Bryson DeChambeau is viewed as a slow player. His peers, including the increasingly vocal Brooks Koepka, have been vocal in their assessment.
And the PGA Tour made it clear DeChambeau isn't fast on Thursday at the 2019 Memorial Tournament when they put his group, including Tiger Woods and Justin Rose, on the clock in the first round as they made the turn from No. 18 over to the front side, their back nine for the day. While on the clock, DeChambeau received a bad time -- playing his shot in more than 40 seconds when it was his turn -- on the fifth hole and could have faced a one-stroke penalty if he received another bad time while on the clock.
DeChambeau avoided a second bad time, but after the round, he was quick to defend his pace of play by suggesting the Tour rules officials didn't consider influences outside of his control that affected his time.
“He came up to me and told me I had a bad time. And I was like, do you realize I was deciding between laying up and going for it?” DeChambeau told the Golf Channel's Will Gray. “And we’ve had struggles the past three holes in a row, hazards and making bogeys and all that. Was that not factored in? ‘Well, it’s just 40 seconds, it is what it is.’ Well, I don’t agree with that.”
In fact, DeChambeau tried to make the argument he's indeed a fast player, suggesting he walks quicker than his peers to the ball but then needs his allotted time to complete his pre-shot "process."
“It’s a bit unfair when you’ve got someone that’s behind you, let’s say, and they’re slower, but they’re quicker through their process," DeChambeau said to Golf Channel after his opening 2-over 74. "I get up there in the middle of the fairway and I have to wait for them to go, and then I have only my 40 seconds, which is what I’m trying to do everything under. People call me slow. I call myself quick with the stuff I do. … A lot of guys out here, they just see it and they hit it. And for me I don’t want to do that because I feel like there’s other variables I get hurt on.”
DeChambeau believes a player's pace rating and shot times should account for how quickly a player walks to the ball.
“The time to hurry is in between shots. It’s not over the shot,” DeChambeau said. “It’s timing how people walk. You have to add that to the equation. If you’ve got somebody walking slow and they get up to the shot and take their 20 seconds, what’s the aggregate time for them to hit that shot in between shots? That’s what really matters. It’s not the shot at hand.”
He is looking to earn a spot on the Tour's Player Advisory Council to change the policy of how shot times are determined. It's an argument he won't win.
For his part, Woods believes DeChambeau wasn't the only reason their group was put on the clock.
"That was frustrating, because we still had the last eight holes we were on the clock," Woods said after shooting 2-under 70. "With the conditions the way they are, the caddies are communicating, trying to leapfrog one another, trying to help one another out. We're trying to either tap out or take a while to mark the golf ball to help the other players.
“It’s one of those things where it’s a group effort to try to get back in position. The group ahead of us, [Justin Thomas] doesn’t take a lot of time, Rory [McIlroy] plays quick, and Jordan [Spieth] was 7 under through 13 holes. So they’re obviously playing fast, and we were obviously not.”