Bryson DeChambeau has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons at the Northern Trust – and he's not happy about it, as Alex Perry explains
The full DeChambeau transcript
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Let’s talk about slow play, guys.
JOURNALIST: Are you aware…
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Let’s talk about slow play. I’ll introduce this and talk about it.
So here’s the thing, guys. There’s three other people playing out there, and I’m not the only one out there playing golf, right. Is that correct? So, for example, let me give you one example, guys. Stevie Williams. I played with him at the WGC, right. Guess how long it took us to play that round, the third round? Does anyone know? Might want to go check that out. Because we were on their tail every single hole playing with Jason Day and Stevie. A lot of it’s the caddies. A lot of it’s the other players. They don’t care about walking fast. I play a different way out there. I take my 40 seconds that’s allotted, sometimes over, absolutely. Totally agree. It’s maybe five percent of the time. But I’ll tell you that it’s really kind of unfortunate the way it’s perceived because there’s a lot of other guys that take a lot of time. They don’t talk about this matter and for me personally, it is an attack and it is something that is not me whatsoever. People don’t realise the harm that they are doing to the individuals.
And look, this is about playing golf, right. I’m trying to enjoy my time out there and play golf in the best way possible and I’m sprinting between every single shot because sometimes playing partners and caddies don’t walk at the necessary speed that they need to. This is a four-person job when we are talking about this. When you catch me out at my normal golf course, I’ll be playing in two and a half hours. I hate playing golf. I absolutely hate it. I love competition. It’s the most fun thing in the world for me, but when people start talking to me about slow play and how I’m killing the game, I’m doing this and that to the game, that is complete and utter you-know-what. That’s not fair.
Look, I am not really that sensitive of a guy. I don’t get hurt by a lot of things. It’s not like I’m throwing clubs and slamming clubs, you know. This is a conversation about playing golf in a certain time. If we really want to talk about this, if we really want to do something about this, let’s look at the other people that are associated to it. It’s the total time it takes to play the hole. It’s not just about the time it takes to hit a shot.
For example, we have two, two and a half minutes to walk to the next shot for most tour players. That’s how long it takes. Go look it up. And so we are looking at it in that light, we have 40 seconds to hit a shot. Some players take 25 seconds, 20 seconds. Cool. I take 30 seconds on average. You can look that up.
There are certain instances where it’s very – we have a very difficult shot, and it’s not easy, so yeah, I’m going to take a little bit longer, because that’s my job. I’m supposed to provide entertainment for you guys so you guys can have a good time watching it and I’m trying to do my absolute best out there every single time. That’s not fair when people are putting me in a bad light, guys. I’m trying to do my absolute best. I’m trying to provide entertainment and I hope that people can realize that it takes more than just me playing a shot in 30 seconds or 40 seconds for us to call it slow play.
JOURNALIST: Where are the hurtful comments coming from?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Social media. That’s just what they are going to do and it is what it is. I’m okay with that.
JOURNALIST: And the players this morning, too?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Sure, Eddie Pepperell, not fair to say. I would love to speak to him personally and talk about it, because I played with him, actually, at WGC México. We can talk about that time that we played it in.
JOURNALIST: That particular video that was on there…
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Oh, yeah, this is fun.
JOURNALIST: On the 8th green. It took like two minutes and 20 seconds?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Correct.
JOURNALIST: That obviously is one…
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Five percent, where we looked at it, it was a very difficult read. It was on a bit of a crown, trying to read it, best of my ability. Couldn’t figure out a way to play it four inches out because that’s what the book said. That’s what it looked, or that’s what it said in the book. Didn’t look like that to my eyes. We walked around, took a little bit of time. I was ready to hit. My caddie pulled me off because he saw something different. That’s just what’s going to happen every once in a while. You have guys that sometimes that does happen. Is that every time? No. That’s one – probably one percent of the time that I take over two minutes. The one on 16, nobody knows this, but there were – and at announcers probably didn’t say anything but on 16, there were guys on 7, they were hitting, and 6, the par 5. I had to wait for them. And guess what, there’s no yardage over there where I hit it. So I had to go walk it off. Absolutely it’s going to take a little bit longer. Again, another one percenter or five percenter, whatever you want to call that.
