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November 10, 2020
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, I'd like to welcome Bryson DeChambeau to the interview room. Bryson, congratulations on an impressive 2020. Ten Topâ€‘10s since the start of the year, the win at the Rocket Mortgage in Detroit in July and then that epic sixâ€‘stroke win at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in September. How has your life changed now you're a men's game.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It's an honor to be here. I will say how it's changed is a difficult question to answer because I don't know necessarily how much it's changed. Obviously I love the fact that I've been able to get a major championship and get that off my back, but I will say that it's not changed too much from my perspective other than the fact I feel like now in major championships I can go and attack them and not have this impending major championship looming over my head. It's like, okay, I've already gotten that under the belt and let's see how many more I can get.
So that's really the only difference I feel like for me that's changed during this whole time.
THE MODERATOR: It's been very well documented your focus on distance. Tell us where you are on your journey and what we might expect this week.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, that's a great question, and I will say that every day I'm trying to get faster and stronger and I'm trying to hit it as far as possible.
I will say that I have no idea where the end game is on this. I've only seen improvements in strength increase, I've obviously felt better every day, so I really don't know where the end game is on this.
But I will say that I am hitting it further now than I was at Shriners, and I am hitting it further than the U.S. Open, and I'm trying a driver this week that may help me hit it even a little bit further, so we'll see. I don't know. Still up in the air.
Q. First of all, thank you for liking one of my teenage son's Instagram posts. It made his year. What do you think about playing without Patrons? I know you've done it at other tournaments, but Augusta National Patrons, do their roars help you, and how will their absence impact the way you approach certain holes?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It's unfortunate that the Patrons are not here this week, and I always enjoy having them out rooting us on and cheering for us. Especially the last time I played here, I made a holeâ€‘inâ€‘one on 16, and so interacting with the Patrons there was pretty amazing and fun and something I'll never forget. So it's kind of sad that they aren't here. I'm hoping that they will be here for the next Masters.
But as of this year, it's going to be different because I'm going to be able to hit it on certain lines where Patrons would be, and I feel like that it does provide me a little bit of an advantage in that case to be able to hit into those areas without thinking about it at all.
So you know, that would be the best answer I can give on that because you look at 18, I'm hopefully going to be able to hit it over those bunkers where the Patrons would be. Another one would be 13 even. I can hit it through almost into 14 and they would be there, so this is a unique opportunity I think this year.
Q. Can you give us a sense of some of the clubs in your practice rounds and that you've been hitting into some of these greens here?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: So are youâ€‘â€‘ specifically the par 5s?
Q. Or some of the par 4s.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: No. 3, I can get to the green. No. 1, if I hit it in the fairway, I can have a 70â€‘yard, 60â€‘yard shot. I guess even in wet conditions, I'm able to get it up that close to the green.
No.2, I think I had 7â€‘iron in the other day.
And No. 5, I had 9â€‘iron in, 8â€‘iron. Yeah, it was in the wind, so it was 8â€‘iron that day.
No. 7, this is a wedge shot. Nothing crazy. It was into the wind every day I played it.
No. 8, I've had 6â€‘iron in, as little as 6â€‘iron in.
No.9, it's a 53 to 48â€‘degree for me. Trying to think here really quickly.
At 10, it's a 9â€‘iron at worst.
11 yesterday with Tiger and Freddie and J.T., I had pitching wedge in. I asked Tiger, I said, "What did you hit in in'97?"
And he goes, "Pitching wedge."
I'm like, "That's cool, all right."
13, I had pitching wedge in. I cut the corner drastically. That's one of those where you do cut it over and you can hit it high enough and draw enough, you can gain a pretty big advantage there.
14, nothing crazy. It was into the wind.
17, into the wind. I hit 8â€‘iron, as well.
Then 18, I mean, I hit it over the bunker, you can have 110 yards into the green.
