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May 19, 2021

Bryson DeChambeau

Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome back to the 2021 PGA Championship here at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. We are really happy to have Bryson DeChambeau, 2020 U.S. Open champion.

Bryson, welcome to what is your fifth career PGA Championship. I guess you could kind of call this long course meets long hitter. But I'm curious, will this course require you just because of its extreme length, longest in major championship history, are you going to be hitting some different shots than you hit week to week on the Tour or any other major championship courses?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, definitely. This golf course is a beast. Hopefully I can unleash the beast, but you never know. May hit it right or left, I don't know. But I'd say for the most part you have to hit it pretty straight out here, even though you hit it pretty far, or I'm hitting it pretty far. I would say there are holes that you just can't go after. No. 4 is a great example. Hitting driver there, probably you could do it today because it's so into the wind, but for most guys -- I watched players hitting hybrids and 3-woods in all day today, and that's not easy.

I'm sure the tee boxes will be moved up in certain areas, but for most players out there, if you don't hit it long, it's going to be a tough week, especially hitting hybrid or 3-iron or 4-iron into these greens that are so penalizing around the green complexes.

For me my length is an advantage, but if I can hit it straight this week in this wind and control the golf ball and control the flight of it, that'll be my biggest advantage.

Q. What are some of the different questions that Kiawah asks of you compared to other courses that you've played?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, I have not had hybrids or 4-irons into par-3s since I've gotten longer. That's a new one. I think for other players it's 3-woods and hybrids in for them.

It's demanding. You've got 14 straight into the wind, a little bit off the left, but it's 240 into the wind, and I watched Phil hit hybrid and he hit a great shot and then you've got Kevin hitting 3-wood. It's not easy. It's definitely a difficult test at hand. I think that's what's so unique about this golf course is that when the wind picks up, it is probably one of the hardest golf courses I've ever played.

You can't miss it in certain areas, either. Like you can't bail out left or right. You've just got to have your ball-striking on the whole day, and if you don't, you're going to get penalized.

Q. You're known as a player who likes to make data-driven decisions, take variables and guesswork out of play, but playing in wind like this there's always a certain amount of guesswork. How comfortable are you guessing?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: We try to make our best educated guess, but it doesn't always work out. Like for example, today I hit a perfect shot with a 53-degree wedge at 10:30 and on the device it says it went the right distance and then we looked up and it landed five yards past the flag and went over the green just because of wind and something we couldn't feel or control. It just gusted right at that moment. A lot of it is going to be dependent on luck this week. I will say that. When it's dependent on luck you have to be patient. You have to say either there's going to be good breaks, there's going to be bad breaks, but you have to be patient, wait for those opportunities to make birdies on the par-5s, on those short par-4s, and just hit it in the middle of the green this week. That is my ultimate goal is if I can hit as many greens as possible, I think I'll do okay.

Q. Do you have any new or different strategies for taking any of that guesswork out of it in the wind?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Not that I've come up with yet. I mean, I wish. If there was a way to figure out the wind -- man, you guys are going to eat this one up, but the laminar flow of the wind and how it works -- I mean, look, there are certain times where over certain dune hills and stuff on greens and before the greens where the wind will flow down and up and over certain mounds, so that's going to make it feel weird, play different, and it's just going to affect how the ball goes.

Even on the putting green, I'd say that's the most important thing is putt on these greens knowing how the wind is going to affect your putt, man, you're way ahead of the game. Nobody has figured it out other than intuitively. You're over the putt and you go, oh, more gust and so you push a little bit more or whatever to account for that.

Q. Just curious, what's the longest drive you've hit this week on the course?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well yesterday I had like 160 yards into 7, so whatever that is.

Q. What's the shortest drive you've hit with your driver?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I think it was on 15 -- 15 I just pumped driver. It was like 187 ball speed, and I still had like a -- even 18 I had 6-iron in -- no, 15 I had 5-iron in, so I hit driver like 270 into the wind and it's blowing 30 miles an hour and I hit it a little too high.

Q. What's your comfort level on the greens?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: On the greens this week, I mean, I'm okay. I'm like 75 percent there. Last week was like 50 percent. I'm a little bit better than where I was last week, but this week I'm probably 75 percent. Hopefully it gets a little better over the week. But the wind really affects putts. That's the tough part. You have a perfect aim and you hit it and the wind gusts and moves it along. You've got to be willing to adapt and adapt really quickly out here.

