HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Resplendent in top to bottom black, Bryson DeChambeau strolled into the media center at the RBC Heritage Tuesday to officially say hello to the world as a professional golfer.
Two days after finishing tied for 21st in the Masters, what still was at the heart of the smile on his face was the 18-foot putt for birdie on the 72nd hole.
“That was a special moment. It was a great way to end my amateur career,” last year’s U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion said. “It was a pretty cool way to go out.”
And speaking of “pretty cool,” where was the Hogan-like cap that DeChambeau has been known for during this impressive two-year stretch of golf he has played at the amateur level and in professional tournaments?
DeChambeau was wearing a black baseball cap with the Trinity Forest logo, the Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore design in Dallas that will soon host the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship. It looked spiffy, but what of the cap?
“That’s my cape. I only wear it on tournament days,” he said with a smile.
Truth is, DeChambeau is now a professional and what was unveiled Tuesday was the official announcement of his deals with Cobra Puma Golf to go along with his earlier-announced deal with Bridgestone Golf (B330-S ball and glove). Part of the announcement was how the Hogan-like cap was going to be emblazoned. (It will feature the Puma logo.)
At the announcement, DeChambeau changed into white pants, red shirt and his signature cap (this one red) with a white Puma logo. A Puma logo was on his shirt, too, while a Cobra logo was on his right sleeve.
“I think I look pretty good,” he said.
DeChambeau, 22, also talked about his upcoming schedule. It gets a little convoluted, but here are the particulars:
- He can play in up to 12 PGA Tour tournaments and he’s already played in two, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Masters. But those were on exemptions, not sponsor’s exemptions.
- DeChambeau can only accept seven sponsor exemptions, however, and this week is his first. Upcoming, DeChambeau said he’s accepted spots into four others — next week’s Valero Texas Open, the Wells Fargo Championship, the Colonial, and the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.
- Spots into the Memorial and Quicken Loans will count against his 12, but not the seven, because he’s eligible based on qualifying categories. (U.S. Amateur, NCAA Championship).
That will take him to late June, by which time he would be at nine tournaments overall, five sponsor’s exemptions.
In the meantime, he knows the questions will come about his uniqueness — a one-plane swing, irons that are all the same length, and his background as a physics major. It’s the latter topic that seems to intrigue most and DeChambeau had this to say when asked about incorporating his thinking into golf: “I am an artist. I love creating.”
So far, what he has created is a wide world of intrigue and much anticipation for what happens now that he has turned professional. He knows people will wonder about his emotions and how he will treat the golf now that he’s a pro and not an amateur.
“I’m so prepared,” he said.