US Open 2020: Bryson DeChambeau in his first Champion Interview
09/21/2020 by Golf Post Editors
MODERATOR: We’re pleased to welcome champion of the 120th U.S. Open, Bryson DeChambeau. How does that sound?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Surreal. It sounds amazing, but surreal. It’s been a lot of hard work, and I got to say thanks to my whole team again, all my sponsors as well — Brett, Tim, my caddie works his butt off every single day for me. Connor works his butt off for me every single day. Chris Como works really, really hard for me and helps me think through a lot of amazing things. Even Mike Schy, I still talk to Mike, and we still talk about how to get better. I would be remiss if I didn’t say his name either.
It’s one of those things that doesn’t really hit you — it’s not going to hit me until tonight, but I will say that my parents have given so much up for me. I mean, there were times that I went to school without any lunch money, and we had to make bologna sandwiches and didn’t have anything to eat. We had some very, very difficult times, but every single day, they always wanted the best for me, and they always gave me the opportunity to go golf, go practice, and go get better.
This one’s for my parents. It’s for Mike Schy, it’s for Chris, it’s for my whole team. All the work, all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into it, it just means the world to me.
Q. It’s going to be hard to reflect on right now, but that moment when you putted in on 18 and you put your hands in the air, what was going through your mind?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I did it. I did it. As difficult as this golf course was presented, I played it beautifully. Even through the rough, I was still able to manage my game and hit it to correct sides of the greens, except on 14 today, and kept plugging away. My putting was immaculate today. My speed control, incredible. That’s why we worked so hard on my speed control. You see me out there on the greens with the device trying to control my speed.
It’s just something that allows me and gives me comfort to know that on this green, or these speeds of greens, you know, it’s going to be repeatable. It’s going to be this. It’s going to be that. It’s going to be comfort in knowing how far I can take it back and go through.
So many times I relied on science, and it worked every single time.
Q. Your fans and backers are very passionate in their support of you. What do you have to say to them right now?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I can’t say thank you enough for supporting me and staying with me through thick and thin. There’s always going to be people that say things. There’s always going to be people that do things. But no matter what, my focus and my message to everybody out there is each and every day that you’re living life try and make this day better than the previous day. Let today’s garbage be better than yesterday.
The fans that have always been there, the supporters that have always been there, I can’t thank you enough for everything that you have meant for me. You’ve kept me pushing the needle, moving the needle, and you’re going to keep inspiring me too. So I really thank you for everything. I couldn’t do it without you guys.
Q. Bryson, you said the T4 at the PGA felt like you were moving in the right direction, but with all of the chatter and all of the doubters, what is he doing, does this absolutely put you over the edge in terms of validating what you’ve done?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Absolutely. And I’m not going to stop. Next week I’m going to be trying a 48-inch driver. We’re going to be messing with some head designs and do some amazing with things with Cobra to make it feasible to hit these drives maybe 360, 370, maybe even farther. I don’t know.
Q. Given the way you’ve adopted this approach, do you feel like you’re potentially changing the game, or at least changing the way that people think about playing in the game?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I think I’m definitely changing the way people think about the game. Now, whether you can do it, that’s a whole different situation. There’s a lot of people that are going to be hitting it far. Matthew was hitting it plenty far today. A couple of putts just didn’t go in for him today and kept the momentum on my side. So he’s definitely got the firepower and the strength to do it. You’ve got to be looking out for him in the future.
There’s a lot of young guns that are unbelievable players, and I think the next generation that’s coming up into golf hopefully will see this and go, hey, I can do that too.
Q. Bryson, you very much do things your own way. What kind of mental strength do you take from that?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It’s a lot of validation through science, just making sure that the numbers are what they are and the result is accurate. So if I had — just an example. If I hit a 40-footer and it says 10.1 miles per hour on the device, I know that I’ve executed it correctly; and if I see the ball go two feet past that 40 foot mark, I know it’s perfect. I know I’ve done everything I can in my brain to make my perception reality.
So it’s all about trying to make my perception of what I feel, what I think, what I — you know, whatever it is, turn into proper reality. It definitely is validating that I’m able to execute time and time again and have it be good enough to win an Open. I don’t know if that answered your question.