You look at me, most of the time, I am doing my absolute best to get to that next shot. The time to hurry for me and the way I play the game – this is not always how some people view it, but the time to hurry is in between shots.
There’s certainly other people that have talked about slow play and they play a different game. I’d be happy to play a round with them to show them how long I take. There’s times that absolutely it does take me a little bit longer. But if you watch me, if you seriously do your due diligence and watch me tee shot to tee shot, I’m the first guy up to the ball. And the problem with that, too, think about this, guys.
Let’s say if I hit a shot past a guy that’s in the fairway, as well. I go up there, I’m maybe 10 yards ahead; I can’t go walk in front of him. That’s kind of not good etiquette, right. The other thing is I’m waiting probably 15, 20 more seconds for them to get there. That’s a huge issue, too. So you add on 20 seconds there, you add on me taking 10 more seconds because they hit their shot, and then I go get my numbers, 10 more seconds to do that. You’ve got 30 seconds that’s already gone.
JOURNALIST: Did any player say anything to you to your face between last night and today?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: No. No. Not one.
JOURNALIST: So how do you read that if there are players saying things?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: People say things behind people’s back all the time. And if they want to talk about it to my face, I’ll gladly explain the whole situation. Because the way the PGA Tour policy is now for pace of play is not good the way they define it. They define it as the amount of time it takes to hit a shot. But the problem with that is that there’s people walking and other people in the group that are walking to the next shot and there’s other people that are getting numbers, right. It takes them time to do stuff.
And so when you look at the whole situation, and you look at the time it takes for me to get from one shot to the next shot and you add up those times for me to play the hole, I’m right on par. I’ve done it before.
JOURNALIST: What would your opinion be in terms of the Tour alleviating this by after a warning, a stroke penalty?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Look, there’s more…
JOURNALIST: Just to get guys’s attention more.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Absolutely. I think that’s not a bad way to do it. But I think there’s an even better way.
JOURNALIST: What’s the better way?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Take the total amount of time to play a hole and see how long it takes for players to walk between their shots. Now guys will say, we don’t like that because we have our certain rhythm that they have to go the full distance. That’s where the problem comes about.
So which way are you going fix it? Are you going to fix it by timing players as well for how long it takes to get from one shot to the next? Or just over the shot in general? You know, there’s a lot of stuff you have to factor in. Today there was a lot of weird things happening.
The other thing they don’t take account for is how many shots over or under we are in relation to par. So for example, Dylan was struggling on the last few holes coming in. What’s that going to do? That adds five minutes. He was 4- or 5-over. Do we take that into account? No. You’ve got guys that are playing really well ahead of us and then you’re outside of their 15-minute deal, you’re going to get dinged.
JOURNALIST: How many bad times have you gotten?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: I don’t even know. Under 10. It’s not – no. Bad times, excuse me. One. And I don’t believe that one bit. I’ve fought that to the end of the year. It was on the 5th at Memorial and I had to decide whether to lay up and cut it around a tree – to lay up or cut it around that big tree. Took me a minute and 20 to hit that shot because I was deciding, I was in between. Didn’t know what to do.
JOURNALIST: If you feel it’s more than you, why do you think you’re being targeted?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Why do you think? I don’t know.
JOURNALIST: Play the game different?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Uh-huh. That’s part of it, I would think. Look, everybody on the PGA Tour is human. I hope that one day, people can understand that social media is a very positive and good thing in certain instances, but sometimes you can really hurt people in a very, very bad way and put them in a light that they are not even supposed to be in. And you know, for me, I’m trying to do my absolute best right here, right now, to educate and to do my best to explain to people that, look, there’s a deeper root issue here, and I’m somehow being singled out – not really singled out. There’s a few guys that are being singled out in a certain way and it’s not fair. It’s something that’s frustrating to me.
