Two weeks after his program was hit with a post-season ban for NCAA recuiting violations, defending NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau told the Golf Channel that he will forego his senior season at Southern Methodist University with an eye toward turning professional in 2016.
"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," DeChambeau said.
Prior to winning the NCAA individual title, DeChambeau won the 2015 U.S. Amateur, earning spots to play in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open in 2016. If he turns professional in the interim, however, he will forfeit those spots.
DeChambeau will have to weigh his options. He could play the Masters in April, turn pro afterwards and rely on sponsor's exemptions for the rest of the season in an attempt to earn his Tour card and possibly regain his spots in the U.S. and British Open fields.
On Sept. 29, the SMU men's golf program was hit with sanctions stemming from violations that occured under former head coach Josh Gregory. The Mustangs lost 25 percent of their allotted scholarships for three years and were banned from postseason play for 2016. SMU is currently appealing the sanctions, but should they be upheld, DeChambeau would not have been able to defend his NCAA title next season.
DeChambeau joined elite company as a winner of the U.S. Amateur and NCAA title in the same season; only Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore have accomplished the same feat.