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September 19, 2018
MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome Bryson DeChambeau into the interview room at the TOUR Championship. Bryson, you come in here ranked No. 1 in the FedExCup after a couple of victories in the first two playoff events. What's it like coming in here? Obviously it's your first time here at the TOUR Championship, but what's it like coming in here essentially with that target on your back?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Look, it's an honor to be here at East Lake. First TOUR Championship, and it's been a long season, and I'm glad that I've been able to play as well as I've played. And to come in here No. 1 is a pretty special spot. You've got obviously five other guys that could win it outright, and so your goal is still just to go out and win this event, and that's what I'm going to try and do.
MARK WILLIAMS: You turned 25 on Sunday, you've won a couple of events in the Playoffs. You've been a captain's pick in the Ryder Cup. How do you manage all of that? That must have been a hectic month for you.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: It's been a crazy month, especially getting a house, as well. So add that to the list.
But it's been a lot of fun. I've tried to take it in stride and do what I can in every situation the best I can, outside of golf, and all I can do is take it in stride. Just trying to prioritize and give myself time to recover, as well. That's been a big thing. Last week was difficult. I had to do a bunch of things, even though it was my week off last week. I was getting the house ready and going to Denver to get my body right and all those things. So it's a bit of a process still, even though you have a week off.
Q. Can you maybe discuss the origins of your water-spraying drill and how that simulates morning dew? And then the second question is: How do you think East Lake suits your game given that you're eighth this year in strokes gained tee to green, and a lot of the holes at East Lake are narrow and require you to hit the ball in the fairway?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, well, the first question, it really wasn't too much -- people could say it was a simulation of dew. It's more of a simulation of moisture, and so we're just doing testing on that. Obviously, last week at Aronimink it was wet conditions, and a couple weeks ago I didn't play very well -- as well. I didn't control the ball. My proximity of the hole wasn't as good. So we're trying to figure out what is happening in those situations. That's where you saw some of the guys at Bridgestone and Cobra were up there trying to figure it out.
And then the second question, how the course suits my game? I like it. It's a ball striker's golf course for sure, and there's a lot of intimidating tee shots. If you can get past that and execute shots to the standards that, for me, I know I can, I'm going to have a very, very good week. But if I get up there and focus on fairways and greens and making sure that I hit it there, again, the rest is going to right itself.
Q. How did the trip to Denver go, and what did you accomplish there?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, it was great. Went and saw Greg Roskopf, and MAT -- muscle activation techniques -- it's been great. He's been a big key to sustaining -- even in my short time out here, sustaining my career. It's not like college where we play once a month. I'm playing every week. So for me to be able to transition over to the PGA TOUR smoothly with his help has been great. So kudos to him and his team there. Yeah, it went well. Went really well.
Q. Any special plans for an in-home practice facility?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I'll have an indoor simulator with HD golf. They're taking care of me, and we're going to have something really nice and special in there. Yeah, and I'm not going to give the rest out.
Q. Tiger was in here earlier and spoke really well of you --
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Thank you, Tiger.
Q. Why do you think you guys have clicked?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I don't know that answer, but what I can tell you is that it's always fun picking his brain a little bit. And every once in a while he tells me, dude, what are you doing? I'm just like, I'm trying to get better, man, I'm trying to short-change that learning curve. He was able to come out here and have a lot of success early, and so many people are so good now that I felt like there was this gap that needed to be learned in order to be one of the best out here. And so I'm trying to short-change that learning process, of all the variables and understanding all the conditions.
Q. So many people have trouble seeing him as just another guy. Even with how well you now know him, do you have these moments of oh, my gosh, I'm playing a practice round with Tiger?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: He's not just another guy. I mean, he's Tiger Woods. So I respect him. I have the highest respect for him. And then when it comes to the golf course, at the end of the day, we're all trying to just go beat each other, right? But at the same point in time, it's always fun to learn a little bit from him and maybe throw some ideas at him that he's like, whoa, that's a little different. So it's fun to kind of go back and forth. He's been fantastic to me, and I can't thank him enough for being as nice as he has.
Q. Tiger was here this morning, and he said the reason of success for you is the ability to think outside the box and hard work. Are you that way always or has the game of golf made you that way?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, I was never that special growing up in regards to the talent that I had. I always worked really good. I was a good junior golfer, but I always felt like I wasn't the best growing up, and so I always had to find other ways to get a little bit better. I could practice for 10 hours and barely get better just by practicing. And so I was trying to always find a little edge on the competition in other ways, whether it was understanding elevation changes or whatever it was back in the day. And so I'd always kind of thought outside the box and tried to make my golf swing easier and simpler. It's paid off a little bit here and there, and it's finally started to pay off more and more as we've started to understand the conditions at hand.
Q. Would you rather start this week with a two-shot lead over Justin Rose or be in the situation you're in now --
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Be in the situation that I'm in.