JOURNALIST: Are you opposed or in favour of slow players being called out?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: 100 percent slow players being called out. 100 percent.
JOURNALIST: But isn’t there a contradiction?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: That’s what you think.
JOURNALIST: I don’t think anything. I’m just wondering?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: You think that I’m a slow player.
JOURNALIST: I didn’t say that.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: But that’s what you implied. That’s what you implied. You can’t say – that’s what you implied. So we start talking about this, let’s take actually how long it took me to play 17 from walking to tee, hitting my tee shot, walking all the way there, hitting my shot relative to Dylan’s times that he had, right, and let’s add that up and see how long it took me to take the hole. Let’s really talk about that, and that’s what I think should be done in the near future because it’s not telling the whole story.
It’s frustrating. Puts me in a light that I don’t believe I’m in.
JOURNALIST: Were you aware of this before you teed off and did it impact you in any way?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
JOURNALIST: You’re fired up about it?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: 100 percent. I took it straight to the course. I was trying to play my best today despite that and there are certain times where you think about it and you just throw it out of the way and you can’t do much about it.
But if I’m being completely up front and honest with you guys, right now, which I always am, but if I’m giving you everything I’ve got, this is what it is. This is passion because I want to make it better. I really want to make a change here. I’ve asked to be on the PAC committee for three years, and it takes time to get on there.
But for me, there’s no other way for me to get a voice out unless it’s through you guys. I’ve been staying away from it because I’ve been trying to stay out of it, and nothing happens, and I’ve done a great job of it. But people putting me in a light like at announcers did and the people on social media, they don’t have a clue what happened in those situations and instances. They don’t have a clue we are playing for millions of dollars and humongous FedExCup purse. This is our livelihoods we are talking about. Yes, we are making a great living and I appreciate every bit of it. I have no issue with that.
But when somebody starts calling me out because I’m providing them entertainment, that’s really frustrating to me. That’s disappointing that some individual would do that. That’s not right. That’s not fair.
JOURNALIST: Does it bother you that two British guys who aren’t even in the field here…
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: They are sitting on the couches tweeting.
JOURNALIST: On social media.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: It is what it is. Look, they are – they are great individuals. I’m not going to say anything bad about them. My competitors here on Tour, they have all been nice to me and I don’t have any issues with any win of them. We are all trying to do our best to play well and make our livelihoods and win tournaments, right. But when you start personally attacking people on Twitter, it’s like, come on, dude. Let’s have some more – let’s have some more – I was going to say something else, but let’s have some more balls to come up and speak to me to my face about that.
JOURNALIST: Did it impact you negatively today playing? Did it hurt you in any way?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU: It was stressing. You guys were busy doing a lot of other things, but if you would have watched today, every hole we were almost sprinting. You know, some would say that it was because of how long I take over the ball, but you know, playing with someone else. Dylan is a great guy. I’ve never had an issue with him. He’s fantastic. We were both hurrying up and he helped on the last hole on the bunker and everything. We’re doing our absolute best.
Sometimes when you don’t play well, it’s not great. Some guys have rhythms they like to walk in from shot-to-shot and it is what it is and it becomes difficult when you’ve got a guy that walks slower than you to the golf ball and they are behind you, and you can’t get up to the golf ball because you’re in their way and then you get your number after that. It just takes more time. It’s not – it’s not great. When I’m short of everybody and I get up there and I’m getting my number, I’m ready to go. There’s no issue whatsoever.
If you take instances where you have guys who walk fast like Ian Poulter and me who played at Conway Farms a couple years ago, we were on their butts. So it depends on the system that you use, whether you’re a fast walker to the ball and take a little bit of time near the ball, that’s fine. I’m not taking a minute on every shot. I’m taking 30 seconds on average if you really look at it. On the putting green, I’m talking about 40.