadays, it may work, but he didn't know.
So we went out, set foot on trying to make a single‑length set. Took us two weeks to make it. It was an old set, all mangled and had a lot of metal taken off it and lead tape put on the 3‑iron, it was quite ugly looking. But it was fun.
We went out and played, I think at Dragon Fly, after three weeks, two hours of doing each head each night. On the first hole, had an 8‑iron in, 160 yards and I hit a shot close to 7‑iron length, so I said, it shouldn't be an issue. Landed right next to the hole, 160 yards out and said, okay, this works for an 8‑iron, it's really close to a 7‑iron length, so it's fine.
Went to the next hole, had 205,215 yards in, can't remember the exact distance. Took a 5‑iron out and I told Mike, this is going to be the kicker. Struck it, and it flew and kept flying, kept flying, and it flew all the way, 205 yards and I looked over at Mike and I said, this possibly could change the game. Never know.
Q. You've had a nice apprenticeship over the last couple months, playing in a lot of professional events in Europe and here. What have you taken away from these couple months to get you prepared for this week and get you prepared for obviously the week after this when you're going to go ahead and be professional yourself?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, I've gained a lot of experience. There's no doubt about that. Getting comfortable with playing different people. Playing with Rory over in Abu Dhabi and then playing with him at Bay Hill, 12‑shot swing for me, 78 to 66, so I was happy with that. Made me feel a little more comfortable.
That part of it was the biggest, not fear of mine, but concern that I've had, being able to perform with these people, these professionals out here, these great players of the game. I think I've kind of got that out the back side. So I'm ready to go and looking forward to these next few weeks and start my professional career. I think I'm ready. Kind of tried to take my rookie year out of it, and I think we've done it quite beautifully.
Q. I know this wasn't the circumstance that you hoped for, you hoped to still play for your college team, but having the time away from school and being able to concentrate on your game, how much more beneficial do you think that's ultimately been for you?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It's the only way it could have been done.
Q. You had a pretty competitive practice round today. What was it like playing with Phil, Dustin and Keegan and was money exchanged?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I'm an amateur, nothing like that(laughter). No, we didn't even talk about that. That's not a thing we were trying to accomplish. We were just trying to have a friendly match.
I will say I learned a lot from Phil and Dustin, as well as Keegan. Keegan's quiet. He's really quiet out there. Phil I think on 7, 6 or 7‑‑ yeah, 6, he made a birdie putt from like 40 feet and he goes, oh, there's Keegan, he finally showed up. So it was a funny little moment. Keegan's great.
Dustin's given me some good advice. And Phil has been helping me out. He has his little book, and he knows all the putts, the breaks and stuff. I was just trying to get little tidbits of information here and there.
But it's quite an honor to be able to play with him, and gained a lot of experience from a past champion.
Q. How many hours, days, weeks, whatever, would you say you've dedicated specifically to preparing for this tournament? And secondly, what did you get out of the conversations with Jim Nantz?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, I have played around ten times before this week. Been very, very fortunate to do that and gained a lot of experience.
I would say in preparation, I couldn't tell you an exact number, but those ten rounds definitely did help, and this week we've got a lot of great information, as well. Accumulated hours, let's see, probably 50 hours, including all the practice rounds and the days that I've played.
And then for Mr.Nantz, he's been too nice in his words to me. I'm still an amateur trying to do my best. Some words of advice, he's been nice enough to say, "Look, do your absolute best. It's a really nice golf course obviously, but it's a golf course you can go play and do your best out there, and you can do it."
Q. Just wondering about, you played the other day with Ben Crenshaw and Carl walked with you guys. How much did you get out of that?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: We're in a completely different place now than we were before I played with Mr.Crenshaw and had the chance to walk around with Carl. His knowledge and wisdom is immense.
Like Jordan did last year, he gained a lot of knowledge from him, as well, and I hope to do the same and kind of go down the same tracks as Jordan did this year.
Q. What about your expectations for this week? You've prepared hard.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yes, I don't have any expectations. I tried to lay that on the floor and say, hey, look, I'm just going to go my absolute best, that's all I can do: Whether that's making the cut, whether that's missing the cut, whether that's doing something special, all I'm going to do is my absolute best. Whatever it is, it is and I'll learn from it.
Q. How did it go in the Crow's Nest last night? And Rory snuck a few swings with your clubs earlier in the year; have other players asked if they could give it a try and what did they say once they did it?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I think DJ yesterday took a couple out and said, I couldn't do this (laughs). That's all I know at this present moment.
As regards the Crow's Nest, nobody snored last night. I was excited about that. I got some good hours of sleep. It is interesting, you hear people go to the restroom.
It's a great experience. I was sitting down, laying back, looking at this wall that was curved, angled, and I'm going, this is just like a little smaller than actually my dorm at SMU. But it was a pretty cool experience. You could kind of look outside and see out of the window, looking at a couple stars, nothing better, nothing better.
Q. First question, who were you paired with today and who ended up winning the friendly match?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, it's still going on. I have to go catch them on 16, 17. I'm going try and do that. But it was Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson and Phil.
