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Bryson DeChambeau has a remedy for slow play on the PGA Tour: walk faster.
DeChambeau, eighth in the official world golf rankings, has been called out by a few Tour veterans, including Brooks Koepka, for taking too long over his shots. “It’s embarrassing,” Koepka said earlier this year.
While DeChambeau, 25, admits to being a deliberate player when it comes to preparing for his shot, he believes the stigma of slow play is misplaced.
“How long does it take to walk from shot to shot or to a drive 320 yards out?” DeChambeau said during an exclusive interview with The Post. “That takes about 2 ¹/₂ minutes compared to 40 seconds over a shot. We’ve got more of a potential to decrease the time it takes to play a round by walking a little bit faster. When you’re talking about pace of play, you have to include the time it takes to walk.”
Slow play wasn’t much of an issue last year when DeChambeau claimed a four-stroke victory at the Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus. An 8-under 63 on that Saturday gave DeChambeau a lead he never relinquished as he finished 18-under and, at age 24, became the youngest winner of a FedEx Cup event.
He continued his hot play the following week at the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston, where he earned a two-stroke victory. He eventually finished 19th at the Tour Championship and third overall in the final FedEx Cup standings, earning $3 million.
This year’s Northern Trust will be played at Liberty National in Jersey City in early August under a slightly different format. There will only be three FedEx Cup tournaments this year instead of four. Among the 125 players who qualify for the Northern Trust, only 70 will advance to the next round.
“There’s added juice because there’s only three events now,” DeChambeau said. “It’s a little more demanding. You’ve got to be able to be on point with your game if you want to make it to the Tour Championship. I haven’t played Liberty National, but hopefully it plays fast because I play well in fast conditions.”
Fast conditions don’t equate to faster play. DeChambeau’s deliberate approach came under fire during his victory in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year, when the European Tour tweeted a video of his pre-shot routine, which lasted more than one minute before he struck the ball.
DeChambeau remains unapologetic.
“I can take 10 seconds longer to hit a shot, but if I walk 10 seconds faster the total aggregate time is the same, yet they’re penalizing me because I took 10 seconds longer over the ball. It doesn’t make sense.
“For some people to say, ‘I just go up there and hit it,’ we’ll that’s good for you. If it works for you, it works for you. But I want to be as precise as possible heading into that shot. I want to be right on point and that just requires me to be a little faster walker.”
After speaking with The Post, DeChambeau hopped into a private plane headed for his home in the Bahamas. He was looking forward to a few days of rest before competing in the 3M Championships July 2-7 in Minnesota. Soon after, he’ll travel to Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland for the British Open, the final of the four majors.
DeChambeau, who has won five times on the PGA Tour and once on the European Tour, is one of the few players to win an NCAA championship and the U.S. Amateur in the same year. His best finish at a major championship is tying for 15th at the 2016 U.S. Open. He is encouraged by finishing tied for eighth at the Travelers last week.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t had my best game going into a major,” DeChambeau said. “The strategy is all there. It’s just about having the golf skill there. I have it, but it’s about having it at the right time. It’s frustrating, but when you look at it, you know that it’s possible.”
The success DeChambeau has already enjoyed, including a spot on the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team, has validated all the time spent developing his unique game. All of DeChambeau’s irons and wedges are the same length (37.5 inches). Only the lofts are different.
“People don’t realize all the stuff I gave up growing up,” said the native of Modesto, Calif. “I could have gone to parties and had fun at adventure parks with friends on weekends and things like that. But I went out and worked my butt off for eight hours playing golf. That’s a time commitment and you give up a lot of your life. I can’t tell you how many times I had opportunities to do other things and went and golfed because I wanted to be the best. At the end of the day, I did my absolutely best and that’s what I’m proud of.”