Q. Can you explain why?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, I think if you go out and bogey the first hole and the guy in second birdies the first hole, you're back to level par. You're playing the rest out. And so, you know, I think that it's an interesting play. I get it. I get the drama aspect of it, and I understand that. You know, for me in a perfect world, I think the FedExCup points should be relative to the amount of strokes you have on the field. So you set up like -- I don't know what it would equate out to, but a certain amount of FedExCup points would give you a shot -- and so you play it out that way. Because if you played really well throughout the season, won six, seven times, you kind of deserve to have that lead going in because you played that well, you deserve that. But at the same point in time, I understand the drama piece, as well.
Q. Just picking up on your previous answer, you're known for doing things a little differently, and many of us are fascinated by that. How would you describe yourself as a person, as a golfer, and your approach to the game and the methods behind it?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, I'm very fascinated with trying to figure out all the variables in the game of golf. I've thought about it, and the only two factors that I will never understand to the fullest amount are wind, and the other one is the conditions of the green at hand. You just can't control that.
And so it's always -- it's a quest for me just to try and understand every single variable outside of those two, to try and help get my proximities closer to the hole. That's really all I'm trying to do. It's a joy. That's what I thrive on. Growing up, I was always about how do I make my life better in every single way, whatever it was.
Q. I mean this question in a nice way, but what's special about the house that you purchased? And what sort of place have you set aside for these four PGA trophies that you've won so far in your career?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, the house is, I believe, a good investment, first off; and secondly, I think this is going to be a great home base for me, something where -- a place I can go back to and say, man, I can sit and relax and enjoy my time here. Last place I was at was great, but it was really small, and I had a small little bedroom, and that's where I lived for a year. Even though I wasn't there, but it's going to be nice to say, hey, I have a place to come home to.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I do have one, but it's off to the side. I'm not really going to show that one off too much because my joy comes from the internal knowledge that I gain out here on the golf course. That's what I really enjoy.
Q. You just talked about the knowledge you got from feedback from the golf course when you play. Do you acquire knowledge from unknown sources or imagination, like playing golf on the moon or Mars, whatever?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: No, no, no. I'm not -- I don't go that distance because I don't know how that all plays out. I'm more on the Newtonian mechanics scale, so the stuff that we can see and feel and touch and understand that way. I don't even know how to answer that.
Q. Really sorry to dumb this down, but what's your idea of a perfect day off?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: A perfect day off? That's a great question because I don't know what it is. I don't really take days off. My brain doesn't let me. I am trying to recover better. So the one thing I can say is doing a lot of brain work and trying to get myself into a more parasympathetic state and relaxing and being more comfortable, because you can still be sitting down like this and be stressed. So I can go try and relax and rest and still be stressed. It's just the way your brain is, sometimes works. And for mine it's always usually stressed. So doing a little bit of that, and probably sitting at home and watching some movies and eating some popcorn and trying to think about other things.
Q. Let me rephrase that. What's the best vacation you've ever taken?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: The best vacation I've ever taken. Well, I can say that down in the Bahamas in Albany, I think it was the middle of this year with a couple of buddies of mine for a week. We were down there and we just had a blast, going and playing a little bit of golf, going swimming with the sharks, spear fishing, and then having nice dinners. I mean, that's really something that I enjoy. And working out. Working out is really fun, too, for me, if it's in the right setting at the right time of year. It can be a stress reliever in a nice way.
Q. Two years ago when you turned professional at Hilton Head, did you hope for this kind of success?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah.
Q. Did you believe at that time you would get it?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: At that time I finished fourth after the RBC Heritage Classic, my first TOUR event as a professional, and I thought, wow, this is easy. This is not difficult at all. And then, lo and behold, I struggled for the next year and a half in the sense -- a year, I'd say. And it was eye-opening to me because even though I'd played well, I knew I could do it, but I didn't know all the stuff that I know now to help me be consistent. I had to go through that year-and-a-half-, two-year learning process to figure out all these external variables that affect how you play.
And I can't name -- there's more than I can count on my hands right now. I'll give you five -- how about I give you two, three? I mean, one of them would be patience, realizing it's a process and becoming more patient on the course and in life in general. And then two, another big one for me was having the right caddie on the bag. That was something that helped me become a better person, a better player, as well.
Q. I know you have big business this week with the FedExCup, but I'm sure you must find yourself at times drifting off thinking a little bit about Paris as much as you're looking forward to that. There's talk you might pair with Tiger. What do you look forward to most heading over to France?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, it's going to be my first time, and I'm fortunate enough to have a little bit of experience playing overseas in these team events. I played in the Walker Cup, Royal Lytham St. Anne's, so I've got a little bit of experience playing overseas, and I played well over there, too. What I'm looking forward to most is the team atmosphere. I remember that at the Walker Cup, and that was like nothing else, and I know it'll live up to the same standard. Maybe even better, too. So a lot of ping-pong going on over there, I know that for me. I just actually bought a ping-pong paddle last night, another new one. I needed a new rubber, so...