Q. There’s so much talk about the driving and the distance and whatnot, but you did shoot the best score today by three, I believe. Do you feel like you’re proving, with a victory in a Major like this, on a golf course like this, even more so that you’re not just a one-dimensional player?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: No, I think I’ve got a lot of creativity. Phil said it to me earlier this week. He said, in 2006, I had the best short game week of my life, and that really stuck out to me for some reason because I just knew that, if I did hit it in the rough, I’m going to have to get it up and down quite a bit.
So I made sure that I needed to practice those shots coming into the week, and I did that beautifully, and I felt super comfortable out of the rough no matter the situation.
I mean, a perfect example was No. 14, uphill lie, just hit it off the top of the face, came out dead and rolled down there to ten feet, and I made it. That was huge. If I don’t make that and he makes his, you know, we’ve got a fight.
So, yeah, I think that answered your question. I don’t know. I’m just kind of rambling a little bit.
Q. It seems like the putting has really been on point.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yes. Yes, putting has been — sorry. I love it. The putting has gradually improved over the course of my career. I was dead last when I came out on TOUR, and the SIG guys, SIG golf, they helped me understand how a ball needs to roll in order to give me the best chance to hole a putt.
Over the course of these four years, every year I’ve gotten a little bit better. I’ve gotten in the top ten now. I don’t know how much better I can get, but I’m going to keep trying every single week.
Q. Bryson, you used your own approach to the game to get here. Do you think kids watching today are now going to follow in your footsteps and look at this approach and try to replicate that?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: You know, I hope I can inspire some people. My goal in playing golf and playing this game is to try and figure it out. I’m just trying to figure out this very complex, multivariable game, and multidimensional game as well. It’s very, very difficult. It’s a fun journey for me.
I hope that inspires people to say, hey, look, maybe there is a different way to do it. Not everybody has to do it my way. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying in general that there are different ways to do things. If you can find your own way, find your passion — like Arnie said, swing your swing. That’s what I do. That’s what Matthew Wolff does. That’s what Tiger does. That’s what Phil does. That’s what everybody does, and we’re all trying to play the best golf we can.
Hopefully, my way inspires people. This is my seventh win PGA TOUR, first Major, couldn’t be more proud. I hope that it does inspire a few people.
Q. Just for the record, what is your current height and weight?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: 6’1″, 230 to 235, depending on if I’ve eaten steak or not.
Q. Do you want to be bigger when you get to Augusta?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah.
Q. What would you say is your like — what are you shooting for?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I think I can get to 245. It’s going to be a lot of working out. I don’t think it’s possible — it may be, I don’t know. It’s just I’ve gained so much so quickly in a year. They always say, when you work out, you gain your 30 pounds or whatever it is, and then after that, each year, you half it. So you can go 15. If you keep working out every day, you keep halving it. And then eventually there comes a point where you can’t gain much more.
But I still feel like I can get up there if you work hard enough.
Q. What’s your answer to people who say it can’t be healthy for the body?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I am talking to a doctor. I got all my blood sample tests, everything back a couple weeks ago. Everything is fine so far. We’re going to keep monitoring it and making sure I’m as healthy as possible because I do want to live for a long time.
Q. Bryson, what drove you to the range in the cold and dark last night? What were you looking for, and what did you find?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: So my driver was not performing in the way I wanted it to. Thursday, Friday, I felt super comfortable with the driver. Saturday wasn’t comfortable. So I knew I needed to go to the range, figure something out, so I could play for tomorrow and be super comfortable because, if I’m comfortable with the driver, I knew I could play golf and shoot under par on this golf course.
I was able to find something out last night, and then on the 6th hole today, I figured out a little bit more, and that gave me the confidence to play for the rest of the day.
That was essentially — it’s all about the governors for me. I have a limit to kind of what I do with the swing so I don’t overrotate. You can see I missed a lot of shots left this week. My left arm wasn’t holding and being stable enough through impact. It was just rolling over. That’s why I was drawing it and hooking it a little bit.
So I worked on that yesterday, and on the 6th hole I figured out that, even though I was holding it off, my left arm was too bent. So I was still leading to where the face is way open to the target, and then I felt like I had to do that to close the face. So once I straightened that out, got the face back a little more square, I felt like I could hold it off the whole way, and gave me so much comfort for the rest of the round.
Q. I was going to ask you what’s for dinner right now?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Steak and potatoes. We’ve got to keep it going.
Q. Very simple, Bryson. What makes you the happiest right now?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I would say, first off, knowing that the team around me has worked just as hard as I have, if not harder, to get me to where I am today. And knowing that I was able to execute for 72 holes in a Major Championship under the toughest conditions and perform to the highest level.
Q. And that trophy?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, the trophy, obviously, is really nice that comes with it.
Q. This has got to be some form of validation in your head, you know?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: 100 percent, no doubt. For me, it’s about the journey of can I execute every shot more repeatably than everybody else? I was able to do that this week. That’s why I won by six, yeah.
Q. How do you explain how during a pandemic and what a lot of people are writing off as kind of a lost year, you’ve elevated your game this much?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I felt like it was an opportunity, not a lost year at all. I felt like it was an opportunity to do something great — change my lifestyle, make it healthier, make it better — and I hope it inspires everybody else to do the same. When you have time, when you have that little free moment, don’t squander it. Look at it as an opportunity to make yourself better.
That’s what I think I did this year, and I’m going to keep trying to do that.
Q. When you were a little kid starting out with this whole thing, was the U.S. Open one you wanted to win, or was it something else?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I would say any Major was the ones I — they were all ones that I wanted to win, but I knew that my game would fit best for a U.S. Open. The reason for that is I always felt growing up, in college, I was always a super straight driver of the golf ball, super great iron player. Putting was always iffy, but I knew I could get around it on fast, quick greens. I was always really good on quick greens.
I’ve become a great putter, and my ball striking has improved consistently, and now I’ve got an advantage with this length, and that’s all she wrote.
But, yes, growing up, the U.S. Open is the one I thought I could win the most.
Q. Bryson, I don’t mean to look past this accomplishment after a half hour, but have you thought about how you might game plan for Augusta National?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, length is going to be a big advantage there. I know that for a fact. It’s always an advantage pretty much anywhere, but given that fact, I’m going to try and prepare by testing a couple things with the driver. I mean, by that, it’s 48 inches, and I’ll also do something with the face to account for the new speed that I’m going at.
Then I’ve got to get better with my iron play a little bit. I felt like it was great today, but definitely the driver needs to go straighter. That’s really my main focus still.
Q. Bryson, if the USGA had a debriefing meeting tomorrow morning to talk about how this U.S. Open was won at Winged Foot, what do you think they’d talk about?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: He’s hitting it forever. That’s why he won. I mean, it was a tremendous advantage this week. I kept telling everybody it’s an advantage to hit it farther. It’s an advantage. Mark Broadie was talking to Chris Como, and they were both talking about how they just made the fairways too small this week to have it be an advantage for guys hitting the fairway.
So what I mean by that — let’s take an example of you going like a yard wide. Nobody’s got the fairway. Okay, length’s going to win. You make the fairways too wide, length’s going to win. There’s like this balance between widths of fairways and where they want to play it and where they’re going to try to make you play it.
Q. If distance has been such a hot topic over the last two, three years and they’re looking into it now, do you think this will accelerate any desire to rein you guys in?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It’s tough to rein in athleticism. We’re always going to be trying to get fitter, stronger, more athletic, and Tiger inspired this whole generation to do this, and we’re going to keep going after it. I don’t think it’s going to stop. Will they rein it back? I’m sure. I’m sure something might happen. But I don’t know what it will be. I just know that length is always going to be an advantage.
Q. How much is athleticism and how much is science, technology —
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, the COR was locked in back in 2000 or something like that. You could only have it come off the face so much, right? So it’s been that way ever since. The rules haven’t changed. People have just gotten a little longer with their driver. The shafts have become better for sustaining higher swing speeds, and we’re constantly trying to just hit it as hard as we possibly can.
Kyle Berkshire, Justin James, a bunch of those guys, Josh, they all inspired me to try and go harder at it. They are the ones breaking the barriers. I can see what is possible.
So that inspires me to keep pushing the limits. I don’t think that science is that — is as big of a role in the market today. I would say it’s more of athleticism playing probably a bigger role for that for sure.
I was hitting it — on just a normal average TOUR player a year ago, and then I all of a sudden got a lot stronger, worked out every day, been working out every day, and all of a sudden — not because of clubs, but because of me, I was able to gain 20, 25 yards.
MODERATOR: Bryson, our 120th U.S. Open champion, congratulations again.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Thank you all.
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