So that's just a basic general principle of what it is. Again, I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping out here. That is one of the things that I think people sometimes struggle to see. As much as I can gain an advantage off the tee, I still have to putt it well and chip it well and wedge it well and even iron play it well, and that's what I did at the U.S. Open. If I don't putt it well at The Open, if I don't wedge it well, if I don't hit my irons close, I don't win that tournament.
So it always comes down to making the putts at the end of the day.
Q. Winning Winged Foot the way you did, if you were to win this week, what kind of impact or reaction do you think the game would have?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, I think people would realize that hitting it farther is definitely an easier way to play the game. No matter what, athletics are always going to be the top of mind in sport, and no matter what sport you're in.
I think those are the two biggest things that people would see from this. I'm sure people would react to it. But at the end of the day, I'm only going to play under The Rules of Golf, and I will all try and do my best to play under those rules in the best way possible.
Q. What's the status of your 48â€‘inch driver?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, I tested it yesterday for the first time. And we've gone through at least three or four iterations of the shaft, and this is the most promising one yet. Yesterday I had about four to five miles an hour in ball speed increase. I got my swing speed up to 143, 144 on the range yesterday, and the dispersion is the same and spin rate was even down.
I mean, it looks really promising right now. I did not expect it to work yesterday. I was like, this is going to take even more time, but it did work yesterday, and I'm not 100 percent sure if I'll put it in play yet just because of the unknown; it's so close to the Masters, but it is an improvement if every facet of launch conditions, then I don't see why not.
Q. Do you feel that your unique approach has been embraced more following your U.S. Open win?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I do think that is a fact. I think people are starting to see that no matter what it is, whether I do this or that or faceâ€‘on putting, it's always to try to get better, no matter what I do, there's going to be times of failure and there's going to be times of success. But I'm going to fail a lot more than I succeed, and I think people are starting to understand that it's not just about me being quirky and doing things in my own way but it's about the process of trying to be better each and every day.
That's what I hope people can understand, is that it's not necessarily just about me being different or trying different things. It's about me going through a process that will tell me if I'm doing the right thing or not. If I go down a road and it doesn't work, I'll pull myself back out and try something else.
I think that's what hopefully can inspire a lot of people to say, you know what, I got to think about this hopefully in a new way and try and be as good as I possibly can to do my best each and every day, and if something fails and something is wrong, I pull myself back out and I try something else that will make me better in whatever field it is.
I hope people have understood, and I think people are starting to understand that after that win.
Q. We've seen the DraftKings logo on the cap and the billboard out on Washington. How have you seen the perception of sports gaming change and evolve over the years?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, I think there's a lot more people that are enjoying not only just betting but the fantasy side of it, where these fans are able to engage and feel like they are a part of each player's lives by putting them on their team. And I think that's a really cool way to engage fans into a new sport, I guess you could say, like golf, as golf has returned and come back and been more a part of the fantasy scene.
I really think, personally, for me, that was a noâ€‘brainer to engage in that field. Because I'm all about growing the game; I want to grow the game, I think it's necessary for our game to survive and keep moving forward in a positive direction.
As its grown and developed, I think taking time off from the sport and having us be the first ones back has really enhanced the game of golf as well as the fantasy side. And even the gambling side, I don't feel like it's necessarilyâ€‘â€‘ I think it's a positive thing. I think it gets people involved and gets people feeling like you're part of their team. And personally, for me, I think it's a win/win with everybody.
Q. Would you share some of your strongest memories of your first Masters and maybe what this version of Bryson might tell that version, which I guess is a kind of way of asking how much you've changed or how much you've learned over the years.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: That's a great question. Looking back in 2016, my fondest memory was on 12 when I hit that shot in there to a foot on Friday with Spieth and being close to the lead. The crowd and everything about it was just electric. I don't know what else to say. It was amazing, the Patrons were incredibly supportive of the amateur having a chance to potentially do something special on the weekend.
I do feel that was one of the most special moments as an amateur, and I also feel like being up in the Crow's Nest was one of the best experiences, as well, getting to sleep there at night and experience that as a tradition. That needs to keep going on and it's a tradition unlike any other, and I feel like it's something that every amateur needs to experience.
Like I said to many amateurs this week, it is the greatestâ€‘â€‘ single greatest week of my life, no matter if it was a major championship win in the U.S. Open or winning PGA TOUR events, I still say that that amateur week, that experience, was the greatest moment in my life. Just from everything, I don't know how to explain it other than that.
I would also tell him that patience is a huge part of success. I wanted to succeed immediately back then, and my game wasn't ready. My brain wasn't ready. My body wasn't ready. I think people talk about how every five years, you change as a human being, and that is absolutely true. I mean, I've totally changed and what I would tell younger Bryson is be patient and keep learning every day. Those are the two things that I would tell him.
Q. Doesn't sound like you have that much need for longer irons in your bag this week. Is there any chance that you might carry two drivers as you're still trying to work it out, and also, hitting a driver that long and with the force that you swing it, does it take any toll on you?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, it absolutely takes a toll on my body. I don't think I'll put the 45â€‘â€‘ if I play one driver, I don't think I'll put the other driver in. My 3â€‘wood is long enough; if worst case comes to worst, I'll just use that on each hole and it will be good enough. If I go the 48, I'll go the full way, or 47â€‘andâ€‘aâ€‘half, just a little over the half, for reasons.
But yeah, that's what I'll do.
Q. Among your many 2020 adjustments, you appear to have a shorter routine before playing a shot. Can you take us through the process?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, again, there's been great input on that from people around the world for the past year and I feel I've done a good job of moving things at a faster pace. From a driving perspective, I just am trying to get up there like I'm in a batter's box swinging as hard as I can trying to hit a home run. I don't know if there's a better way to say it.
You look at these guys, Kyle Berkshire, they are up there getting amped up before they hit a long drive, and that's what they do. And I'm kind of doing that, not to the fullest extent, but definitely helps hit the ball farther.
On the putting greens, I'm able to read things a little better and get into my routine and I practice becoming a little bit quicker. It's paid dividends for sure.
Q. I don't know how much curiosity you might have sparked among your fellow professionals, and how much of this do you feel you have to keep proprietary, even as open as you are about the changes you're making?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: There's a lot behind the scenes that I do that is kept proprietary that I don't talk about. All the things that are on the surface are things that are totally achievable for anybody, but take a massive amount of time to do, and it's very difficult to do. It's not just about getting stronger in the gym. It's about doing it in a way that enhances your body, not breaks it down.
You have to still learn how to swing the golf club at a faster pace and you have to learn how to move it in a way that allows you to be comfortable with that and not hurt yourself, as well, and the third thing is you have to learn how to hit it straight. Those three things, I mean, it's very, very difficult to do, and it's taken a lot of time to figure those variables out.
Will anybody figure it out? For sure. But behind those three things is a lot of work and a lot of proprietary information that, you know, for me has taken four, five years to truly figure out. It's really come in the past year, but it's been this building block off of four or five years.
So it not just a simple, oh, I'm going to try and swing it faster and I'm going to get faster this year. There's a lot of things that have to be in place and a lot of hours spent in the gym, on the driving range, hitting as many golf balls as possible and also swinging in a way that can make you be repeatable and not hit it everywhere.
Q. With regard to scrambling, if I'm not mistaken, at Winged Foot, you were at the top of the list there. How different is the scrambling on these tighter lies and this grass versus what you dealt with at Winged Foot?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: For me it's a lot more bump and runs. Around the greens you have to be very creative. Whereas at Winged Foot you flop it up as high as you can out of the rough and hopefully it sits and you missed in the right place where you can get it somewhat close.
Out here, you've got a lot of undulation around the greens with runâ€‘offs and fallâ€‘offs. You have to be able to bounce it into the grass and control that. But the grass is pretty sticky. I know it's a little wet out there right now. It creates a different dynamic than at Winged Foot.
I've got to be prepared for that. I have to work really hard to figure out all the little nuances of each bounce and how it works to get it to roll a certain amount or do I have draw spin on it or cut spin on this shot. It's a totally different dynamic than Winged Foot.