Q. You and Phil. Can you explain in some detail your fascination, for lack of a better word, with Bobby Jones, and the whole amateur thing and potential of, as you said, doing something special here?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, I tried to learn as much as possible about Mr.Jones, and I've probably forgotten more than I know right now. But at the same time, his spirit is still here, and it's quite an honor to get to experience that here.
The Amateur dinner last night was an incredible one. I had the fortune to speak on behalf of all the amateurs, and I was looking at a little photo they had on the dinner menu and you could see space with his four trophies there. He was smiling and I said one thing to the guys, is that he's smiling upon this room right now, because he is an amateur and he thoroughly enjoyed being an amateur, and he was truly about that spirt of amateurism.
I can't give enough thanks to Mr.Jones for what he's done to this golf club and to the golfing world, and it really is an honor to be able to play as an amateur out here.
Some of the stories, I've got to think a little bit about the things that I've heard. Might get back to you on that, some of the knowledge. I would say that, again, he's done some incredible things for the golfing world, and it's just, again, an honor to be a part of it.
Q. Earlier this morning, Jason Day, world No. 1, Major Champion was in this room talking about playing here a few years ago when he was at a real low, and he said he was starting the bus across the road, saying this could be his last Masters. He was talking about quitting the game, and he was really quite open about it and it was quite an insight into the highs and lows that a professional golfer experiences. This is going to be your world soon. What are your thoughts on what he had to say and what that experience might be like?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: What do you mean in regards to that? I'm not certain what you're asking.
Q. He was very open and honest about how this can be a great game and also a difficult game that drives you to distraction, especially when you're a professional and there's so much pressure on you?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, it drove me to madness a couple years ago, but I realized golf isn't the ultimate thing in my life. Somebody up there is more important to me now.
But at the same time, you've got to prioritize and understand that it is just a game. Again, you want to do your best. You want to perform at the highest level. But if you can't do that, it's still an opportunity to show others your grace and your character out there no matter what you do. Even when you see somebody hit a bad shot and they are still okay, it's cool to see that and if you can do that, you're really, truly accomplishing what the game of golf is.
Q. What is your most vivid memory from winning at Olympia Fields last summer?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: My most vivid memory. So semifinal match, I was playing Sean Crocker, and last hole, 15th hole, we played, I was 4‑up, had a wedge shot in. They moved the tees all the way up, great hole, small, this was a 120‑shot or something like that, hit a full 50 degree right to the middle. Pin was tucked to the right, hit it right to the middle, spun back a little bit, had a 24‑footer. Sean hits his up there about actually three feet and it spun back all the way off the green, about 35 feet away from the hole. He putted up there to about a foot and I gave it to him.
At that present moment, when I gave that putt to him, I said to myself, "I have two putts to go to the Masters." That was the first time I had realized that all week, and it was actually a reality right then and there.
But the funny part about is that I walked around the hole, read the putt. I hit the putt and it was a foot and a half short. Went up and marked it. Sean did not give that to me (laughter). I handed my ball again over to Mike Schy, my caddie at the time, and he cleaned it for whatever reason. There was really no need, just on the second putt.
Anyway, placed the ball back down and I looked over and said, What do you think? It's a 1 1/2‑foot putt, it's breaking a little bit right. At that present time, he said, I realize that 1 1/2‑footer was to go to the Masters. He got a little shy and nervous there. But he looked at me and just, left center, out of pure nerves. But I set that putt down and I knocked it right in the hole.
And the first thing that he came up to me and said after we had embraced, didn't say congratulations, good job, nothing like that. He just said, "We're broke for another year. Nice job, but we're broke for another year." Thanks, Mike, I really appreciate that.
Q. We ran into David on the course today. He said he had a fitting when you were 11?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I was 11 or 12, in the garage on a piece of Astroturf. He was fitting four or five other guys and that was the first time I got to meet David. Mike always talked about how great he was. Got up there, fit me, and I was so excited because I had saved up like $300 from all my allowance, I guess, to get this putter. And I finally had the opportunity to get it and I was so excited because before that, I switched putters every single day, because I just didn't know what worked.
And finally, Mike said, Hey, you've got to get fit. David is the best guy in the world. He's coming in, he's going to fit us. I was so excited, saved up all my money, got that putter. The first round of 35 with his variable weighting system and still have that putter. Not using it. See it a little bit different now, but still have that putter.
Q. Do you realize you did better than Bob Jones did at Olympia Fields?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, was it 28? That's right. His last namestarts with F ‑‑ Johnny Farrell.
Q. How does that make you feel?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, he's won the Grand Slam, so I'm still creeping up, trying to win a professional event. So he won a couple more than me so far.
Q. You're a talented guy and you work really hard. Do you think you would be where you are had you not gone to this club system and had you not acquired the swing?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Absolutely, I don't think that I would be in the same place as I am today. I believe I've gotten here for a reason and that reason is because I believe in what I do.
Had I not done it, I might not have believed as much in what I did, compared to what I do now. And that's partly the reason why I'm here.
