DUBLIN, Ohio - Bryson DeChambeau has become known for his unique, scientific approach to playing golf, which not only includes single-length irons, but also taking in all manner of variables before hitting a shot.
It has led to pace-of-play issues that Brooks Koepka called out earlier this year and had DeChambeau in the uncomfortable position of facing a penalty on Thursday during the first-round of the Memorial Tournament.
DeChambeau, a five-time PGA Tour winner and defending champion of the Memorial, was none too pleased to be hit with a slow-play warning while playing his last several holes that could have resulted in a one-stroke penalty.
"The time to hurry is in between shots,'' DeChambeau said after opening the tournament with a 74. "It's not over the shot. 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 between shots? That's what really matters. It's not the shot at hand.''
When a group is deemed to be out of position, all players are warned and "put on the clock.'' That means a PGA Tour rules official times them, allowing the first player in a group to hit to take 50 seconds, and the others 40 seconds. If they exceed that time limit, they get a warning. That happened to DeChambeau on the fifth hole (his 14th) and meant that the rest of the round, he played with the fear of a one-shot penalty.
He did not have another bad time but did make a double-bogey on the sixth hole after the warning.
DeChambeau contends that he walks quickly to his ball -- faster than other players -- and that it should allow him some leeway.
"He (rules official Brad Fabel) came up to me and told me I had a bad time,'' DeChambeau said. "And I was like, 'Do you realize I was deciding between laying up and going for it?' 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.''
Rose shot 75, and Woods, who shot 70, had his own struggles over the first nine holes, the period when the group got out of position.
"That was frustrating because we still had the last eight holes we were on the clock,'' Woods said. "It's one of those things where it's a group effort to try to get back in position. The group ahead of us -- JT (Justin Thomas) doesn't take a lot of time, Rory (McIlroy) plays quick and Jordan (Spieth) was 7 under. So, they're obviously playing fast. And we were obviously not.''
Earlier this year, DeChambeau was criticized for playing slowly on his way to winning the Dubai Desert Classic, at which a European Tour video showed the golfer taking air density into his calculations as part of his pre-shot routine.
"I just don't understand how it takes a minute and 20 seconds, a minute and 15 seconds to hit a golf ball. It's not that hard,'' Koepka said on a Golf Monthly podcast at the time. "It's always between two clubs. There's a miss short, there's a miss long. It really drives me nuts, especially when it's a long hitter, because you know you've got two other guys, or at least one guy that's hitting before you, so you can do all your calculations. You should have your numbers.''
Although players are fined for accumulating bad times throughout the season (the number and amounts are not disclosed), an actual stroke penalty for slow play is rare.
The last one occurred two years ago at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, a team event in which the team of Brian Campbell and Miguel Angel Carballo was penalized during the second round. Prior to that, a slow-play penalty involving strokes had not been issued since 1995.