AUGUSTA, Ga. – Winning at Winged Foot was incredible but not as indelible as a week at Augusta National in 2016, for Bryson DeChambeau.
The reigning U.S. Open champion said on Tuesday that his most cherished moment was not capturing his first major title but competing in his first Masters Tournament as an amateur.
"Like I said to many amateurs this week, it is the single greatest week of my life, no matter if it was a major championship win in the U.S. Open or winning PGA Tour events, I still say that amateur week, that experience, was the greatest moment in my life," DeChambeau said.
Courtesy his U.S. Amateur victory the year prior, DeChambeau was invited to the ’16 Masters. And as the U.S. Amateur champion, he was grouped with the defending Masters champion, who was Jordan Spieth. Spieth, you'll recall, nearly won back-to-back green jackets. Before his infamous Sunday struggle, Spieth was the outright leader each of the first three days.
DeChambeau more than held his own, however, shooting even par through 36 holes, just four shots off Spieth's lead.
"Looking back in 2016, my fondest memory was on [No.] 12 when I hit that shot in there to a foot on Friday with Spieth and being close to the lead," DeChambeau recalled. "The crowd and everything about it was just electric. I don't know what else to say. It was amazing, the patrons were incredibly supportive of the amateur having a chance to potentially do something special on the weekend.
"I also feel like being up in the Crow's Nest was one of the best experiences as well, getting to sleep there at night and experience that as a tradition. That needs to keep going on and it's a tradition unlike any other, and I feel like it's something that every amateur needs to experience."
The 22-year-old eventually tied for 21st – his best Masters result in three starts – and earned low amateur honors.
As DeChambeau now attempts to win his second consecutive major title, as a player who has innovated the game with a bulky transformation and a beastly approach to competition, a question was posed on Tuesday: What would this Bryson tell that Bryson, the one from 2016?
"I would ... tell him that patience is a huge part of success. I wanted to succeed immediately back then, and my game wasn't ready. My brain wasn't ready. My body wasn't ready." DeChambeau said. "I think people talk about how every five years, you change as a human being, and that is absolutely true. I mean, I've totally changed and what I would tell younger Bryson is, be patient and keep learning every day. Those are the two things that I would tell him."