Q. And to follow that, you said this could change the game. There's a lot of technology out there now that doesn't follow what you've done, and people who have been playing for decades. Golf changes glacially, very, very slowly. How long do you think it would take for the game to be influenced by what you've experienced?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It would take me playing really well. If I play well next year, guarantee you a lot of people would want to try it, want to do it. One of the main reasons is for people with bad backs, they have back problems. The issue comes about because you're changing positions every single time you go to a different club, barely, but enough to make a difference. And when that happens, you start moving your muscles in a different way, fractionally, but your muscles have acquired or have, I guess, molded to be comfortable with a certain position.
That's why people have favorite clubs, like my 7‑iron is my favorite club. That's why I perform really well with it. That's why I built my whole set around that.
When they start changing‑‑ I had a guy I played with in a Pro‑Am at Bay Hill Monday, and he went over to hit a wedge shot on the 12th hole, doesn't play golf very much and his back gave out. He was like, I don't like wedges very much, not a great wedge player, but I like this 8 or 7‑iron. I said, yeah, that's probably the reason because you're bending over and your body is not accustomed to that motion, that angle. So if you can build a set, a length around what's most efficient for your body, I think it could be very beneficial to the player at hand.
Q. With a player like you who is constantly perhaps not thinking about the hole but also the game and the various techniques, is it a bigger challenge to be a caddie? What does Mike think about that?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, Mike isn't here this week but because we were always working in the same area, he never had an issue with it. There was no problem on that end of the stick. We would always be talking about what was best for my game and we would go along with it.
The guy that's caddying for me this week, Drew, has had to learn a little bit about what I do. It's not that difficult, and I have different names for all my golf clubs. Just got to memorize all nine clubs and you're all good to go.
Q. You said the game drove to you madness. When was that?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: 2014, and the Trans‑Miss at Southern Hills. That's a long story.
Q. Can you give an abridged version?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: There's not. Unfortunately not. That's one that I've told in a couple of press conferences, I guess newspapers, everyone once in awhile. But it's a long one and it was a long journey that's led me to where I am now. And I'll never go back to that place. That's a place that I'll never see again.
Q. Let me get back to Bob Jones for a second. You know the clubs he won his Grand Slam were modified so several of the irons were the same length. Did you know that?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: (Nodding head).
Q. Did you ever read about his intentions?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Never heard anything. I went into the trophy room my first time here, have some breakfast and I looked over. As I went in, I looked to the left and I saw this set of golf clubs and I knew that they were Mr.Jones because they all looked relatively the same length, and it was a pretty special moment. Because we'd always heard that story, never verified it. But when I actually got to go up to that case and I looked in, I went, oh my goodness, they all look really close to the same length.
It inspired me even more. It was gratifying to our journey.
Q. What are the name of your clubs?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: So 1960, who won the Masters? So King is on that wedge.
Now I am using Cobra wedges this week, but on the 60‑degree, it's King.
55, it was Mr.Ward, Harvey Ward, low Am, 1955, U.S. Amateur winner, too.
1950, 50‑degree, Jimmy Demaret, won in 1950, so I call him Jimmy. Kind of funny when you ask, hey, give me the Jimmy.
46‑degree, 1946, Herman Keiser.
Jackie is my 9‑iron, No.42, 42‑degree lofted club.
38‑degree is the 8‑ball, 8‑iron, correlates quite nicely.
34‑degree, three plus four is seven, okay, and it has Tin Cup written on it, because that was Tin Cup's favorite club.
6‑iron, Juniper, it's the sixth hole at Augusta, 6‑iron.
Then 5‑iron is my favorite par 5 out here, Azalea.
Then you've got Gamma, which is the third letter in the Greek alphabet, 3‑iron and it's 20 degrees of loft.
Haven't gotten to the woods yet. I'll get to those eventually.
Q. What's your relationship with Jordan Spieth and how many times have you played with him and what do you think of your pairing?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: We're friendly. I wouldn't say we are best friends or anything. He's been super nice to me and he's been gracious at giving his time, and messes with me every once in awhile. Been really nice and gained a little bit of experience. I've learned how he's gone about doing certain things in certain situations. So it's great to kind of get that experience, see how he reacts to certain people when somebody says something to him. Just those kind of things, I've learned a great deal there.
Q. How has he messed with you?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: John Deere, he came up and was like standing right next to me. I didn't even know he was there and I turned around, and he was right behind me, literally a couple feet, just kind of messing with me and saying some stuff. I don't remember what he said, but he was throwing me some nudges every once in awhile. I can't remember everything.
Q. Do you like being paired with him?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, absolutely. I get to mess with him, too.
Q. Going back to your preparation, when did you first get here for this week? And secondly, when is your first time here ever?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: First time here was middle of the December, I think 13th or 14th, 15th, something around then. Then I got here this past Saturday and I started preparing.
Q. Was there a person or persons who helped you out of this madness period from 2014, spiritual element to it?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, it was Mike Schy, my coach. He's a second dad to me. He's my spiritual guidance. He's everything, and my coach, my golf coach, as well.
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to your first Masters. We wish you all the best.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports