30 Jan, 2019: Bryson DeChambeau scores his first victory overseas and on the European Tour with a tour record 24-under-264. DeChambeau scored an emphatic seven stroke victory over the field with a consummate performance. Here are excerpts from an interview with the media at the Saudi International.
Q: Give us your reflections on the victory at the Desert Classic?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, winning on The European Tour for the first time, pretty stoked about that.
Reflections on it, obviously played good enough to win by seven which was really cool. First three days, I didn’t have my A Plus game, but was able to score and the last day I played really well. I was able to execute and hit most of the shots the way I wanted to, and despite the 12th and the 19th off the tee, it was brilliant.
So very, very pleased about last week, and now looking forward to this week, first time here obviously, and in Saudi Arabia and looking forward to a great challenge with a lot of great players in the field, too.
Q: Obviously a very productive trip so far, and now the chance to go up against four of the top five, major winners and a great field here. Give us your thoughts on that challenge ahead?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I haven’t seen the course yet but from what I’ve heard, it’s kind of like a bomber’s paradise a little bit. We have to hit some good iron shots in there on the right tiers. I think that’s going to be the challenge this week is hitting it to the right tiers of the greens, and so all the top guys in the world right now are great ball strikers, and you know, the end of the day, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s going to be a great test that I’m looking forward to.
Q. You had a couple of days to reflect on the Dubai win. The fact that you hold so many records, what was your overall analysis of that performance? Is that one of your best ever performances, in terms of the way you scored and winning margin?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I think the best I ever performed in golf was actually at the U.S. Amateur in 2015 when I won pretty much every match over four and five margin of victory, four and five margin of victory, something like that. That was probably the most dominant performance.
I would have to say last week was pretty special, winning by seven. I’ve never done that and that was really cool to be able to get that under my belt. So I really feel like I’ve won a bunch of different ways now, not having my game, having my game, leading, not leading.
It’s definitely special but first and foremost, it was mainly about winning internationally. That was really cool to get that done.
Q. Last week, the winning putt, the flag, you took it out, and that may have been one of the first ever winning putts in golf with it in did you think about that?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Sort of but not really. It was close enough to where if I accidentally hit it to hard just because I’m excited, could bounce out. We really didn’t notice it too much but it was kind of ironic, would you say, I guess.
But you know, I tried to make that first putt and didn’t go in, and then when I went to tap it in, we really just didn’t think about it. It was just kind of a formality and won by seven shots and that’s all I was thinking about.
Q. A couple things. One, on the range with Robert Rock, you seemed as happy as I’ve seen you in a while, just by doing that, just working with somebody else, teaching them about your method?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily, I guess it is a method. People would say it’s a method. For me, I’m trying to generate more of a system. Something to where it’s all encompassing and it works for everybody.
As much as it looks unique to what I do and how I play, a lot of things I do can be utilised by anybody. I think that that’s kind of the cool part is just kind of talking to Robert, he being that intellectual about the golf swing, incredible golf swing.
Just talking through some different things, different theories and ideas about what makes consistency and repeatable, what’s fascinating to him.
I don’t want to give too much away obviously but he was very intrigued and felt, he sensed, some of the stuff that I’ve been sensing. I only give certain things away to certain people because I respect what they have done, how hard they work in the game and that’s what I did for him hopefully.
Q. Bearing in mind you’re still quite new out here, and you’ve achieved a lot, what’s going to constitute a really good year for you this year? What goals have you set for 2019?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, I’ve kind of already checked one off the box, winning internationally and winning on The European Tour. The next one is going to be a major. I’ve got to get that done. I know I can. I know I’ve got the game for it. It’s just about making, again, the proper adjustments and taking control of the pressure when it comes.
Q. Do you feel one of the majors suits your game more than the other two?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I feel like they all kind of do in a sense, if we are able to adjust for it properly. For me, they are all different venues, right. They all have different variables and they all have different issues and conditions and things that everybody needs to take account for, but if we can take account for those variables better than other people, I’m going to have a better shot at winning because I know my golf swing and my golf game is good enough to win. It’s just about if we can take care of those variables.
Q. Again, the weather is a factor in The Open Championship more than others. Is that going to be a harder one to win, to factor all those things?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: In the end, if we understand it better, I think it may be an easier one.
Q. Is there anything in your game that you feel is missing?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Just a better understanding of alignment with my eyes and putting and how I see lines on putting. I haven’t figured that out. That has been something that has really been lacking.
Last week I figured out a big piece of the puzzle for me in my golf swing but I think the next thing is alignment with the eyes and being comfortable over every putt that I get over. That’s a big piece.
Q. Talking about dealing with the pressure of majors, from your first win to your fifth, sixth win
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Something like that, I think, yeah.
Q. how much better have you gotten in dealing with the pressure of that situation?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: As my game has gotten better, it’s gotten easier. That’s why I’ve been able to win. It’s not necessarily that I won. I’ve had plenty of tournaments where I’ve been right there and didn’t win, and I think those moments and those failures have actually allowed me a better opportunity to win the next time because I know what that pressure is like and I just have to jump over it.
I have to almost surrender myself and say, you know what, it is what it is, and that’s what I do. That’s how I get over these humps for me when I get really, really nervous. I just go: All right, you’ve got to surrender, let it be, just walk past it, walk through that wall.
Once I’m able to do that, I can then think and focus on what I need to do, what’s in my book. Every time, what I do, Tim and I, every time we’re over a shot, we go through the numbers. Once we get the numbers down, it’s part of the process, and it affords me the opportunity to not focus on other things.
Q. Saudi Arabia is evolving in terms of sports. Our famous sport here is soccer, football. But with the evolving of the country and having the Sports Authority and hosting the first golf tournament here in the country, coming from an expert, what would you advise the youth to be a pro, be it in golf or other sports, as well as for the country?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, well, it’s quite an honour to have The European Tour have their first professional event in Saudi Arabia. It’s fantastic. I think it’s growing the game and will keep growing the game globally because of this tournament right here.
What I have to say for kids, growing up or people that are aspiring to be professionals, is that you have to work as hard as you possibly can. You’ve got to realize that the earth is massive and there are people that are on the other side of the earth while you’re sleeping working on their game.
So at every moment, you need to be sleeping, breathing, drinking, thinking about the game of golf and if they can keep their minds on it and focus on getting better every single day in some small facet, then they are on the right step to becoming a professional because for me I pretty much gave up everything as a kid to be as good as I possibly could be.
I didn’t go to social outings or anything. It was just me wanting to be the best.
Q. Your first impression about the country?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: First impression about the country, it’s beautiful. The Red Sea is beautiful. I did not expect that whatsoever. It was a very, very pleasant surprise.
Q. Have you spoken to Tiger about coping under pressure?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, I have. I have.
Q. Was it an interesting exchange of ideas or what did he say to you?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I think everybody deals with pressure differently. He deals with it differently than I do, I would say, but we’ve each found our own way. I think that’s what can bring people together sometimes is going through the same difficulties and being successful through it.
You know, we realise how hard it is to be able to be successful through that massive amount of pressure. But with coping with it, he’s been very gracious enough to give me info that, you know, I really don’t want to divulge too much of, but I will say that he has given me some insight.
And you have to experience it. You know, one of the things that I’ve always said, and Tiger reiterated, is that you have to be okay with failing; be okay with not succeeding. That’s how you learn and that’s how you get over that pressure, too, is by experience.
Q. Do you sometimes find it difficult to fall asleep at night?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Oh, no. I take some melatonin, I’m right out. No, it’s funny, when I’m away from the golf course, I actually if I’m okay with my game and everything’s good with my game, I don’t think about it one bit. I don’t think about it unless there’s some weird thing that I can’t figure out. If I can’t figure it out, then I’ll think about it for a while until my brain just shuts down and I’m like, all right, I’m done and I turn off.
Q. You touched on this on an interview Sunday night. People are raising questions about how long you sometimes take over a shot. You have no qualms over that and you’re quite comfortable that you’re working within the parameters of times, etc.?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: It’s actually quite impressive that we’re able to get all that stuff done in 45 seconds. People don’t realise that it’s very difficult to do everything we do in 45 seconds.
I think that anybody that has an issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do. If we want to provide the best entertainment for you, it’s part of our process. It’s part of my process, at least. Some people don’t do what we do and they are successful, right. But they have got loads of experience that I haven’t really necessarily had, so I have to find another way to be just as consistent as them without the experience.
So I have to kind of do that stuff initially, and down the road, it will keep getting quicker and quicker and quicker, because I’m certainly not a slow walker, I know that, but sometimes we get over it and yeah, we go through a process because there’s adjustments that we need to make.
But shoot, if I’m a guy that’s out here 15 years and they have seen the golf course before and they know it plays more uphill or whatever, they are going to make an adjustment. Maybe not to the precision level that we are doing but that’s kind of the way it is. I think that, look, when I’m just playing normal golf, back at home, I don’t do any of this, just because I want to have fun. And I certainly do have fun out here, I’m not saying that.
But this is my job and I want to do it well.
Q. Can you recall the last time you were put on the clock?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Put on the clock? Oh, last week. Last week. I don’t remember well, it was the second or third round. I mean, shoot, we’re almost put on the clock every week.
Q. That doesn’t affect you?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: No. I’m used to it now. We try and speed up. Trust me, we do our due diligence to speed up and do our best. We’re not trying to slow anyone down. I’m not trying to slow anyone down. It’s just a part of the process and unfortunately The Rules of Golf allow for a certain amount of time, and we’re using it to our fullest potential.
Q. I was going to ask if when you were really young, playing for the first time, did you go up to the ball and whack it, or did you have all sorts of thoughts?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Oh, I just went up to the ball and hit it. If you watch me, I have a video of when I was 13 or 14, something like that, you see me, I go right up, boom, hit it, boom, hit it.
But there are consequences to that because I would miss shots and get frustrated and I wouldn’t understand, when I felt the exact same thing, why didn’t the results produce the exact same thing, and there are reasons for that.
With the level of precision out here now, we have to have those factors dialed in. It’s just going to take us longer. But when I get over the ball, boom, I’m gone. I don’t take much time over it.
Q. So did you study the subjects you did because you wanted to improve golf or because you were interested in physics?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Golf made me interested in physics, so it helped me gain a love for education as a whole, actually. I started to love reading about golf, writing about golf, learning the history about golf. Learning about the economics of golf. Just every subject matter I liked because I started to relate it to what I loved.