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July 16, 2017
THE MODERATOR: So we'll go ahead and get started. Like to welcome the 2017 John Deere Classic champion, Bryson DeChambeau here to the interview room, where you're collecting your first win on the at PGA TOUR.
Bryson, a little bit about finally getting that first win.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, feels like it's been a long time coming, even though I'm 23. It's pretty special to win here at the John Deere. Didn't know Payne Stewart's first win was here, and that broke me. God bless him. He's done some amazing things for the game of golf, and I hope I can do something similar down the road.
But thanks to Clair Peterson as well, tournament director. He's done an incredible job. I was here in 2015 on a sponsor's invite. Sp thank you to him for that.
Thank you to John Deere for what they do sponsoring this event every single year. They do an incredible job. But it's pretty special to win here. I've always loved the golf course first time I saw it, and then coming this year I was really excited because I was hitting the ball really well. Just needed a couple putts to fall.
THE MODERATOR: Looking ahead to the rest of the season, we are five weeks away from the FedExCup Playoffs. You move to 34th in the standings. Great position to head towards that TOUR Championship.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Shoot, I was just hoping to make it to next year. I wasn't playing my best, but that's really what I was kind of hoping to do. I knew that I was playing really well, and I was fortunate enough to come out with the win this week.
That kind of helps the standing in the FedExCup.
THE MODERATOR: Excellent. We will go ahead and take questions.
Q. On Saturday you told me when I asked if it's hard being patient that you thought you would be killing it out here by now. I guess now you are.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I guess you could say so. I only won by 1. Patrick is a great competitor. I've played a lot of golf with him in college. Quite a bit. He's beaten me a couple times. He's a great competitor.
I was kind of shocked to see he bogeyed 17. I thought I was going to be in a playoff making that putt, but it was enough. Fortunate enough to win here.
Q. Just want to get to I guess the patience you've had to show given all the young guns winning and whatnot.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Right. Yeah, absolutely. I think that Jordan set tone quite a bit for us, and I expected to -- especially after winning the 2015 NCAAs and U.S. Amateur in the same year, I was kind of on a high from that and was playing incredible golf.
Went into a bit of a low - a lull as well - trying to understand my golf swing a little bit more and was messing around with some things.
Unfortunately took me off track, but I realized quickly what I needed to do to get back on track. I was able to right the ship about three, four weeks ago, it's been Steady Eddie ever since.
Q. We don't see a lot of people take the pin on on 18, especially on Sunday...
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, I wasn't trying to, either. (Laughter.) No.
Q. What did you hit and explain the shot.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, we'd been struggling with that hole all week. Tim, my caddie, just it's been a tough one for us. We didn't know to hit driver or 3-wood and try and roll it out there as far as possible. Driver cost me a couple shots during the week.
But we finally just said, Hey, we're just going to lay back; hit 3-wood. You're a great iron player. 7-iron is your favorite club, right? They're all 7-iron length, so I said, Why not do that and just hit it close?
I was able to take a pretty aggressive line, but I knew if I pulled a little bit it wouldn't go in the water because the wind. So I pulled it just a little bit and pulled it enough to get it close. Then I was able to sink it.
It was not really planned, but it's something that you err in the right side for. Sometimes that dispersion allows for you to get it close if you miss it, if you err.
Q. What iron did you hit in?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: 7-iron. Yeah, my 7 irons.
Q. Are you packed for the British?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I hope so. My agent is helping me out with that. I don't know. I hope so. I don't know yet. Haven't gotten that far.
Q. How exciting is it to know you're going over there?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Pretty special. I've been wanting to go for a long time. When I won the U.S. Amateur I thought I was going, until I turned professional, and that kind of thwarted it a little bit.
I knew I would be back. I knew I would definitely be back. It's pretty special to play in an Open Championship, the home of golf pretty much, where golf started in that area. It's pretty special to have that first time.
Q. Start of the day saw you over at No. 1 with Mr. Peterson having a nice conversation. Seemed very relaxed. What was the mindset going into today?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I needed to take it deep; needed to shoot 7-, 8-under. I was confident with my golf game. I knew that I was comfortable hitting every kind of shot out here. It was just a matter of if I could hit it under the pressure. That's all it was. If I could do hit it under the pressure, I could execute and play well.
But there were a couple holes, like on, what was it, 5, where I thought I hit a really good shot and the wind kind of came up. And so things kind of weren't going my way in the initial part of the round, but I knew if I just kept plugging along the tide would eventually turn.