Q. Are you kind of anticipating the pairing with Tiger?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: We've talked a little bit about it, and we're still working through the process of what we're going to do to put the best four teams out there every day, every match, every time we go out. That's really what it's about, whether it's me with somebody else or with him or whatever, I'm always about what's going to be best for the team. It's not about me at the end of the day or Tiger, it's about us collectively as a group getting the job done. Don't necessarily know that yet, but looking forward to seeing what we can do over there and what teams would match up best.
Q. Will you bring your own paddle to Paris, and do you know if other guys will?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Oh, yeah, I'm bringing my own paddle to Paris, yeah. I've got to beat the heck out of these guys.
Q. After the Northern Trust you talked about how Chris Como was helping you. Talk about the contributions he's made?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Como is a great guy and he's been very helpful, and the conversations we have had back and forth in regards to different theories and different trains of thought. And I don't want to go too deep into it because that's some of the secret sauce that I have, but he's been very instrumental in helping me understand different thoughts and ideas and bringing new stuff to the table, like oh, that might be another variable we can test or try out to be great.
I've worked with Mike Schy my whole life and he's been fantastic to me and he's helped me all along the way, as well, and that'll never leave. That's always going to be there. But for me I feel like every little tidbit of information from people that I can get is a good benefit to me, and there will be a kickback to that, absolutely.
But the conversations that we've had have been very instrumental in helping me get to another level, as well.
Q. Over the last month or so you've been in the media center quite a bit doing these conversations, and I would imagine there's been a lot more demands on your time from a lot of different sources.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Mm-hmm.
Q. How are you balancing what you need to do to play well here, play well in Paris, ideally set some goals later on and balance out the new reality that you're going to be in high demand?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, I've got a great agent, so he helps out. You know, so he's definitely done a great job for me, Brett has. It's tough. I don't necessarily -- I'm still learning. I'm still trying to figure out how much to say, what to say, and people tell me stop saying all that stuff and I'm like that's just me. I'm going to say what I'm going to say, and if a little secret comes out, it does, and I'm not worried about it because I'll just work harder the next time.
For me from a timing perspective, I always try and keep it -- I've had to prioritize now more than I've ever had to in my life, so Brett has been very instrumental in that, my caddie has been helpful with that. And I've had a couple of people that help keep me in line in the behind-the-scenes work.
But yeah, I've just had to plan things out more and really be on point. When I wake up in the morning, I can't be messing around. I've got to get up and get ready and get ready to go to work. It's more of like a 9:00 to 5:00 job in a sense.
Q. Having spent so much of your time as an outsider or kind of a lone wolf, do the team events mean more to you as a place of just unconditional acceptance and the camaraderie and whatnot?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, I think it's a great place to have people understand that I'm just a person, too. I'm human. I have the same faults and mess up every once in a while and do good things every once in a while, and I think we just do it in different ways. I think that's partially why hopefully I can be a nice asset to the team. Something that's a little different, a little fresh, and people go, that's really cool, and he's got something on maybe the other team that we've never had before. I think that could be kind of fun.
Q. Bryson, the 14th hole here at East Lake is the toughest hole on the course; can you talk about how you practiced it, what your game plan is going into it?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, hit it in the fairway, hit it on the green, make the putt.
Yeah, you know, it's visually intimidating, and I think that depending on the wind is going to really dictate the shot shape. And if you get into trouble, man, you've got to just hit it short and have a great wedge game and get it up-and-down, because there's rough out here that you literally can't advance it more than 100 yards if you get into a certain lie. You really have to be precise with your ball-striking, be on with your game. And, honestly, this is what I work so hard for all year long is to have a golf course like this, be this difficult and demand that you hit the ball in the fairway, demand that you hit the ball in the green, and demand that you make putts, and a good lag putter, as well.
MARK WILLIAMS: Before we let you go, you attended the Payne Stewart Award ceremony last night, Bernhard Langer the recipient. Can you talk about your takeaways from that experience.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Man, it was emotional for me. Seeing Tracey Stewart and then Aaron Stewart I finally met for the first time. We have mutual friends, and finally getting to meet the whole family was really cool experience for me because Payne Stewart was a huge idol of mine and the reason why I wear the hat is because of him. It was really emotional for me. And Bernhard Langer couldn't be a more perfect recipient of that award. He's given so much back to the communities and charity and his sportsmanship was unlike anything else, and he deserved everything about that. I've been fortunate enough to get to know him a little bit through this year, through the past couple years, and man, what an amazing person, what an amazing human being, and someone that I can even look up to and ask questions: Hey, how would you handle this situation. So I can't give him enough props for what he's done for the golfing community and outside of it, as well. Something definitely to aspire to in my career. He's creating a great lasting legacy for what he's done in the world, and I hope to aspire to that one day.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports