Bryson DeChambeau, the reigning NCAA and U.S. Amateur champion, is leaving SMU men’s golf team and will focus on preparing for the Masters next April, according to GolfChannel.com.
“To best prepare myself for the next six months of competition and future events, I felt it was appropriate to make this decision now to be fair to my coaches and team,” said DeChambeau.
This news doesn’t come as too much of a surprise following the NCAA sanctions imposed on SMU two weeks ago for recruiting and ethical breaches under former head coach Josh Gregory. Among the penalties was a postseason ban for the team and individual play, which meant DeChambeau would have been unable to defend his title next June.
The university is appealing the sanctions and expects to hear a verdict before the end of the regular season.
“Bryson has meant so much to the SMU program the last three years,” SMU coach Jason Enloe told GolfChannel.com. “I am so excited for him and all the opportunities that he has ahead of him. Bryson will do great things in the professional ranks and I am looking forward to watching him.”
By winning the U.S. Amateur this past summer, DeChambeau earned exemptions to the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. However, if he were to turn pro before any of the events, he would have to forfeit his spots in those events. According to Golf Channel’s report, DeChambeau is expected to turn pro after the Masters and then try to secure the maximum seven sponsor’s exemptions permitted for non-PGA Tour members. He also wants to return to finish his Physics degree at a later date. (Yeah, that’s what they all say…)
DeChambeau joined Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Wood and Ryan Moore as the only players to win the NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur championship in the same year.