Q. Is it more difficult? What's the degree of difficulty?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It's just a different style of short game, I guess you could say. More difficult? Does it suit me better or worse? I don't know, personally I've always felt like I've been really good at bumpâ€‘andâ€‘running shots, but I've also been really good at flop shots out of ryegrass. It's just a dynamic that I have to go and work on, and I feel like if I can execute those shots really well this week, again, my short game should be really good.
Q. When you told us last year in Vegas that you were going to come back a different player and a different look, which you did at Colonial, at that moment, did you think you could have taken it this far this quickly?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: No, I did not think I would get this type of result this quickly. In the world of sports, stuff like that doesn't happen unless there's a super dedicated individual that has figured out some unique things, again, the proprietary information; that has allowed me to have the gains, recovery and strength that I have been able to gain.
I've talked about it numerous times, muscle activation techniques and what we are able to do there. We are 20 years ahead of everybody in the physical therapy and muscle therapy and training world. You know, what Greg has done has broaden 30 years of experience to figure some amazing stuff out. I didn't realize how quickly could I gain until Greg told me. He was like, "Bryson, if you go down the road with this and work out properly and you keep doing it every single day and training the right muscles and balancing the system out, you'll find gains that have never been seen before."
And I was like, okay, sure, whatever, and I kept going on the road, and as time went on, I started to see many massive improvements really quickly. And I was fortunate to have Como alongside of me, helping me with the golf swing stuff, and it all meshed together in a really beautiful way.
But no, I didn't expect to have results this quickly. I would have thought it would be a threeâ€‘ or fourâ€‘year process to get this result.
Q. Do you think that the distance you and the new generation of players are achieving, that might lead to a change in the way that the championship courses are presented?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: What do you mean by that?
Q. I mean maybe longer, longer roughsâ€‘â€‘
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, longer rough, you think thatâ€‘â€‘
Q. Thinner fairways?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: So you're asking if the golf courses are going to change proportionately to what's going on with my games, I guess you could say, the length of the game, the distance, right?
Yeah, I think like I adapt to The Rules of Golf to the golf courses, I think the golf courses are going to slowly adapt to what we are doing. And it's going to be all defined by the rules, whatever personally the rules say is whatâ€‘â€‘ how we are going to play and how golf courses are going to be set up for the future.
Will the rough get longer? I don't know. There's plenty of guys out here that don't hit it as far as me that still contend.
Austin Cook, the week of Shriners, he still contended. I was hitting it forever that week, and he beat me. So again, it's not just about driving. I think people have to really truly understand that there's still the putting aspect, wedging aspect of it. And obviously length helps, but there are ways to play into other players' hands compared to me.
But, again, if somebody is hitting driver off the tee and I'm hitting hybrid or 4â€‘iron off the tee, to hit it the same distance, that is just an advantage that I will always have. Unfortunately there's nothing you can really do about that.
From a course setup standpoint, people can try to do things, and I don't think there's anything we can really do anymore.
Q. When you look at the picture of yourself on that screen and compare to how you look today, describe what kind of sacrifice you've gone through to reach this level.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, if you want to talk about the sacrifices, I will let you know that it was approximately two hours each and every day, at least, two to three hours a day, especially during quarantine time, of dedicating my life to getting stronger, figuring out how to take out any pain in my body.
You know, and again, this all started from a back injury probably two years ago, two, three years ago now, when I had to withdraw from Valspar. I couldn't get out of bed one day. I'm like, what am I going to be like when I'm 30, if I already feel like this?
So you know me, trying to figure out stuff, I said, okay, instead of trying to figure out more of golf, let's try to figure out more of my body. And that's when I kind of went down this road.
I slowly saw gains, and then I went to another level last year. It's been a really, really interesting process that I look back a few years ago, yeah, hopefully that is inspiration for a lot of people that, you know, if you set your mind to something, you can really do it.
And those sacrifices do not come easy. They were hours and hours every single day of trying to figure out my body, not just practicing golf, but after the golf, after four or five of practicing golf, there's again two or three hours of working out and figuring something out for my body to make me feel better.