Q. This tournament has a history with sponsor exemptions, first time winners, young guys getting their jumpstarts here. What does it mean to you to have this tie with this tournament now?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, that's incredible. I'll be forever in gratitude to the tournament and the tournament director, Mr. Clair Peterson. He's done some great stuff in the past few years with Jordan and a few others.
Pretty special to have my first win to be here, and it's many thanks to him.
Q. You heard the gallery out there. You were on the driving range. You know one guy is going to the Open Championship and one guy is going to Barbasol. What are your thoughts about...
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: It's weird. I mean, to think about -- I think the most difficult aspect is not knowing what the other player is doing or even what you're going to do that night. It's definitely an interesting little dynamic.
I think that I did all I could do, and so the rest is in fate's hands. I had no control of it. It's definitely a weird situation.
Q. Some have called you the man scientists; others have called you a genius. Is this vindication?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yes, it is vindication I think. It's definitely nice to have me win under such conditions. There has been a lot of talk. I had somebody say, Go back and get your old clubs or whatever. This week out here there was somebody that said that.
Happens every week. I just throw it to the side and say, Don't even worry about it. You're going down the road you've chosen and you're comfortable with it, and you know it's going to in the end be the right thing.
Q. Can you just briefly explain why you do what you do?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, I try and make a very complex variablistic game and try to understand it, to understand every single variable in this whole game of golf.
It's very, very difficult. But as time goes on, the more you can understand the variables the more consistent you can become just by understanding them. That's what we've tried to accomplish. It's a very difficult thing to do, and not very many people -- I think the closest anybody ever came was Tiger. Tiger was closest to understanding every situation to everything in the game of golf.
I look at him as kind of a hero for that. He was the closest to ever come. He probably did it for quite a while. He figured it out, how to hit certain wedge shots into certain flags with a certain spin, certain trajectory. He just knew it. He could do it with his hands. He trained his hands. It was unbelievable.
I've always wanted to try and accomplish that, but I just go about it in a very methodical, scientific method research kind of a way, right? I was a physics major in college, and I just kind of understood how to do the scientific method and understand what I need to accomplish out there in order to get all those variables watched.
Q. To follow on that, was there anything about your theorem tested when you were missing the eight cuts in a row?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, it was missing ten, I think, by the way. (Laughter.) Who's counting, right? Nobody.
No, I think that -- well, I just lost the question. Say it again.
Q. Were you doubting yourself?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, absolutely. It was more of trial and error, right? I was going through a process of understanding what is the most efficient way to hit the golf ball, to putt, for me, right, based on how I feel and how comfortable I am as well.
There is that aspect as well. You can't just say based on everybody that you can do the same thing throughout the whole field. Not everybody is going to have the same type of feelings or whatnot out there. You got to kind of tailor to what the player is comfortable with.
What I was able to do is say, All right, I'm going to test this and see if it works. It was going more into a longer swing, trying to hit it harder and farther and maybe I could time it out, and just didn't work for me.
So finally backed off that about four weeks ago and said, Look, just go back to what you were doing in college. You did pretty well. Let's see what it goes from there. Maybe I can understand a little bit more of what I was doing and why I played so well because of it.
And through that little transition I gained immediate confidence back and I was able to perform nicely through the last four weeks and get the win this week.
Q. Is it the swing you had at Olympia?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Right, right.
Q. You kind of had an emotional moment out at the 18th green and talked about the Payne Stewart connection and him winning his first tournament here in the Quad Cities. Can you tell us in history when did you start following Payne, kind of what made you a fan of him?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, so I always knew about Payne Stewart. I heard about when he died in the plane crash. My parents told me. It was kind of disappointing. I didn't really understand it at the time. I was only like six or seven at the time.
It still struck me. I'm like, Man, somebody passed away in golf. It was obviously not a great thing. So when I was looking at colleges, I had no idea that SMU was Payne Stewart's alma mater. I just didn't know that.
When I actually got on campus I saw a picture of Payne Stewart and I'm like, Payne Stewart went here? Right then it hit me and sent chills down my spine, because I always wore the hat. It was for Hogan originally.
And then knowing that that was probably where I was going to go definitely sent chills down my spine. I said, This is the place that I got to go. I just got to follow in his footsteps.
And then I didn't even know that his first win was here. I didn't know that. When they told me about it or when they explained it out there, it broke me.