Q. I'm kind of curious, if I could guarantee that you would lead like one statistical category on the PGA TOUR for the next say five years, what category would that be?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Driving for sure.

Q. How come?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I would say driving -- as golf courses keep getting longer and they become more demanding on the PGA TOUR, if you can put it in the fairway and be in the fairway all the time, having a massive advantage over everybody, I can work on the iron play and the wedging and putting. Putting is good enough to still win. Those are the two main categories that I would say -- it's not always just one because you could be great in driving and terrible in putting and never win. There's always about two categories you've got to be really good at to win golf tournaments, and I think the most important ones are driving and putting, no doubt.

Q. Following up on the putting, you say you're 75 percent this week --


Q. Where were you going into the U.S. Open?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: The U.S. Open I was like 90, 95. Yeah, it's just starting the ball on line. I'm not starting it on line like I would like. Hopefully I can work that out today and be comfortable for tomorrow.

Q. I keep hearing talk that you're throttling it back. What does that mean?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, it's just to control it a little bit better. You can't let it loose out here. There's certain golf courses like last week I could kind of let it loose a little bit, but even at that I was still trying to control ball flight. I'm still trying to gain speed. It's not like I'm not. It's just I'm trying to find more efficient ways to do it. Sometimes when you lock things down or make your golf swing more consistent, it doesn't always produce more speed.

Especially the driver I'm using right now, it's not fully maxed out with everything, and there are reasons for that. Just trying to keep the head a lot longer rather than having it break every couple weeks.

Q. Is this driver from the one you used at the Masters?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: It's way different. It's three degrees more loft. It's different face design, different weight. But it's the driver that I've always -- I drove it unbelievably well -- without distance I was No. 1 in driving in early 2018 and that's the best I had ever driven it in my entire life and I felt like I was on auto pilot and it was this driver that worked really well, and then it unfortunately broke after hitting it enough times and I had to get another driver and it wasn't the same after that. So I've been searching for that setup ever since, and it's tough to make it perfect. Nobody has found out how to do that. If a manufacturer found out how to make it perfectly we'd all be using it.

Q. What made you decide to throttle it back because you were talking crazy numbers.

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, and I still want to get there eventually. You know, a lot of it is I've reached a physical limitation that I don't know how to get past yet. I'm getting stronger. I'm the strongest I've ever been, but it doesn't produce swing speed, which is really interesting, so how to increase swing speed like you're working out is something that nobody has ever really figured out. It takes years to get up to the long drive levels that the guys like Kyle Berkshire has and stuff like that. Maybe just be a timing thing. May also be I've played a lot of golf, not gotten enough rest.

When quarantine came about I had time to physically transform everything. I took a couple weeks off of even playing golf or touching a golf club and literally changed my body. I don't have that time now.

Q. The Saudi Golf League or the Super Golf League, whatever the name is, seems to kind of still be humming in the background. I'm curious what is your take on it, whether you've had conversations or if you maybe see some benefits to it like Phil Mickelson suggested?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, you know, I don't know much. I've got a lot of people in the background working on it for -- my agent, Brad, we're all dealing with that. I think at the end of the day there's interesting concepts, but that's all I really have to say about it. There's not much I can do personally. I'm out here just playing golf trying to win a major championship. You know, I think at the end of the day it's people in the upper management that has to be taking care of that compared to me. I really can't do unfortunately much about it. I wish I had a bigger say in things, but I don't, I just play golf.

Q. You've won multiple times since you've had this physical transformation, but you've also missed some cuts. I am curious, are you okay with the missed cuts if you win on your on weeks, or do you take pride in kind of the week-to-week consistency of grinding out a top 10 when you don't have it?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: No, I love the grind of getting a top 10 when you're not all the way firing on all cylinders. It's great to win, too, and I don't like missing cuts. I would say on any front, you're trying to do your best every week, and when you miss cuts, it's never fun. But it's all about being consistent and how do you become more consistent with this transformed body, with this new swing speed and everything. There are times where I recognize I can swing it softer and I have ball speeds that are way faster than everybody out here and that's cool and comforting to have, but you've still got to make putts, you've still got to wedge it close and everything, and that's the difficulty is you can get all this distance but it doesn't mean you're going to play better. I find the grind and the passion and the perseverance going down a different road, unique road, pretty intriguing to me, and it just keeps me firing on all cylinders on my own end in my life.

