Bryson DeChambeau dismissed a query about the controversy surrounding the upcoming Saudi International as swiftly as one of his strongest swings.
In a video conference with the media on Thursday, he declared, “So, not a politician, first off,” in advance of the Middle Eastern competition the following month. I want to play where the finest golfers in the world are going to play because I am a golfer first and foremost. And for me, that brings my story to a close.
During a 30-minute Zoom chat with the media before the Saudi International at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, DeChambeau was only irritated and cut once.
Many people believe that the tournament and others financed by Saudis are an attempt to hide human rights abuses, and they have been harshly critical of it. The tournament is funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. According to a Washington Post article, athletes receiving appearance fees of millions of dollars are taking “blood money.”
The competition is now a part of the Asian Tour and no longer a part of the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour. Last year, Saudi Arabia invested $200 million in the tour.
Instead of delving deeply into the controversy, DeChambeau, 28, energetically discussed a variety of other subjects. In his two prior starts in Saudi International, he tied for 18th in 2021 and tied for sixth in 2019.
The world No. 8 and 2020 U.S. champion confirmed he recently became a partial owner of the Professional Long Drivers Association; he will continue to be a major presence on social media to share his story and provide playing advice; he is confident he will get longer on the golf course, and he spoke about his renewed love for the game. He even elaborated on why he now wears a golf cap rather than a tam o’shanter.
I feel like my life, my chapter, and my book are turning a little bit, he added. I’m constantly changing, expanding, growing, and adapting, as I’ve always said. It’s just one of those things again.
I’m not sure if it will be a trend that lasts or if it will appear at random. I suppose it will be one that simply keeps you guys on edge. Simply put, it depends on how I’m feeling and my level of comfort that particular week.
DeChambeau’s 2021 was characterized by controversy due to his social media altercation with Brooks Koepka, criticism of his equipment, dubious attitude over refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and refusal to speak to the print media, and likely retirement from the sport.
It also had many highlights, such as him winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the eighth time on the PGA Tour, losing in a dramatic playoff to Patrick Cantlay in the BMW Championship, placing third in the Players Championship, going all the way to seventh place in the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championships, and participating in the Ryder Cup.
DeChambeau nevertheless considered quitting the match. He claimed that his positive COVID-19 test in 2021, which resulted in his having to skip the Olympics, was the year’s low point.
He was placed in quarantine before making a comeback at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He gave an explanation for why he had chosen not to have the vaccine, for which he received harsh criticism, and then he ceased talking to the print media.
DeChambeau recalled that time by saying, “This once amazing game that was giving me so much just went quite a bit against me.” “I feel like it’s no longer worthwhile. That has altered as time has passed. I’ve developed. I am aware of my surroundings.
Is it still occasionally challenging and frustrating? Yes, just like everything else. However, when I am able to hit the ball really far and really straight and then chip and put it effectively, my overall goal is to inspire and show off a little bit. My favorite activity is that, so I want to keep doing it.
That helped to keep me moving in the correct direction.
DeChambeau is taking a week off from exercise to ensure that the left wrist pain that caused him to miss this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii has totally subsided. DeChambeau said he will participate in the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego in two weeks before traveling to Saudi Arabia, where he tied for 25th place out of 38 players in the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui last week.
Among other things, DeChambeau spoke about the following subjects. On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Cromwell, Connecticut, Bryson DeChambeau signs autographs for fans during pro-am team play prior to the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.
“First and foremost, playing the greatest golf I possibly can is my life’s work. Second, I want the game to develop to a level that has never been achieved. Like Tiger, I want to continue to expand it.
Although I’m not likely to have Tiger’s level of impact, I still want to maintain giving golfers and other performers a greater platform and stage so that everyone on the planet—all seven billion people, and perhaps a few more as of late—can enjoy this fantastic sport.
“I’ve been given so many wonderful and beautiful opportunities that I feel it’s my responsibility to give back in any way I can. The lengthy drive is one of them. I’m passionate about it, and I think it perfectly encapsulates my goals for the game of golf. I think there’s a way to present athletes in a way that hasn’t been done before.
“With everything working against me—whether it was the media, the competitors, or whatever—it became really taxing on a person. It’s amazing what people can say or do when they keep telling you that you’re this or that even if you know in the back of your mind that it’s not true.
You give generously to the community. Even while it might be challenging at times, you put a lot of effort into helping those around you, your team, and the golfing community as a whole.
But as time passes, you must know why you are doing this. What is your motivation? And how can you keep getting better at motivating the younger generation or encouraging someone to work harder?
That’s where I believe it actually changed. Chris Pratt, who is an actor, gave me some assistance during a particularly trying moment for me. Play this made-up character for a while, he advised.
I am aware of your discontentment and your really difficult situation but pretend to be pleased for a while. It eventually vanished as time went on, and I reverted to being me.
“Many people could think that I caused a lot of it on myself. I am aware of that, but let me reiterate my two or three goals: to inspire others, to advance golf, and to make a positive contribution to society. I truly want to do those three things.
It can be difficult at times. I occasionally fail at it. We’re all human, so occasionally I get angry and annoyed as everyone else does. I want people to most importantly understand that we are all just people.
On August 27, 2021, in Owings Mills, Maryland, Bryson DeChambeau of the United States reacts on the second hole during the second round of the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club.
“They eliminated a procedure that I have used for 13 years and that many other people have used for a very long period. What is, is what is. That was chosen by the Tour, the PAC, and the players, and I respect their decision.
It’s one of those things that I’ll have to learn to deal with in order to move past it and find a method to make more putts without using the system I created or my intellectual property.
“It’s one of those things where I keep changing my mind and trying to determine the best course of action. What is, is what is. I can only add that it is somewhat frustrating because, in my opinion, there is now a lot more traction around the hole and people are gathered there. I’m unsure if that has any impact. I have to change.
When asked if he needed a waiver from the PGA Tour to play a conflicting event, he replied, “I don’t know how to answer that totally because, when we join up for the PGA Tour, we recognize we sign a lot away.
The competitors had to promise to compete in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am during the following two to three years in order to participate in the Saudi International.
“I understand our media rights in relation to what is happening that week on Tour. For that week, they wish to keep and host us. So these disclosures have a purpose.
However, I believe that as time passes, more people are beginning to understand that since we are independent contractors, we should be permitted to play whenever and whenever we like.
“Since it’s a cyclical process, I’m not sure what the solution is, but I believe the Tour is beginning to understand that as time passes. I hope they begin to understand that it is primarily player-driven. There will be a change in circumstances for me. But I’m not sure what it is.
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