Even after speed training, I'd be just absolutely crushed, my body not feeling great at all, hurting everywhere, and I would go work out to figure out how to reâ€‘up those tolerance levels.
So over a year now, I guess you could say, every single day was two, three hours of time spent trying to figure out the body. You couldâ€‘â€‘ that was a sacrifice. That was a sacrifice. Instead of going to dinner and doing something with friends, I was in the gym working out.
Q. With golf being an inherently individual sport and you now back at the peak of it, I wonder how do you think you would do as a professional athlete at this level but on a team sport where other individuals could dictate your winning and losing?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: That's why I played golf, because it was an individual sport. I struggled with that in high school and junior high with team sports because I felt like sometimes I would give it so much that people would be like, what are you doing, like why are you so intense with this?
And I've just always been super competitive in nature, and sometimes it's been tough for me to understand from a team aspect, especially when I was a kid, like why aren't you giving it like your 110 percent? I know you can't really do that, but why aren't you giving it 100 percent, I see you could do more.
So I was always very critical growing up, and that was a fault of mine, that I feel like I've gotten a lot better at, especially with having a team around me now with Connor and with Tim and Brett and Chris, and I just feel like I'm trying to understand social dynamics a little bit better and how to enhance a team rather than anything else, how do I maximize that. So that's a rabbit hole I'm going down now, trying to figure out so I can get the best out of everybody.
So I did not do well with team sports when I was younger.
Q. Do you have a sense of how much attention is on you this week? Have you been somewhere or heard somebody say something that just sort of brought it into focus? And do you like having that attention on you? Is that something you embrace?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: You know, I don't know about that yet. I'm not sure if I like it or not. I will say that, you know, for me, I'm tryingâ€‘â€‘ again, I'm trying to look at it as I'm still an underdog to the field. Anybody can win this week. There's a lot of unbelievable players out there.
So I will never look at myself as someâ€‘â€‘ someone that is better than anyone out here until the scores are written in stone afterwards. It's just not what I do, it's not what I will ever do. The attention that I've gained has been awesome. I love it. I think it's fun. But I've got to set myself back and go, look, again, anybody can win this week. I have to keep normalizing to that because that's what I know is fact.
It's nothing more than true statistics right there. You have plenty of unbelievable players that can beat you this week, and doesn't mean that I'm going to win. I could be the favorite. I could be in dead last, and still have an opportunity this week.
So that's just statistics. How it plays out, I don't know. I don't know how it's going to play out. I'm going to give it my all. If I don't play well, I miss the cut, I'm still going to be gracious and walk off and go, you know what, I've still had a great year and I'm going to try and come back better next year.
That's the way I look at it. I'm not going to look at it any other way than that. I don't want to feel any other hype. I don't need to. I don't think that there is personally on my own end because of those statistics, I won't look at it any other way.
Q. You mentioned your putting a couple answers ago. What's the impact for you of not having those detailed green reading books this week?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: A lot more time spent on the greens these next few days. I'm going to go out there today. We know somewhat where the pins are going to be, but I'm going to try and really get comfortable with those areas and in my mind know what they are just based on how much it's breaking off of our starting line in that area.
So I'll do a really detailed practice around that on each and every hole location over the next couple days.
Q. Is that hard?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, very hard, absolutely, a lot harder. But growing up in college, we didn't have greens books, and I played well then. I've played well here the last couple years and gotten pretty comfortable with the greens.
It is another aspect of it, but at the end of the day, I still go based off of my intuition most of the time. I look at something, I go, okay, I think it looks a little like this. The times where I've putted best have been where my intuition is matched up with reality and what it's actually doing because sometimes they can be wrong. The greens books can be wrong.
And that's what I putted my best, like at Winged Foot, those greens and slopes, there's no way I could average out all those slopes in the book. I had to intuitively do it, and I was able to do it well here, and hopefully I can do it well this week.
THE MODERATOR: On that note, Bryson, wishing you all the best this week.
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