Q. The pre-tournament drumbeat here is how difficult it is, the longest course ever, the wind, everything. I guess you wouldn't want to do it every week, but does part of you enjoy the challenge of such an extreme test?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, I would say a few weeks a year is okay. That's for sure. This is one of those weeks, and it's going to be somebody out here that wins that's the most patient. It may not be the person that's playing the best.

There's certainly luck involved this week with the greens the way they are and the wind the way it is and the slopes around the greens. Sometimes you're just going to get unlucky. You hit a great shot and the wind dies and it goes over the green. It's going to be somebody that has a lot of patience and a lot of resolve to fight back when things aren't going well for them.

Q. So it's as much a mental test as it is anything physical this week?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Absolutely. I would say it's more of a mental test than a physical test because we all are great golfers and we know how to swing the golf club, but it's more about the mental fortitude that you have, and for some reason I do pretty well in these types of environments. It brings out the best in me. So hopefully it can this week. Hopefully. We'll see.

Q. Steve Stricker was up here earlier and he said that he hoped that Tiger could be at the Ryder Cup as an assistant later in the year. I'm sure you're probably on board with that, but I'm just curious if you've spoken with Tiger at all and has this subject come up?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, the Ryder Cup conversation hasn't come up, but I've just been talking to him as a friend and seeing how he's doing. I had a couple questions for him about what he's doing and how he's living life and his kids and dogs and whatnot. I just think that's where my relationship is with him. I really care about his personal life more than his golf because if his personal life is well, I think golf will follow.

Personally to me he has been the greatest influence in my life, and I tend to keep the friendship at a level that is looking out for him in all instances. I hope he can definitely be a part of the Ryder Cup. It would be an honor to have him a part of that team. Hopefully he can.

Q. Obviously you'd see him as an asset there to the team?


Q. In what way?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: 100 percent. You look at the Presidents Cup and how influential he was at just keeping us on the straight and narrow path of saying, hey, we're okay, we can still do this. We ultimately pulled it out, and I think that's what's so cool about the way Tiger works with things; if he says it doesn't matter, I'm just going to go out there and get the job done. No matter what cost, you've just got to get the job done.

That's what's so amazing about what he was able to do, and I think it'll transfer over if he's a part of the team, is he'll have that kind of same spirit as he did at the Presidents Cup.

Q. What's been the reaction amongst your colleagues to your UFO interview? And do you revel in being thought of as a little bit out there in what's quite a conservative profession?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Oh, I mean, talking to Phil, it was definitely an interesting conversation. Phil and I had some great comments on that, and when we started talking about interdimensional travel, he was like, okay, yeah, okay, cool. I don't know what really that means, but I think I know.

He's been a lot of fun to talk to. Other guys really haven't brought up too much of that.

You know, but I love conversating about unique and different topics, not just the game of golf. I've got a lot of opinions and viewpoints on things outside of the game, and eventually that will become more public, but for the most part talking about aliens is kind of cool. I don't know, I think it's interesting and different from the game.

We talk about this game so much, it's kind of nice to be able to talk about something different. But yeah, being different, I'm used to it.

Q. Since your transformation, what's the windiest conditions that you've played in, and what are some of the challenges that you face, unique challenges that you face because of the ball flight and how high you hit it?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Yeah, I mean, obviously the launch conditions when you're hitting it 150, 160, 170 feet in the air are not great in into-the-wind conditions like this; it's not going to go anywhere. So I would say this week is up there for sure. Last week there was a couple moments where it got windy, but this week is going to be probably the most wind we've had since I've been -- ever since I've transformed myself, that I can remember at least. Maybe I'm wrong in that. But this is -- in regards to the golf course and the wind, this is the most difficult test that I've been on since transforming my body. I don't know if that answers your question at all. Sorry, I don't know.

