Special memories for JDC champ By TOM JOHNSTON
SILVIS — Memories flowed for Bryson DeChambeau on Monday as the defending John Deere Classic champion was back at TPC Deere Run for the first time since his wrapping up his initial PGA Tour victory last July.
“My first win, my first media day,” said DeChambeau as he addressed a room full of media representatives and board members in the Deere Run clubhouse. “So this is new to me, but I love it. I think this is great. I know that in my heart this will forever hold a special place.
“It’s just so meaningful to me to be able to win at this place. … with Payne Stewart, obviously, his first win was here.”
On Monday, it also was meaningful for him to get his hands on his first bobblehead in his likeness. He struck a pose with it and broke into a big smile. He enjoyed it so much that he took a box of 18 with him.
While the Deere Run grounds looked a lot different than they did when he won the tournament last summer — no corporate hospitality tents and banners decorating the driveway — DeChambeau was glad to be back.
“It was definitely surreal, I can tell you that,” he said of driving back onto the property Monday morning. “It looks different, but it brought back a lot of amazing memories. It throws me back. Being able to win on the PGA Tour is always a huge dream come true for anybody, and to be able to do it here with the story behind Payne Stewart and this being one of my first exemptions on Tour, all of those stars lining up makes it very, very special for sure.”
However, the rising Tour star admitted that some of those recollections from his first Tour win were a bit fuzzy.
“But what’s funny is that I really don’t remember most of the back nine,” DeChambeau admitted of his final round during an engaging session with the media as he tried to recall his 30 on the final nine holes. “The only shots I remember are 17, hitting that second shot, and then 18, hitting the tee shot and the second shot, and I don’t remember hitting the putt on 18.
“I just don’t. I have no recollection of hitting that putt.”
He birdied both 17 and 18 to win the tournament, beating Patrick Rodgers by a stroke.
“It was a very unique day,” admitted the unique DeChambeau, “and a very unique back nine.”
He was also thankful to Clair Peterson, the JDC tournament director who gave him his first PGA Tour start in 2015 with a sponsor exemption after he won the NCAA individual title.
“I can’t thank Mr. Peterson enough,” said DeChambeau. “I am where I am because of the John Deere Classic. … This tournament will hold a special place in my heart forever.”
WEEK OF GIVING
JDC officials also announced a new fundraising initiative — the first “Giving Week.”