Q. How much of a rhythm did you get into on that back nine? Was there something triggered that initially?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I blacked out. Honestly, I don't really know what happened. Look, I was hitting great shots. I knew it on front nine. I just had to stick to the process and maybe run a couple putts in.
Wasn't making very many on the front nine. Just barely missing edges, barely misreading putts. I was still striking it well. I knew if I just kept doing it the tide would eventually turn.
Then making that little 6-footer at 10 was kind of a little momentum boost.
Then went into a divot on 11. I'm like, Man, come on. I got to get something going for me. So I hit the shot out of the divot. It was a great shot to 15 feet, and I sunk it again.
I'm like, Okay, we're moving in the right direction now. From that it was a little bit of momentum, and it allowed me to push forward and make some key nine-foot putts, ten-foot putts coming in.
Q. How good was the second on 17?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Oh, my! That was actually a tougher putt than 18. I don't know if anybody realized that, but that little first putt, if you hit it three feet by it is off the green.
Coming from my angle from 40 feet it was very, very difficult. I was a little tedious with it and left it three feet short. That second putt wasn't easy, but I stuck to my process. I read it, made sure I had all the right slopes, percentages of slopes and distance and angles and whatnot, and I just executed the putt and it went right in the middle.
I was like, Sweet. Huge.
Then I did what I did on 18.
Q. Payne Stewart was a bit of an iconoclast. He did things differently.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Absolutely. I love the way he looked out there. I was hoping to do some plus 4s on tour; I just didn't want to do it too early and have people go, Who is this guy? Why is he wearing these things out here? In due time I think that'll happen in the right situation because he's done a lot for the game.
Payne is definitely meant a lot to me in my life, and hopefully I can kind of follow in his footsteps.
Q. This was first place he won in plus 4s, too.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Really? I should have worn them this week. What the heck? Come on. Next year.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Thank you.
Q. What do you want to do in this sport?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I want to make it easier for the amateurs. I think there is an easier way out there and people just haven't figured it out. I hope I'm on the right track. I really believe I am.
I think there are some cool things that I do that can help amateurs out there. People may think my golf swing really weird and funky, but I think it's one of the most consistent swings out here.
If you look at in its entirety in slow motion, there are not very many moving parts and it's pretty consistent. You can see in the past four weeks doing this motion, it's very consist. My ball striking has been great. Driving has been great. Hit 14 fairways the first day out here. It's been a benefit. I'm super confident with it. It makes it easy to repeat every single time.
So that is one of my bigger goals, is to hopefully help out the game itself and bring more people in through these new ways of playing.
Q. Talk about the back nine today:
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Blackout. Blackout.
Q. Talk about the course then and how D.A. designed this; 14 is the shortest par-4 on the course, one of the easiest holes, birdie-bogey. 17, par-5. Traditionally one of the easiest holes on the course, birdie-bogey today. Two really important holes down the stretch for and you Patrick.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Right, right. And I didn't know what he was doing. I just kept trying to stick to the process. I have always liked short par 4s. My favorite is No. 9 at Cypress. It's definitely a cool little short par-4; drivable. A lot of risk/reward in it.
I think D.A.'s done a great job with 14, as well as 17. Definitely risk/reward holes that if you execute shots well you're going to get rewarded.
That's the epitome of golf, right? Executing a shot, having it end up beautifully, even though sometimes you can get a bad break, right?
So you could hit a beautiful shot on 14 and get absolutely into the worst place possible. Like if you pull it just a little bit on 14 and get on the downslope int he rough to the short left pin you're toast.
You've got to know where to miss it on those holes. I think he's designed it very, very well.
Q. Just want to get back into the sort of vindication part. Obviously on TV we had commentators saying, Oh, he should have a different length for his wedge or this or that. There is vindication there. But were you feeling whispers among the playing group and peers, and do you think this will sort of open their eyes to say, Okay, he's the real deal?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, I don't look at it that way. The players have been great. They've always just liked kind of what I do and they've been fantastic. I think obviously there are a lot of commentators out there that have their opinions. I've got no bias towards them at all. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm not necessarily worried about that.
All I'm focused on is trying to execute the best shot I possibly can. I felt like I did a really good of that this week and was able to make a couple putts, and that's all I care about.
But it is nice. It definitely is a comfort factor to have a little bit of vindication on that. Where, Hey, it does work. It's not actually a bad way to do it.
THE MODERATOR: Bryson, congratulations. I believe you have a plane to catch.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, thanks.
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