Q. Talking again about the Ryder Cup, compared to what happened in Paris, it looks like you from the U.S. are getting stronger this time. Are you talking with your colleagues about this, and also about the European guys' situation, like Francesco Molinari was the leading scorer. Do you feel you are the favorite this time?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I don't know how to really answer that. You never know who's going to be the favorite in the Ryder Cup. There's a lot of emotions that are at play that allow certain teams to do really well, and hopefully being over at Whistling Straits it'll be a little different for us this year with the support behind us.

It's going to be difficult for travel and all that. I really have no idea what's going to go on. I know personal me for me I'm going to probably be a little more vocal than last year in who I would want to be with and who I would want to play with, what games fit my style of play. Last time I played I was more star struck. I was like, whoa, this is the Ryder Cup, and I'll just do everything that everybody says.

I feel like I'm a little more experienced now, and my game is a little different. I feel like I can fit certain types of games a little bit better than previous years.

As time goes on I think the U.S. Team is getting stronger and stronger and we're getting more comfortable with each other. We had so many young players last time that we didn't really know what to say or do. Hopefully it'll be a lot different this year.

Q. Before he passed away, Pete Dye told me that he thought par on the Ocean Course was 68 because he felt that under optimum conditions that the very best players could birdie all the par-5s. He came close to that when Rory won in 2012. Do you feel that par is essentially 68 under optimum conditions or even lower?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Under optimum conditions, with no wind? That really worked out well for me at Augusta. No, I'm just messing.

Look, you could say it's par 58, it's par 59 or 78 or 80. It really honestly depends on the day and the conditions. If it's under optimum conditions and we're playing our best golf, you could totally say that. I would say also that the wind is up, the par could be 76.

That's my answer to that. I don't know how else to explain that.

Q. I wanted to follow up about the super league. You've talked about the inherent individualism that comes with being a professional golfer, so just curious, how do you balance what would potentially be best for you or a massive opportunity for you versus entertaining a controversial idea or things like that?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Well, I mean, this is like an hour conversation probably, but from my perspective I'm not trying to make anybody mad. I'm not trying to make anybody side on one side. From my perspective I want the best for the players and for the fans, and whatever players do in regards to this Tour or whatnot is going to make my decision. I will never commit to anything. From my perspective it's about the players looking at it in a different way, and if they want to do that, then okay. If the players go, then I'll probably follow suit.

But at this point in time, it just doesn't seem like there's enough players. At that statement I would say that there's probably more -- I don't know. I don't know. It's such a weird conversation. I think the players are in such a weird position, because it's like, we're just trying to do what's best for the game of golf and for the fans. I mean, we want to give the fans an amazing experience. Are the players taken care of to the fullest extent all the way from the 200th to the top player in the world? I mean, I don't know. I mean, that's a conversation that all players have to have in order to make this work.

But from a super league perspective, this is stuff that's got to be dealt with in the upper management. I don't know. I mean, I'm just a player trying to play golf. I don't really have a great answer for it. My agent has been telling me about it, but it's like, we don't want to ruffle any feathers, we just want to go play golf and I would say give the fans the best experience they could possibly have.

If it's with the super league then it's with the super league, but I will never do anything first. I will never be anybody that goes first in something like that. It's got to be the Tour coming together and saying this is better for the fan experience and whatnot. But it's definitely -- the Tour has given me an amazing opportunity, PGA TOUR, and there's a relationship there that I don't want to hurt. There's a relationship there that I have with the USGA, the PGA, Augusta and the British Open that we don't want to hurt, and it's a very difficult, weird situation I think the players are in. Hopefully it can all be resolved so we can just get past it and play golf and I would say enjoy giving the fans the best entertainment possible.

Q. Are you worried about it being a distraction for guys?

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: It's a complete distraction. I would say from my perspective, I'd want to know what way to go and just let's go, whatever it is. Whatever is best for the players and for the fans is what I would support.

Again, I don't know all the details. I don't know everything. This is me just speaking from an outside perspective, that whatever the Tour wants to do, whatever the players want to do, I'm behind the players with whatever they want to do because as a collective group I think we do have a good understanding of what the fans do want.

There's going to come a point in time where they'll all talk about it, but I'm not there yet. I don't even know.

THE MODERATOR: Bryson DeChambeau, thank you for finding us, and please enjoy your week here and come back and visit. Thank you.

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